A popular “mini-Derby”


April 6, 1901
Everton Reserves v Liverpool Reserves.
A huge holiday crowd, numbering 15,000 person, was present at Goodison Park to witness the above rivals decide their return fixture in the combination. Both sides were strongly represented, and a remarkably fast and interesting game ensued.

Liverpool commenced operations, and straightway a tremendous pace was initiated, in which the respective combatant proved to be equally matched. Several well-meant strong defence checked efforts, the splendid returns of Tom J. Robertson and John Watson being a prominent feature of the contest.

In the opening half Liverpool held a slight ascendancy forward, and Andy McGuigan got away, only to find the Everton left back impassable. The Everton front rank were kept in motion owing to clever work by Green and Dickie Boyle, and William Roche was a thorn in the side of Gray John Morris, but as was the case at the other end of the field, the defence eventually prevailed.

Both custodian were called upon, and Tom Soulsby failed to utilise a capital chance, though from a centre by the same player, John Davies headed against the upright what time George Kitchen lay prostrate. This was a narrow escape for the Everton men, and roused by the partial reverse, their forwards rushed smartly away, and Harry Storer only just succeeded in averting a dangerous centre from George O’Brien.

Two grand opportunities than came to Liverpool, for McGuigan got clear away from his opponents, but Watson overtook him and saved. A moment later Davies had a similar chance, and on this occasion Kitchen came to the rescue, but though the custodian failed to check the onward career of his opponent he managed to divert the shot, which rolled just outside the upright.

Everton took up the running, and Billy Dawson gave Storer a warm handful, but the Derbyshire man was equal to the emergency. Despite strenuous efforts on both sides to gain the lead, there was no score at the interval, a result which was strictly in accordance with the general run of the play up to this point.

On resuming, the played waxed as keenly as ever, and smart passing between Soulsby and McGuigan gave the latter an opening. Dashing along the centre, McGuigan placed across to William Otty, whose cross was headed in by Soulsby, and Kitchen, though failing in his attempt to clear, saved marvellously.

Everton retaliated with rare dash, and a heavy bombardment of the Liverpool goal followed, shots being showered in without effect, though many narrow escapes were recorded. The home left wing proved very troublesome, and after severe pressure Roche took advantage of a series of weak returns by driving the ball past Storer, to the accompaniment of tremendous cheering.

The Everton forwards were now showing more forceful tactics than their rivals though for the “Reds” McGuigan was always dangerous when in possession, but the great fault of the visiting forwards was lack of shooting power.

A pretty sequence of passing between Arthur McArdle and McGuigan was well terminated by the latter, for racing beautifully past the Everton backs, he ran close in, and beat Kitchen in rare style.

With both, sides again on an even footing, play was continued with greater determination than ever and McGuigan again beat the backs centring well, and causing Kitchen great difficulty in clearing. The custodian ran out, and a long shot from Rab Howell, almost gave his side the lead whilst the keep was unguarded.

Away went Everton, and Roche was presented with an open goal, but Morris managed to hamper his opponents so well that Storer was easily enabled to throw away the final shot. To the other goal flashed the “Reds” and McGuigan’s speed was once more in evidence the home goal escaping by the merest chance.

The pace began to tell a tale, and the movements were now not so incisive; but a mistake by Charlie Wilson let in O’Brien, who shot right across the goalmouth, missing the net by inches only.

From a foul against Green, Tom J. Robertson drove the ball into the net and the referee allowed the goal; though it was difficult to imagine why, for it did appear as if a second player had touched it in its progressed. Everton strenuously appealed against the decision, and they certainly deserved commiseration.

In the closing stages Everton strove hard to regain the even balance, and obtained a couple of corners, but nothing further was scored, and a splendid game, which should have resulted in a draw, was won by Liverpool by two goals to one.
(Liverpool Mercury, 06-04-1901)

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