November 10, 1902
With both our premier League clubs away from home, what would have otherwise been an unpalatable break in local football was filled by the meeting of reserve elevens of Liverpool and Everton, this being the initial encounter in the Combination tourney. Fully 10,000 persons were attracted to the Anfield Ground, an attendance which would have been considerably augmented had the weather been more favourable, whilst the race meeting at Aintree no doubt influenced the dimensions of the gathering.
On comparative form the game appeared almost a certainty for the Blues, but the home side was considerably stronger than had been the case in the previous Combination matches, and Everton only just managed to avert defeat, though on the general run of the game, they did not deserve to lose the two points. In fact they had the better of the opening exchanges, and loose work by the Anfield defenders let in Adam Bowman, who gave Bill Perkins no chance whatever with a tremendous drive from short range. Up to this point Everton had certainly been the more efficient side, and fully deserved their lead.
Nothing but excellent custodianship of Perkins, who displayed old time form throughout, kept the Everton eleven from increasing their advantage, and it was close on the interval when Tom Hughes, the home centre, made a gallant effort, and succeeded in equalizing. Jack Whitley coming out but failing to prevent the plucky Anfielder from gaining what he richly deserved. Another excellent individual performance by Richard Morris five minutes after the resumption, placed Liverpool once more ahead, but from a corner Charles Clark equalised, and the honours were left divided, a result which just about coincides with the respective capabilities of the combatants.
A general survey
The game was very stubbornly contested, but did not reach level attained in previous between these second strings. Everton were the more finished in their endeavours, as far as mid-field work was concerned, but they were very lax when within shooting range, though they found Perkins in First League form when their best efforts were forthcoming. The Liverpool half-backs were not the source of support to the front line that might have reasonably been expected, though Andrew Raisbeck, brother of the League player, improved as the game progressed, and accomplished some capital work in the later stages.
Everton, however, were the better side in this department and Perkins had far more to accomplish than his vis-a-via. To the supporters of the Anfield eleven his excellent work in goal would come as a pleasing surprise, and, judged by his form in this match, he appears to be regaining his quondam efficiency. The backs in front of him were exceedingly weak, which makes his performance all the more creditable, for they gave him little assistance.
The forwards were also spasmodic in their attempts, but one thing can be stated in their favour, they were not wanting when a favorable opening presented itself. Morris played a capital game on the extreme left, his goal being a very fine one, and it was a reprehensible piece of play on the part of one of the Everton defenders which caused his retirement ten minutes from the close.
Andy McGuigan was not a success, and, of the remainder, Tommy Green ranked a good second to Morris, though Hughes by reason of his plucky effort which gained the first equaliser, deserves some mead of praise.
The Everton front line acted more harmoniously than that of their opponents, but did not by any means realize anticipations. Harry Makepeace shaped well, as did Albert Monks, whilst Bruce Rankin was always dangerous when in possession. The halves were well in touch with the men in front, but the backs were very moderate indeed, and, in this respect, both teams were on equality. Whitley kept a good goal; in fact, the respective custodians deserve the greatest credit for their displays.
Everton, however, were slightly the better side, but Liverpool played so stubbornly in the second half against the downpour of rain and a strong breeze that they deserved their partial success.
(Athletic News: November 10, 1902)