October 12, 1903
Another local Derby has been added to the list of those which have been relegated into past history, and once more has the great struggle between our two rivals League eleven’s ended in a draw at Anfield – this, by the way being the fifth occasion that the teams have shared the points on that enclosure.
Judging from the previous form of the contending sides this season, there seemed, prior to the match, every probability of Everton securing a decisive victory, but once more was the old adage exemplified that one never knows what will happen who two keen rivals face each other.
In apportioning credit to the players who participated in the game, the greater share must be awarded to Liverpool, for they entered the field to fight a forlorn hope, according to the ideas of many, and, in addition, had to dispense with the services of their best back owing to an attack of blood poisoning in his arm.
This was a case of further weakening the most inefficient part of the Anfielders armour and, unlike their rivals at Goodison, the Reds have not the same wealth of resource to draw upon in an emergency as Everton possess.
It is true that the latter had to deplore the absence of three stalwarts in William Balmer, Jimmy Settle, and Jack Sharp, but William Henderson who filled the former’s place, is no stranger to League football; neither can Jack Taylor nor Jimmy Sheridan be so designated, although, at the same time, it is nor for one moment suggested that the inclusion of these players had not a weakening tendency.
One defection from a feeble eleven was only counterbalanced by the three from the admittedly stronger side, and on this basis it may be argued that the sides faced on an equal footing. Coming to the game, it may be stated at the start that it was one of the best contested that has been witnessed in the series of meetings between the clubs, and the second half was exciting enough for the most phlegmatic temperament.
Liverpool have only their own faulty shooting to blame for not being two goals ahead before the interval at least two of their forwards may lay that mournful unction to their souls. When a custodian is out of goal, and an opponent has the ball at his toe, inside the penalty line and fails to score, this can only be put down to sheer inability; and as both Jack Parkinson and Fred Buck thus distinguished themselves, there is more than ordinary substantiation for the statement that the Anfielders should have gained a formidable lead in the first half Everton had no such glorious chance of scoring, the nearest approach being when Harold Hardman sent in from close range, but Peter Platt was there and stopped the shot, which was a really capital one.
Liverpool had delighted their supporters by their hold display in this early period, and they resumed after breathing time in equally creditable fashion. Tommy McDermott and John Cox were prominent with rousing drives, but 20 minutes had elapsed and the fun commenced.
Taylor received on the extreme right, and George Fleming, who had given a fine exhibition in the centre, unaccountably missed his kick. The right wing sent across easily, and Sheridan getting to the leather flashed it against the crossbar into the net. Within five minutes the process was re-enacted and Everton were two goals in front a result which, by the way was more than, their play deserved.
Naturally, everyone considered the doom of the Anfielders were sealed, but Cox had always been difficult to restrain, and eluding both Sam Wolstenholme and Henderson, he whipped across a beautiful centre to Parkinson, who headed back to Richard Morris, and the latter banged the ball into the net with tremendous force.
As if to continue the sequence of coincidences Arthur Goddard emulated Cox’s feat, another centre came to Morris and this time after heading into the net, the inside left delivered a parting kicks to the sphere which had already baffled George Kitchen. This was indeed a thrilling period – four goals in 15 minutes – and even after this both sides missed easy chance of winning.
Taylor got past John McLean easily, and with only Platt to face shot at long range outside the upright. Then in almost the last minute Parkinson got hold of a centre from Cox close in, but missed a certain goal by feebly shooting at the custodian.
Liverpool certainly surprised the bulk of the crowd by their capital display, which was vastly superior to anything they have shown before this season. Whilst lacking in the finer points of the game, the men infused any amount of energy into their play, and even when matters looked blackest for them they rose to the occasion, and averted the apparently inevitable defeat by drawing level.
There is district hope for the Anfielders after the performance and the result should give them confidence for the future matches. With one exception the play of the forwards was exceedingly satisfactory, and the two extreme wingers were the pick of the line. Cox was the recipient of some excellent passes from Morris, and rarely failed to turn them to account, whilst the latter, in addition scored the two goals, simply through sheer determination, and there was no more genuine trier on the field than the inside left.
Goddard indulged in some delightful sprints and centres, and bore off the honours in the attacking division, despite the fact that his partner gave him very few opportunities. Buck completely spoiled his play of his selfishness, and by preferring to dribble and dally with the ball instead of combining with Goddard, lessened the efficiency of the attack in a part that had it been properly attended to would have given the Everton defence far more anxiety than it actually did occasion.
Parkinson worked unceasingly at centre forward displaying any amount of dash, and is certainly the most likely pivot the Anfielders have tried thus far. Fleming played a rare good game at centre half, as did Maurice Parry on the right and John Hughes has evidently the making of a half-back even though rather crude in some of his efforts at present. He appears to be a player worth persevering with, and should improve.
Further behind Alex Raisbeck rendered good service at full back, and Platt kept a capital goal, but McLean was erratic, and interspersed much that was creditable with some very serious blunders.
Everton rather disappointing and the forwards were not seen at their best by any means but the chief weakness was at half-back, and no doubt this was to some extent one of the causes of the front line being below their usual standard.
Walter Abbott and Wolstenholme failed to keep in check the speedy Liverpool extreme wingers, and Tom Booth was the most successful of the trio. Abbott too, was remiss in his shooting, and it was a surprise to find the left half so wide of the mark with two easy chances for it is seldom he allows opportunities of this nature to pass unheeded.
In the forward division Sheridan executed some capital footwork, but he did not play to Hardman as Settle does and this lessened the efficiency of the wing through in other respects the Irish International shaped creditably and crowned his efforts by two very clever goals. Hardman put in some tricky work, as did McDermott though the latter demonstrated the same fault as the Liverpool inside right, and was too fond of individual dribbling.
Sandy Young was only moderate, and Taylor also, but the latter, as is his went made the most of two chances which came his way in the second half, though he blundered with a third. Jack Crelley was the better of the backs, his work being accomplished in a neat and effective fashion, whilst Kitchen in goal, had no possible chance of stopping the shots that beat him.
Altogether it was a most enjoyable game, and if Everton were slightly off colour, one could not but admire the excellent manner in which Liverpool buckled to their task.
Needless to state the game was most satisfactorily conducted by Mr. Kirkham, and the players themselves was content to confine their attention to the play, which for such an encounter was free from foul tactics.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: October 12, 1903)