October 1, 1900
The defeat of Liverpool by Sunderland cannot be said to have caused an unusual amount of surprise, for the Wearsiders have invariably demonstrated their superiority in their engagements with the Anfield eleven.
Even allowing for the excellent form shown by Liverpool this season there were many who anticipated the visit of Sunderland with some considerable degree of trepidation, caused probably by the knowledge of the repeated triumphs gained by the northerners in previous years.
It is just possible also that the latter, imbued with the confidence begotten by success take the field with a feeling of security, which enables them to exhibit their very best form when antagonishing the Liverpoolitans. Whatever the cause may be, there can be no doubt about the result thereof, and Sunderland have yet to play feeble game at Anfield.
Their most recent visit found them in an especially lively humour, the whole team being as active as crickets, and their robust, determined movements fairly upset the more sedate methods of the home team, the consequence being that the latter were simply outplayed, and deservedly beaten by 2 goals to 1.
The northerners gave a very fine display of fast, clever, and effective football, their brisk movements, and eagerness to pounce on the ball preventing a striking contrast to the more laboured methods of their opponents. Liverpool appeared stale in comparison, and the more energetic tactics of their visitors knocked every ounce of combination out of them.
It was no unusual occurrence to see a pass rudely intercepted by the watchful Sunderland halves, each of whom seemed to make for the ball immediately it was transferred, and as a consequence the ball never reached the player for whom it was intended, but was carrying away in the opposite direction towards the home goal.
From the manner in which the game opened it appeared as if Liverpool would be victorious, for John Cox obliged with one or two beautiful sprints and centres, and the whole front rank moved with precision and efficiency. But once the Sunderland players settled down in earnest, they gave the home players something to think about.
The first sign of coming defeat was noticed when Billy Dunlop began paying illegal attention o the opposing wing, instead of confining his abilities to the ball, and having thus eloquently admitted that he was hardly pressed, the Sunderland right wing led him a merry dance.
His partner Tom J. Robertson had more than he could manage with George Livingstone and Colin McLatchie, and both he and Charlie Wilson were fairly bewildered by the unremitting attention of this par.
Alex Raisbeck was the only one amongst the backs who appeared able to check the rapid rushes of the visitors, and between the feeble backs and the slow ineffective work of the forwards, the centre half was kept fully employed.
Sunderland seemed to be possessed with an insatiable desire to be always on the ball, and their determination to achieve this object, was most marked. Even when a Liverpool player had succeeded in getting the leather safely transferred, the chances were that the impregnable halves on the opposing side would regain it, and without a moment’s wavering, an opportunity was made, where, by waiting, the opening would never have resulted. As the game progressed the contrast became more marked, and Sunderland were all over their opponents, who were completely beaten by a superior combination.
Bill Perkins saved the side from utter collapse. Time after time did he clear his goal, throwing away shots from all quarters, not flimsy, feeble efforts, but sound stinging drives, which would have tested the capabilities of the most expert custodian. To him is the chief credit due for keeping the defeat down to such a small margin, and some of his clearances were most able.
It was difficult to recognise in the languid disjointed efforts of the home team, the side which overwhelmed West Bromwich, and defeated the Rovers. They had, however, to face an opposition, than which no sturdier exists in the League, and they absolutely failed to rise to the occasion, and to meet a vigorous defence, by a superior method of attack. They were simply smothered by the incessant worrying of the opposing halves and forwards, and practically acknowledged their inferiority, by their inability to respond with equally drastic methods.
Whilst they allowed some considerable degree of laxity to an opponent, the Sunderland players gave no quarter whatever, and the result was a complete success from their point of view. They fully deserved to win, and their superiority is by no means over-represented by the score.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: October 1, 1900; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited