Liverpool v Sheffield United 1-2 (League match: December 1, 1900)

December 1, 1900
Match: Football League, First Division, at Anfield, kick-off: 14:30.
Liverpool – Sheffield United 1-2 (0-0).
Attendance: 15,000.
Referee: Mr. A. Green; linesmen: Messrs: R. Holmes and W .Seddon..
Liverpool (2-3-5): Bill Perkins; Tom .J. Robertson, Billy Dunlop; Charlie Wilson, Alex Raisbeck (C), William Goldie; Tom Robertson, John Walker, Sam Raybould, Charles Satterthwaite, John Cox.
Sheffield United (2-3-5): Bill Foulke; Harry Thickett, Peter Boyle; Harry Johnson, Tom Morren, Ernest Needham; Billy Beer, Paddy Gilhooly, Jack Almond, Oakey Field, Bert Lipsham.
The goals: 1-0 Needham (22 min.), 1-1 Satterthwaite (55 min.), 1-2 Gilhooly (65 min.).

The failure of Liverpool to account for Sheffield United came as an unwelcome surprise, especially as it followed the excellent display given at Newcastle the previous week. There was, however, a vast difference in the style of play witnessed in these two contests, and the clever footwork which was so noticeable a feature of the earlier game was strangely absent at Anfield. There was nothing in the constitution of the side to cause such a difference in form, for the same players had given splendid exhibitions at Owlerton and Newcastle in successive matches, so that it is necessary to look further afield for the cause of the unsatisfactory performance against the Blades. The front rank, in the first place, did not move with that freedom and cohesion that are usually associated with their play. There was considerable cleverness shown at times, but when the crucial moment arrived it seemed a matter of extreme difficulty to do precisely what was required. The forwards never got thoroughly going for any lengthened period, with the exception of the time immediately succeeding the scoring of the equalizing goal. Their temporary triumph seemed then to have furnished them with that vim and dash – which had previously been wanting – necessary to bring to a successful conclusion several well meant efforts, and Sheffield appeared more like a beaten team during this time than any other period of the game. This was the turning point of the struggle, for after the Sheffield defence, sorely pressed and beset though it was, had resisted stubbornly and effectively all the onslaughts of the home side, the visitors suddenly broke away, and Gilhooly was practically presented with a goal from Lipsham’s centre. Thus was at one fell blow swept away all Liverpool’s advantage. They never pulled together with thoroughness after this, and never looked like pulling the match out of the fire.

Robertson, on the right wing, repeatedly gave chances to the inside men, but the shooting was not a strong point, and glorious openings were allowed to slip unheeded. In the front rank there were one or two loose screws, which prevented the machinery from working in an effective manner, and, with the exception of the creditable work done by Walker and Robertson, the display was distinctly disappointing. That they played far below their form was patent to every one, and their failure to utilize the numerous chances that occurred cost them the game. But the half-backs were equally culpable, and rarely have they been of so little use to the men in front of them. Their passing was more advantageous to the Sheffield players than to their own side, and their best work was done in defence. Further behind, there were not the same weakness noticeable, and Perkins kept a sound goal, though many better shots than the one that beat him a second time were cleared by him. (Liverpool Mercury, 03-12-1901)

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