September 24, 1900
Various reasons tended to make the first of the season’s meeting between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park a memorable one. Three victories off the reel by both clubs had roused public feelings to an abnormal pitch, and the manner in which these successes had been obtained had caused all the old-time enthusiasm to burst forth in an overwhelming torrent.
A period of misfortune, extending practically over a whole season, had sadly shaken the ardour of the sport-loving community, but this depression, though galling at the time, has served a useful purpose and jumping from the huge attendance on Saturday and indeed since the season opened, the good things that are now being spread out for the delectation of the crowds at Anfield and Goodison Park are all the more appreciated after last year’s failure.
From two teams, which by their previous excellent displays had demonstrated their right to be reckoned amongst the leading organisation of the country, an exhibition of superlative skill and ability had been naturally anticipated and it is satisfactory to record that these expectations were realised to their fullest extent.
It often happens that in meetings between two rival teams, under conditions similar to those which prevailed at Goodison Park, the general excitement of the crowd imparts a like feeling amongst the players, with the result that good football is rarely witnessed. It is therefore all the more pleasing to record that in the game under notice the players entered into the fray with the determination to play the game as it should be played and the greatest credit is due to both teams for the excellent manner in which the contest was fought, and the grim stubborn combat which ended-as all fair minded sportsmen could but say was a satisfactory termination-in a draw.
No harder or more determined struggle has been played by the teams for many a day, for the pace was tremendous from start to finish, and whilst one side appeared to be gaining the ascendancy, and applied extra pressure for a short period, this was but a temporary triumph, for the other side put forth fresh vigour, and demonstrated their superiority only to be again, baulked and their advantage neutralised.
And so on throughout the chapter but all the time the earnest efforts put forth, the high standard of play and the brilliant individual efforts of first one and then another which, finished forth motor like amidst a host of other luminous gleams, kept the interest marvellously sustained until the final whistle blew.
Not even in the most exciting exchanges did the players lose their heads, but excellence on one side was opposed by equal cleverness on the other a daring sweep of the forwards was driven back by a granite like defence, and the most skilful; moves checkmated. Whilst one hardly knew which to admire the more assailant or defender.
Every man on the field put forth his best efforts towards success, and if one did show to more advantage than his fellow this must be writ down as due to over anxiety to do well. Some features of course stood out prominently, from the general average of excellence, and chief in this respect come the splendid custodianship of Bill Perkins and the superb work of both sets of halfbacks. Sam Wolstenholme must have been sworn in as special constable for he shadowed John Cox and Charles Satterthwaite to such an extent that this effective portion of the Liverpool attack was shorn of much of its keenest. The tussles between them were delightful, and the halfback had seldom to acknowledge himself beaten.
At the other extremity of the line Walter Abbott simply revelled in work, and the ex-Small Heath player has rarely equalised his display against his side’s keenest rivals. The harmony between forwards, and halves was most marked, the judicious placing with low Jack Sharp touches was effective in the extreme, and eight more dangerous tacticians have seldom represented Everton on the field.
Without displaying dazzling brilliancy of individual spasmodic excellence, an equal result was attained by the combined average ability of the whole body working together in cornered action, a state of affairs which must be most gratifying to the executive for in League football this stamp of team is the one to achieve notoriety.
On the side of the ‘’Reds” one could almost apply the same remark. The prominent figure in every movement, weather of attack or defence was the capable captain (Alex Raisbeck) now taking the ball clean from an opponents toes and urging on his forwards with a well judged pass now darling to the assistance of his backs and checking many a dangerous rush, always when danger threatened or opportunity presented itself was the light-haired Scot.
His partners on either side followed the example thus set, and ably led by Sam Raybould the forwards showed that to baffle their attempts required the highest order of defence. It was a quaint conceit on the part of Cox which gave the centre forward his opportunity to score the equalising goal, and it is becoming clearly apparent that when Raybould gets the ball anywhere near the half-backs there are stormy times in store for some one.
Both sides missed easy chances, but these were equally distributed, and their effect was but to add piquancy to the future play. The backs did some magnificent work, Billy Dunlop being quite a host in himself, never failing with his kick and guarding the agile Sharp with leech like tenacity. Tom J. Robertson ably maintained his position, but to Perkins must be awarded special mead of praise. His work was of the highest calibre, and he came through the ordeal in great style. In the first half he demonstrated his worth in taking an extra fast one from Sharp, but it was in the second portion, when Sharp again gave him a tremendous one from a few yards range, that the fairly brought forth the applause of the multitude, and earned the grateful thanks of all the Reds supporters.
On the other side William Balmer was the leading feature of the defence, but Willie Muir was always on the alert, and though John Watson was lacking at times in decision there was no cause for great alarm in this particular department.
It was a great game splendidly contested by a couple of really grand teams, and whilst neither side deserved to win, each fully merited the one point gained. The players rose to the occasion in a manner which befitted a meeting of giants, and the Liverpool public should consider themselves fortunate in having two such capable teams upholding their interest. May the return meeting furnish another struggle so gallantly fought and honourably drawn.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: September 24, 1900)