April 20, 1901
Liverpool v Bury
The interest in the remaining League games of the Liverpool club increases in intensity, and to-day, when the Reds were due at Bury to play off the return game with the Shakers, they were followed by a large number of followers. A great deal depended upon the result, and it was generally felt that if Liverpool could only annex a couple of points the premier position in the League was almost assured. The weather was gloriously fine and arm – much too warm in fact, for football, but nevertheless the meeting was responsible for a fine attendance of spectators.
The Liverpool team, in charge of Mr. Tom Watson, and accompanied by Mr. John Houlding, C.C. (president), and Mr. Thomas Knowles left Exchange Station shortly after one o’clock, and they were followed half an hour later by the crowded excursion train. The Liverpool team was identical with that which has recently done duty, and every man was reported to be in the pink of condition. The Bury ground was in splendid condition and everything pointed to an interesting struggle. Concerning the Bury team, Charles Sagar was dropped on account of indifferent form, his place being taken by Berry, otherwise the eleven was that usually placed in the field. The sides faced as follows:
Bury: Archie Montgomery; Jack Darroch, Jimmy McEwen; Jack Pray, Joe Leeming, George Ross; Billy Richards, Willie Wood, Jasper McLuckie, Jack Plant, John Berry.
Liverpool: Bill Perkins, John Glover, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, William Goldie, Tom Robertson, John Walker, Sam Raybould, John “Sailor” Hunter, John Cox.
Referee: Mr. Kirkham, Preston.
Bury won the toss and took advantage of the breeze which was blowing. Raybould started the game in the presence of quite 8,000 spectators. The game opened somewhat quietly, both sides evidently trying to feel their feet. Bury were the first to make any really aggressive move, and after exchanges close in, McLuckie shot wide. A brilliant bit of work on the part of Robertson placed the home goal in danger, some splendid passing being displayed, but Cox failed to secure possession, otherwise Darroch and Montgomery would have had a difficulty in keeping their goal intact.
Liverpool did not lack supporters, and in response to encouraging cries they played up splendidly, Cox getting in a couple of grand centres, from one of which Raybould and Raisbeck were both given chances, but they were met by a very stubborn defence, Darroch and McTwan playing like demons. The game was all in favour of Liverpool, and it was only fine defence that prevented a score. The attack by Liverpool was kept up for several minutes without result, although they were given a grand chance from a free-kick. At length relief came to the home men, and Wood conceded a free-kick against Goldie, but all to no purpose. Dunlop repulsing subsequent attacks in excellent fashion.
The next feature was a very tricky move by Cox, who completely baffled Pray and Darroch, finishing up with a splendid centre, which McEwen prevented Raybould from turning to account. A free-kick to Liverpool was well placed by Parry, but this availed nothing, as hands were given against Raybould, and the ensuing free-kick led to a very warm onslaught on Perkin’s charge.
Some tricky exchanges by the Bury forwards spelt danger, and, with a brilliant shot, Berry narrowly missed, the sphere just passing outside. At this period Bury were very aggressive. Plant putting in one shot, which went very near, whilst Perkins was tested from the opposite wing, but succeeded in frustrating the determined efforts of the Bury men to score. A free-kick to Liverpool was badly utilised by Glover, who sent yards over the line. McLuckie tried hard to break away just afterwards, but Raisbeck stuck to him like a leech and ultimately transferred to Robertson, who made a very fine tricky run, giving Walker a chance. The latter, however, being too well shadowed to take advantage of the opening.
The first corner in game came to Bury, but it was wretchedly placed, and Goldie easily cleared, the visiting left making progress at a rapid rate before Darroch accounted for Cox. Play continued of a very fine description, and once Bury seemed likely to score, when Raisbeck dashed up and headed away. A little later Cox was making rapid progress, when he was badly fouled, and after the free-kick had been replied to, Robertson secured, and made a wonderful attempt to score with a terrific shot, the effort missing by about a yard.
From another onslaught a moment later, Cox and Hunter displayed great form, from which Liverpool ought certainly to have opened their account, but the chance was missed, and a further attempt by Robertson went a trifle wide. The game at this stage was going all in favour of Liverpool, the halves and forwards displaying perfect cohesion, and as a result Montgomery and his backs had a very warm time of it. From one very hot onslaught, Robertson had a glorious chance, but missed by inches, to the disappointment of the Liverpudlians present, whilst Walker also had an abortive shie. Suddenly, however, Bury changed the scene of operations and Wood, when in a splendid position, shot wide.
The game continued to be hotly contested, and as the interval drew near, there was not much to choose between the respective elevens, both sides putting forth all they were capable of. For once in a way, Raisbeck was beaten, and a free-kick was given against him. But this was so badly placed that it resulted in Liverpool’s advantage. However, Bury returned to the attack, a very fine shot coming from Wood, who missed by the nearest shave. A pretty move by Cox gave Raybould every opportunity, but he kicked against Darroch, and the result was that the game turned completely round. The game was near the centre at the interval.
Half-time: Liverpool, nil; Bury, nil.
Immediately on recommencing a corner ensued in Bury’s favour, but Perkins fisted out. Bury forced the game, and, infusing plenty of vigour into their play, gave the visiting backs a warm time of it for a few minutes. Shot after shot was sent in, only to be returned, and the pressure was finally relieved. McLuckie got clean through, only about four yards from goal, with only the goalkeeper to save, but the ball feebly rolled over the line to the astonishment and the disgust of the Bury supporters. Bury continued to have the best of the game, but the shooting of the forwards was miserable in the extreme, the only dangerous shot being sent in by Berry.
Result: Liverpool, nil; Bury, nil.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: April 20, 1901)