September 8, 1906
Liverpool give the Stokers a firing up
There cannot be the least shadow of doubt that the League champions and English Cup winners of 1905-6 have got off their marks in a manner most satisfactory. Dealing first with Liverpool, the opening ceremony at New Anfield was a pronounced success in all thing save the weather. Of that, ample has already been said.
One scarcely knew which to admire most – the pluck of the players or the patience of the crowd. Mr. Tom Watson proved no false prophet when some weeks he predicted a 30,000 gate. It speaks volumes for local enthusiasm that such an audience should forsake the shady lanes and running brooks for two hours’ grilling Candidly the writer was astounded to find a packed house.
The Reds won more readily than the score, 1-0 in their favour, indicates. I should not like to say either Charlie Burgess or Harry Benson comes under the category of great backs, yet they were great on Saturday. They were fearless and tireless; they timed their rushes well and – everything came off. If I had a preference at all it was for the tall Burgess, who as a lad of 18, exactly four years ago made his League debut at Old Anfield, and gave such a fine display that he promised to train on into something out of the common. That promise was marred through an ugly accident received just twelve months later v. Sheffield United, and Burgess has not subsequently carved out the word Fulfilment.
Behind the pair at Anfield stood Leigh Roose, and the Doctor is ever a difficult subject to treat. He made at least two wonderful saves – one from Arthur Goddard and one from Jack Parkinson.
Joe Hewitt’s goal, however, would beat even a Roose 49 ½ times out of 50; it was the result of one of the finest shots ever seen even on the old ground. How fitting that this, the first goal on New Anfield and the first goal in a new season, should be piloted through by the ex-Wearsider who last winter developed so unexpectedly but so happily into a great centre forward!
For Liverpool to secure the full points in their opening match strikes one as a big advantage upon last season’s experience, wen victory No. 1 did not materialise until their fifth match. Hewitt’s first scoring match, too, by the way.
Of course, the Reds on Saturday were by no means perfect in their behaviour. A 1-0 victory very seldom indicates perfection, does it? In the forward line was noticeable a need for cohesion. ‘Tis when the men in harness pull steadily and in level fashion that the most satisfactory results accrue.
In tandem riding the “taps” must come together; in rowing the strokes must be made simultaneously; and thus must forwards advance in harmony and with sympathetic touch, to travel highest up the goal-scoring ladder. Hewitt was an able centre, and Jack Parkinson moved with terrific dash; but somehow the balance of power along the line might and should have been greater. Possibly one was too expectant under abnormal conditions, and a naturally unripe stage.
The winning halves were strong. James Bradley had a “heady” wing to face in his old comrades, Ross Fielding (whose appearance indicates the Corinthian cult) and Fred Rouse – a splendid forward this latter.
Alex Raisbeck played a storming game. He has got more quickly into his stride than usual this year, whilst Maurice Parry had the full measure of the Potters’ left wing pair. Alf West was the more successful back, Billy Dunlop getting left more frequently than we are wont to see him. Sam Hardy’s duties were of a light character.
(Cricket and Football Field: September 8, 1906)