Another step nearer the championship


April 13, 1901
The exciting race for championship honours in the League tournament keeps up the interest locally in the closing stages of the season remarkably well, and to-day, when Manchester City appeared at Anfield Road, there was another fine attendance, about 14,000 assembling to witness the game. Though rain had fallen more or less all morning, it cleared about one o’clock, and it was fine at the time hostilities commenced.

The Liverpool team was identical with that which has operated in recent game, but the forward line of Manchester City was reconstructed. The following sides faced punctually, under the referee-ship of Mr. Horrocks, of Farnworth:

Liverpool: Bill Perkins, John Glover, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, William Goldie, Tom Robertson, John Walker, Sam Raybould, John “Sailor” Hunter, John Cox.
Manchester City: Charlie Williams, Thomas Read, Di Jones, Bobby Moffatt, William Smith, Billy Holmes, Billy Meredith, James Scotson, Billy Gillespie, Joe Cassidy, George Dougal.

Raisbeck won the toss, and Gillespie kicked off towards the Oakfield Road goal. A foul against Holmes at once gave the home team a splendid opening, Walker all but beating the City goalkeeper. After Liverpool had proved themselves to be in very pressing mood, Meredith changed the scene of operations, but this state of affairs did not last long. Liverpool coming back in strong order. Another free-kick helped them along, and about five minutes from the start Robertson easily beat Williams, the ball coming from Cox, Raybould and Walker helping it along until it reached the scorer.

This only served to whet the appetite of the home contingent, who came straight away back from the centre, and after Williams, had kept out a very warm shot from Walker, Cox soon came on the scene, and scored a second goal some half minute after the first, two goals within so brief a space promised well for Liverpool, who were unquestionably in a most determined mood, and the cheering which greeted their performance were loud and continuous. From the centre, the City made a brief incursion, but did not become dangerous, and within a minute Liverpool were again masters of the situation. Effective half-back play placed the front rank in a good position, and had the visiting defence been less energetic further goals would have fallen. As it was the Mancunians citadel had a couple of narrow escapes from Raisbeck and Walker, both shots going slightly wide.

After further abortive pressure by Liverpool, the City advanced forward, but the only result was a fruitless free-kick. Another attack came from the right wing, Meredith centring well, to no purpose, whilst Cassidy sent wide. Further pressure by the City men ended in another abortive shie. Soon after this Liverpool made good progress. “Sailor” Hunter passing in to Raybould, who raced away, and netted the ball, but as the referee had just sounded his whistle for offside, the effort went for nothing.

A move by the City centre led to Dougal having a clear course, but his centre, which was a very fine one, was thrown away by Meredith, who missed his kick. From Dunlop’s clearance Walker made headway, but he came to grief, and Raybould took up the running, but his shot went very much astray. Subsequently Manchester City had more of the game, and on several occasions pressed their charges right home, but they were met by a most resolute defence, and beyond a corner conceded by Dunlop, the Mancunians failed to carry any of the spoils of war, Moffatt let in Cox, who dashed along at a terrific pace, and in order to avert disaster Read kicked back to Williams, who cleared his charge.

A couple of very fine moves on the part of the visitors spelt danger, Meredith and Scotson being particularly aggressive, and once the former was away by himself, when Dunlop cleverly frustrated his intentions by a judicious kick. The game was now being finely contested, and was more evenly divided than at any previous period. A grand move, however, on the part of Robertson and Walker gave a splendid opening to Raybould, who headed wide a few yards off the goal.

A free-kick to the credit of Liverpool led to a long bombardment of the Manchester goal. Robertson and Walker were particularly busy, and sent in some very tasty centres, but the midfield men never took advantage of the opportunities offered. A slight delay occurred owing to Scotson being injured, and meanwhile Meredith went inside right, to which position he retained when Scotson resumed. The change did the City no good, although they forced a corner on the left. Liverpool pressed forward again, and Williams had several anxious moments before the game settled down for a while in midfield.

The game at this stage was not so interesting as in the earlier stages, though Liverpool more than held their own. Twice when the City broke away Raisbeck pulled them up, and Glover and Dunlop were also effective defenders. Goldie served the Liverpool front rank well, and Walker raced away and transferred to Cox, whose centre was, however, not turned to account. Dougal forced a corner off Glover, from which Meredith sent wide. Just before the interval Liverpool made a grand onslaught, and after Hunter had once missed, Robertson put on a third goal, giving Williams no chance. The whistle sounded immediately afterwards.

Half-time: Liverpool, 3 goals; Manchester City, nil.

Raybould commenced the second half, but for a short while Liverpool could make no impression on their opponents. After give-and-take play, the first chance fell to Hunter, who appeared to have a good opening in front of the City goal, but hesitation lost him his opportunity. Later, from a free-kick, Hunter made a better bid, but Williams had no difficulty in saving his goal. A fine bit of work was done by Dunlop when he completely smashed up a combined move on the part of Meredith and Scotson, and this was followed by a characteristic dash by Robertson, who went down along his wing “on his own,” and finished by shooting wide of the mark.

Both sets of half-backs were prominent for some time after this, and it became a matter of great difficulty for the forwards to make headway. At last the Reds succeeded in making progress up the centre, and Hunter forced a corner, from which Cox was undoubtedly offside when he received the ball. From the free-kick, Manchester moved forward, the front line indulging in some most effective passing, Cassidy, however, making a bad attempt to reduce Perkin’s charge. Fine work by the home right wing gave Raybould a chance, the home centre taking deadly aim, and just as the ball seemed to be entering the corner of the net, Williams threw himself forward, and brought off a magnificent save.

Cox was penalised for an exhibition of Rugby play, the free-kick being placed to advantage, and from a hot attack Manchester forced to corners, from one of which Scotson made a fine attempt to reduce the lead against his side. Cox was tripped when going strongly, but nothing came of it.

After this the Mancunians made a couple of very dangerous onslaughts. Scotson forcing a corner off Raisbeck, this leading to another similar advantage. But the defence of the Liverpool men withstood the attack. Further abortive pressure by the visitors ensued, following which Cox was conspicuous in a brace of raids, eluding Moffatt and Read in excellent style, but he relied upon a broken “reed” in Raybould, who should easily have scored from the outside left man’s pass. He made a better attempt a moment later, missing by barely a foot. Parry was cheered for pulling up Dougal and Cassidy, and later on the Liverpool goal was jeopardised, bad shooting spoiling otherwise good work. Eight minutes from the finish Meredith scored for Manchester, Dunlop allowing him a free passage through claiming for offside.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: April 13, 1901)

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