April 24, 1905
Liverpool v Manchester United.
By their victory over Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday last, Liverpool again qualified for the right to admission to the premier League, and it is now highly probable that for the third time in their existence they will secure the championship of the Second Division. Seldom, if indeed ever, has such a crowd been seen in the ground, and thousands of excursionists came down from Manchester, many of whom were unable to get inside the enclosure.
By two o’clock the ground was well packed, and the official figures when ascertained should constitute a record for the club. Fortunately for Liverpool, Jack Parkinson was able to play. On the other hand, the United altered their right wing pair of forwards, and in place of Jack Allan and Harry Beddow, who had played the previous day at Chesterfield, Dick Duckworth and Alf Schofield were substituted.
In the first half some capital football was witnessed on both sides, but Liverpool deserved their lead of two goals as the interval. The visitors indulged in several spirited attacks, but Ned Doig was not unduly troubled, though on two or three occasions he was called upon to deal with awkward shots. But the United forwards were too intent upon dribbling, and did not utilise their speedy and clever wing men as they should have done. Schofield and Dicky Wombwell made the most of the chances they secured, and each out across some excellent centres. Liverpool, on the other hand, went for goal in exhilarating style, John Cox repeatedly beating his opponents, and all along the line the combinations exhibited was more commendable. Both goals experienced remarkable escapes, for Sam Raybould was floored when almost through, and his shot went over the bar, whilst at the other end a score seemed certain to accrue to the visitors during a melee near the posts, but Alf West most ably came to the rescue with a timely kick. Thus for nearly forty minutes neither side could claim an advantage, though Liverpool, as the interval approached, appeared to be gaining the ascendency. A tremendous bully around Harry Moger, who had failed to get away a stinging shot, paved the way for the first point.
The United managed to clear this danger, but the Liverpool left wing bore down, and Cox after beating two or three opponents, shot hard and true, and Moger failed to hold the ball, which went into the net. After this reverse the United fell away considerably, and they never looked like recovering themselves. Some beautiful work by Tom Chorlton enabled Raybould to add a second goal, and after the interval the same player registered a third with a huge drive from fully thirty yards’ range. Jack Fitchett had to retire, and Manchester, playing one back, upset the Anfielders’ theories. However, Robinson got through and passed to Raybould, who again scored, though tere was more than a suspicion of offside about this point.
The play in the second half was by no means so interesting as the earlier portion had been, due partly to the fact that the United had to adopt the one-back game, but perhaps more especially because they tacitly acknowledged themselves a beaten side. They never gave a glimpse of the ability that they must indubitably possess after the change of ends, though Charlie Roberts at centre-half worked untiringly to get his forwards moving concertedly, but it was all of no avail. There was an impediment, in the shape of the leader of the front rank, which repeatedly upset every attempt at combined effort; and thus Manchester, after gallantly striving for eight months, had to return to the place from which they had intended to depart.
Liverpool once more showed that with a full team at command they are capable of playing capital football, and it is astonishing what a difference Jack Parkinson makes to the forward line. He gives it vitality, and, though not always happy in his efforts, he sets an example to the remainder which is decidedly infectious. It must not be forgotten that he had been troubled with an injured thigh during the week, and under the circumstances, must be given credit for a plucky performance. Raybould as in excellent trim, and when he fastened on the ball was with difficulty dispossessed, while his shooting was in quite old-time style. Cox was likewise in one of his happiest veins, and the backs who opposed him were frequently left behind Chorlton, on the extreme right, was a most capable substitute for Arthur Goddard, and it was due to most judicious work by him that enabled Raybould to gain the second goal. This enthusiastic young footballer should develop into a rare useful member of the League team next season. Robert Robinson as usual worked hard, and completed a most satisfactory line. The Liverpool half-backs were, perhaps, the chief factors in the victory, Alex Raisbeck fairly excelling in stubborn defensive play, and simply reducing Jack Peddie to a nonentity. This was an occasion when much was expected from the skipper, and right worthily did he respond. George Fleming and Maurice Parry were both seen to advantage, the former working untiringly and yet with fine effect. Further behind, the defence of Billy Dunlop and Ned Doig left nothing to be desired, and each player got through his work in clean, incisive fashion, not a sign of weakness being noticeable.
United were disappointed, and doubtless the defeat sustained the previous day at Chesterfield had taken the keen edge off their aspirations, for they had little to hope for prior to the contest with Liverpool. In addition, they were unfortunate, for he injury to Fitchett weakened their defence. The left full-back twisted his ankle whilst turning to drive back the ball, and was of no use afterwards. In the forward division Wombwell and Schofield were the most effective performers, and had they been better served their side would not have been so decisively beaten. Peddie was absolutely useless in the centre, and the inside forwards were very remiss in shooting, several possible chances being nullified by their inaccurate attempts near goal. Roberts was the most conspicuous figure in the rear division, and the amount of hard, determined work he got through was enormous. But the understanding between the half-backs and forwards was only moderate in quality, and the placing was frequently faulty, the ball often travelling to a Liverpool player. Robert Bonthron ad more than he could manage in the Anfielders’ left wing, and though Moger might have stopped the third shot but for the dazzling sun which spoiled his view, he failed to hold the first which scored, the ball going between his outstretched hands. At other times, however, he kept out some stinging drives, and could scarcely be held responsible for the severity of the defeat. The simple matter of fact is, the United were beaten by a better team on the day’s play, and prior to the interval Liverpool shaped more efficiently than in any previous League game this season. Their nearest approach to it was the cup-tie with Everton.
Sympathy must be extended to Manchester, for they deserved a better fate, and it was unfortunate for them that they had to meet one of their strongest rivals for promotion at such a juncture. At the same time, to Liverpool must be awarded unstinted praise for again escaping the second division, and it is exceedingly gratifying to know that next year we shall have first-class football every Saturday in this city. To the directors of the club, and the players thereof, the warmest congratulations are due, and the manner in which the latter have striven to regain that position, which they should never have been compelled to leave last season, is one of the most cheering features to record.
Now that the Anfielders have returned to their proper sphere of influence, it is to be hoped that nothing will be stinted to maintain this, and that there will be no further need to wade through the dangerous and unsatisfactory shoals of Second League warfare. To that we hope to bid a long farewell.
(Liverpool Daily Post: April 24, 1905)