A poor game

April 23, 1901
Sheffield United v Liverpool.
The re-arranged League match between Sheffield United and Liverpool was decided at Bramall Lane last evening, in the presence of a much smaller attendance than was expected, a generous estimate placing the figures at 8,000.

Had the Sheffielders won on Saturday, there would have been a different story to tell. The crowd was quite worthy of the game, however, play, except perhaps during the first half hour, being uninteresting. United had four of their Cup eleven out, Ernest Needham, Charles Field, George Hedley, and Walter Bennett, for whom Wilkinson, Barnes, Beers, and Almond appeared, whilst Liverpool re-introduced Robertson at back, and Satterthwaite at inside left, whilst Parry found a place amongst the halves, vice Raisbeck.

Liverpool had to face both wind and sun, and, barring one or two isolated advances which did not seriously trouble the United defence, the play for some time settled in Liverpool quarters. The ball was very lively, and it was this that was largely responsible for Priest failing to get round a chance that offered itself right in front. At the other end, thicket brought Cox down in a manner that suggested visions of a penalty kick, which was actually claimed, but only an ordinary foul was conceded, Barnes having made a weak finish to a pretty combined run. Liverpool had more sustained turn of aggressive work, in the course of which Thickett missed his kick badly, leaving Cox a chance close that he clean threw away by a wild lunge over to the other wing.

Liverpool played disappointing football in the first quarter of an hour, but gradually they got better together, and a series of smart runs culminated in Cox finding an open course. He was finally challenged by Thickett, but judiciously passing back he gave Satterthwaite the opportunity of parting to Raybould, who, looking suspiciously like off-side, easily hooked the ball past Foulkes. Two minutes later the big man left his goal to a header by Walker, and thumped the ball to midfield when clean off his feet. United almost got through as the result of a capital move on the right flank, but the ball finished up on the wrong side of the post, and away burst Raybould on a run which carried him through all opposition. When on the point of shooting, however, Boyle reached him, and both man and ball were swept away in front of an impetuous rush. Finally Raybould got offside, and the free kick led up to an onslaught on Perkins, in which the Liverpool backs did their work capitally.

Cox, who is qualifying for a sprinter, showed a fine turn of speed against Thickett, but both he and Robertson finished weakly when well placed. Boyle buffeted back with his knees a shot from Cox when both the Anfield left wingers had see-sawed through, and with United showing little system. Liverpool continued to have the great bulk of the play, so much so that a second goal came to them as the outcome of a fine piece of work by Raybould, who rounded the backs and planted the ball wide of Foulkes for Satterthwaite to bundle it through, literally flinging himself at the ball and finishing up in the back of the net.

The Liverpool forwards were very clever, and had their shooting been up to level of their general foot work, the score would not have stopped short at two. The game was momentarily suspended owing to Priest being badly sandwiched, but he was soon going again, and during the few minutes that remained of the first half United pressed. They could not get through the defence, however, and at half time they were still two goals in arrears.

In the second half Beers and Barnes changed positions, and whether this was responsible or not, the fact remains that after Liverpool had forced an unproductive corner United had all the game for five minutes, repeatedly sweeping down on Perkins by smarter football than in the first half, without, however, being able to find any work for the keeper. At the other end Walker shaved the foot of the post with a fast shot, after Wilkinson had covered a blunder of his own making close in.

Again United moved along in better style, only for Dunlop to beat Barnes off. Satterthwaite found Foulkes with a low curling shot that the custodian gathered well when he looked to be unsighted. At last Perkins was called into play, Beers dashing through the backs and compelling the old Lutonian to kick over his line to save. The next minute, from a free kick, Perkins carried the ball too far, and was penalized, and this was followed by another free kick, but neither was made any capital of.

Play was again stopped whilst Satterthwaite recovered from the effects of an awkward fall on the hard ground, which gave him a bad shaking, and when the game was resumed things were tame in the extreme, until Beers took a pass from Lipsham and rushed the backs. Perkins, however, beat him, and again scooped the ball out as Barnes got it in front a second time. United were now playing the better game, but they could make nothing of the Liverpool defence. Once Lipsham compelled Perkins to apply his fist to a high dropping shot, and ere the keeper could get back, got the chance for a second attempt, but unfortunately his smashing shot flashed across goal and out on the other side. Cox was then allowed to run in when off-side, but Boyle incontinently knocked him off the ball when a third goal seemed inevitable, and enabled Foulkes to clear.

A little later Cox tried a shot at an impossible angle, but only to see the ball come back off Foulkes’ clenched fists, and subsequently the same forward corkscrewed clean across the field, working for a position that never came. Boyle finally taking the ball from his toe right in front. United were having their fair share of play, but repeatedly broke up on the Anfielders’ defence, and came with the score: Liverpool, 2 goals; Sheffield United, nil.

Sheffield United: Bill Foulke, Harry Thickett, Peter Boyle, Harry Johnson, Tom Morren, Bernard Wilkinson, Billy Beer, Billy Barnes, Jack Almond, Fred Priest, Bert Lipsham.
Liverpool: Bill Perkins, Tom .J. Robertson, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Charlie Wilson, William Goldie, Tom Robertson, John Walker, Sam Raybould, Charles Satterthwaite, John Cox.
Referee: Mr. J.C. Tillotson, Birmingham.
(Source: Sheffield Daily Telegraph: April 23, 1901)

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