September 22, 1906
Companions in distress
When we find the English Cup-holders and League champions going astray to the extent of five points out of a possible six within three days, it seems high time to pull up sharp and ask ourselves. Are the two clubs missing their way?
After setting out towards some given destination, with a route full, more or less, of intricate windings, it is always judicious to make frequent inquiries. At this early stage of the 1906-7 tourney, it seems as though our Everton and Liverpool friends are more than a trifle uncertain in the setting of their feet.
Saturday was a time of mourning locally. Even the heavens wept. Both Everton and Liverpool bit the dust. Such unanimity on the part of our two great local clubs at almost the first lap is indeed a condition of things anticipated.
Last season the twain went along as far as Boxing Day ere joining bands in defeat, Stoke then overcoming Liverpool at the Potteries, whilst Bury – at Goodison – gave Everton their second bitter pill within 24 hours. And thus, not for the first time, the far North East can claim the bulge over Merseyside.
The manner of Liverpool’s defeat was somewhat unlucky, of not absolutely annoying. The Reds were undoubtedly the superior side during the first half-hour, but then came Alf West’s injury, and Liverpool were left with ten men. Why the greatly crippled back should be sent out again after the interval to prove absolutely worse than useless at outside right is a mystery. He couldn’t even put a leg out to stop the ball. It was during his brief period of work that the Wearsiders got in twice, first to equalise and then to take the lead.
Directly West retired again the Reds played much more satisfactorily, and the visiting defence had further anxious moments, without, however, sustaining any serious damage. They seemed mightily proud of their victory, and on the whole were not altogether undeserving of it. Undoubtedly they were lucky in finding West placed hors de combat, but we must give them credit for making full use of the chances thus placed in their way. It was not a case of missed opportunities, as with some teams we see and read off.
Leaks in the Livers’ ship.
Candidly, the Reds did not please as a body. There was neither the harmony nor the determination we saw in the middle and later stages of last season. It’s very nice to be clever – but what the side needs is greater go-aheadness. Well executed tip-taps are pleasing up to a point, but they can be overdone, and a dash-in from the enemy is likely to upset all calculations regarding a pre-conceived mathematical attack.
I said something the other day about perseverance beating mere cleverness, and there is also something else which will do so – dash. Alex Raisbeck shone as a middleman, but is no nearer perfection as an emergency full back than ever. James Bradley got left very frequently in the second half, whilst Maurice Parry again displeased the critics. They lauded his nonchalant manners in the Stoke match, they sort of deprecated it in the Bury event, and positively waxed wrath over it in the Sunderland game!
Forward the work was irregular, even prior to West’s mishap. John Cox opened strongly, but then developed the old tendencies to attempt too much. Far better do less and do it! Sam Raybould was unlucky with more than one header, whilst Robert Robinson and Arthur Goddard were not too effective after the first 30 minutes. Joe Hewitt, however, retained his standard throughout. I seem to admire Hewitt more as a centre forward every time I see him.
In the Sunderland ranks Jimmy Watson, Tommy Tait, Joe McGhie, Arthur Bridgett, and in lesser degree the remaining four forwards, were shining lights. Tait is a splendid fellow, and Bridgett as penetrative and dangerous as ever.
(Source: Cricket and Football Field: September 22, 1906)