December 26, 1905
Liverpool were at home for Christmas to the Bolton Wanderers, whose title fits them accurately just now, as they wandered to Newcastle on Saturday, and travelled the tedious return journey to perform at Anfield. It is said the Wanderers played a very good game against the Novocastrians, and were unlucky to be beaten. This suggestion did not affright the partisans of the Reds, who were all the more pleased at the anticipation of a real good tussle.
The spectators did not dally over their Christmas fare, and turned up in good time, and when the game was well started there were 25,000 spectators present. The weather was dull and misty when the Reds turned out, and somewhat later the Wanderers appeared, led by their captain Struthers, who, by the way, is a Liverpool lad.
Mr. Fred Kirkham ruled the roost.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Alf West, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, James Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Robert Robinson, Joe Hewitt, Sam Raybould, John Cox.
Bolton Wanderers: Dai Davies, Bert Baverstock, Bob Struthers Tom Wolstenholme, Bob Clifford, John Boyd, David Stokes, Sam Marsh, Albert Shepherd, Wattie White, Marshall McEwan.
Hewitt led off Liverpool, and at once the Reds set to work in anything but holiday fashion, and for several minutes fairly peppered the Bolton defence, Robinson giving Davies a rare handful just as the whistle sounded. Then McEwan got away, and White wound up by shooting over the bar. Once more the Reds dashed off, and put on more pressure. Bradley making a commendable effort, the ball skimming the bar.
The Livers made great efforts to open their account, and the Bolton contingent gave evidence that no chances were to be thrown away. Cox succeeded in getting the leather to his corner flag, and centred nicely, but neither Raybould nor Hewitt could find an opening.
On the other wing Goddard made a good effort with a fine oblique shot, which was followed soon after with a corner from Cox, but the Reds missed the leather altogether, and the Wanderers went off with a splendid dash, Marsh testing Hardy with a swift ground shot.
The game was remarkably fast, both sides straining every nerve to gain the much desired lead. Stokes dashed off, and Dunlop failed ignominiously to stop him, and Marsh dashed up, with only Hardy to face. The Liverpool custodian stopped the shot, but could not handle the ball, and, before he could pull himself together, Clifford dashed up and netted the leather. This success was the result of grand work, but Dunlop was the culprit. Nothing daunted, the Reds at once invaded Bolton territory, and exerted great pressure on the left, without proving successful.
The pace did not slacken in the least degree, and Goddard failed to reach Robbie’s pass. Then almost before it could be realized McEwan sped off, and drove the leather on to Shepherd with great force, and e’er Hardy could realize the true state of affairs the ball had cannoned off the Wanderers’ centre into goal.
Things were now looking black indeed for the champions, but Old Sol came out at this moment as if to bid them hope. Dunlop was distinctly weak against Stokes and Marsh, and this wing continually exerted great pressure.
The Bolton forwards were playing with brilliant dash, and gave the Liverpool halves a rare grueling. A corner kick against Liverpool saw Hewitt making off, when he was fouled. A fine shot from White tested Hardy, and then Dunlop conceded another corner.
Then the home forwards made a great effort, only to find the Bolton backs too much for them. Hewitt and Robinson next forced a grand opening for Raybould, who had a clear course, but he shot wide at the finish.
The Reds improved considerably, and their forward play was excellent, all of them distinguishing themselves, but somewhere they could not get the finishing touches in, and the interval arrived with Bolton two goals ahead.
On the restart the ground was well packed. Baverstock neutralised a long pass from Dunlop, and the Raisbeck put his right in possession, and the Reds swarmed down on Davies, but Hewitt did not quite rise to the occasion, and Bolton escaped an extremely dangerous situation at the expense of a corner. But it was a distinct chance lost to Liverpool.
Once more the Wanderers came with a terrific rush and after a fine centre from Goddard Davies only just got out in time to Raybould. Stokes then broke away, and Hardy rushed out ineffectively, and, luckily for the Reds, the Bolton man only skimmed the bar.
The Wanderers were playing grand football, and their forward advances were at times the perfection of combination and fine judgment. Liverpool made supreme efforts, but their visitors held them at every point. Robinson played a particularly fine game in the forward line.
West shone out in checking a fine forcing move by the Wanderers’ right and centre, and the Hardy responded to a magnificent drive from Marsh. After fifteen minutes Parry judiciously transferred to Bradley, and the ball went to Goddard, who centred beautifully, and Hewitt making no mistake scored a lovely goal.
Now the Livers were thoroughly roused, and they attacked time after time with hurricane force, and how Davies escaped was astonishing. The Anfielders’ attack continued to completely overwhelm the Bolton defence, and finally Goddard equalised, amidst frantic cheering and intense excitement.
Now had a really great game reached its climax, and both sides fought for the lead with unabated ardour.
The tussle for some time was maintained in midfield, so tenacious were the players against giving away any advantage.
Dunlop made a bad mistake at last, which Raisbeck retrieved. The game commenced to slacken off very considerably, and both sides evidently were fairly pumped, neither seeming very keen on further scoring.
A splendid game concluded satisfactorily with a draw.
(Liverpool Daily Post: December 26, 1905)