April 23, 1906
Unfortunately for Liverpool, they were unable to place their best team in the field in the last League game of the season at Anfield, and although they won readily enough, thus making their position at the head of affairs thoroughly clear of all other rivals, it was a source of disappointment to the crowd to find Alex Raisbeck, Billy Dunlop, Sam Raybould and John Cox unable to take their customary posts. John Carlin was likewise an absentee, and the Anfielders had therefore to draw largely from their reserve forces.
As regards the quality of the football witnessed, it was typical of the end of the campaign, and after Liverpool had made the issue practically safe by a couple of cleverly-gained goals, they did not unduly trouble themselves further.
Improving the goal record.
They were the first to become dangerous, after Parry had lost the toss, and his side had been placed to face the breeze and sun. Leivesley being seen to advantage in clearing from Goddard and Gorman, the latter a reserve team player drafted into the eleven for the first time this season. Seeing that his usual position in the junior ranks is at inside forward, it was certainly a curious stroke of policy to play him on the extreme left wing. However, after a series of fairly even exchanges, Hewitt tipped the ball beautifully forward to Parkinson, who dashed in and gave the custodian no chance with a splendid drive.
Immediately following this, Brown was prominent for the visitors, and Hardy did well to save a treacherous ground shot from him, for the rain, which had fallen in torrents prior to the commencement of the game, had made the surface extremely difficult.
After Leivesley had thrown away stinging shots from West, who dashed past the forwards and brought the keeper to his knees, the full-back dropped the ball well in front again, and McCormick missed his kick. This enabled Robinson to gain possession, and centring accurately to Parkinson, the inside right experienced no difficulty in adding a second goal.
A relapse and a Sheffield success.
At the interval Liverpool were in the satisfactory position of being practically immune from defeat, and when they gained a third point from another cross shot by Robinson they were assured of victory. Hewitt forced a corner, and the ball being placed nicely in front Robinson hooked the leather towards goal, where Parker, in endeavouring to clear, edged it further away from Leivesley into the net.
The League champions now exhibited less method in their movements, and some very ragged work by their defence let in Lipsham, who centred. Parry failed to stop an easy shot, and Drake, pouncing on the ball close in, easily netted. In the subsequent play Drake and Lang missed the easiest of chances of further reducing their opponents’ lead, the former in particular making a wild drive after Lipsham had placed the ball at his toes not five yards from Hardy.
Bluff also skied the leather when almost similarly placed, and just in the midst of this floundering came the news that Everton were a goal ahead at the Palace.
Thenceforward all interest in the play utterly vanished, and the League curtain was drawn down for another season, what time the champions annexed their final couple of points.
A poor show.
It is impossible to discuss the points of this contest seriously, for there was nothing at stake; nothing to draw forth the best efforts of the contending teams, beyond the desire on the part of Liverpool to finish their season with a victory, and as will readily be imagined the football was by no means of an exhilarating character.
In the forward division of the leaders, Parkinson occasionally put in some smart work, his first goal being a characteristic effort, but at other times he was none too successful in his dealings with the United half-backs. As a matter of fact the front rank generally performed but moderately; they required a stimulating influence to urge them on to greater deeds, and this was not forthcoming.
Gorman was simply a nonentity on the left wing, and he has yet to learn to use his head when playing football. At half-back Bradley was in splendid form, his play being in advance of anything seen from him for some considerable time. Parry was likewise in most alluring mood, though there was a tendency to draw the gallery in the closing stages. Further in the rear, Chorlton and West defended very able, while Hardy kept a fine goal.
In the United ranks loomed three or four prominent figures, and Leivesley proved a really capable custodian. He had a far more difficult task to perform than his vis-à-vis, and he repelled a number of shots which fairly deserved to find the net. Johnson showed good form at left full-back and in the intermediate line, Bernard Wilkinson was as usual always intruding at every possible opportunity.
Parker is a clever player, and he gave a creditable display against the speedy right wing pair of the champions. Forward Lipsham was the best, though Lang was often very dangerous, but the inside men were none too effective, and Drake was not a success in the centre.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Alf West, Tom Chorlton, Maurice Parry, George Latham, James Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Jack Parkinson, Joe Hewitt, Robert Robinson, James Gorman.
Sheffield United: Joe Lievesley, James McCormick, Charles Johnson, Billy Wilkinson, Bernard Wilkinson, Billy Parker, Johnny Lang, Arthur Brown, Alonzo Drake, Edgar Bluff, Bert Lipsham.
Referee: Mr. J.T. Howcroft (Bolton).
(Source: Athletic News: April 23, 1906)