October 13, 1906
Liverpool’s big effort at Woolwich
The one regrettable feature of Liverpool’s visit to Woolwich lies in their defeat, bringing as it did the season’s reverse to date up to four – all in succession, by the way, and in each instance with the 2-1 against the men of Anfield.
With the majority of clubs picking up points Liverpool’s repented failure is becoming a very serious business, and this morning they were only three rungs in advance of the bottom position on the table.
Apart from the result, however, Liverpool can look back with considerable satisfaction upon their high trial at Plumstead (where, perforce, they opposed a team flushed with repeated success), because of their team being curiously constructed, in consequence of a heavy personal injured list. Only four men – Sam Hardy, James Bradley, Sam Raybould, and John Cox – of the Anfielders’ earlier recognised League eleven were able to fill their accustomed positions, so that one way and another the side required some sorting out. Seeing that none of the four players enumerated exactly overspread himself with glory, it must be conceded that those who were sort of experimented with covered themselves with credit as a body to run Woolwich to a goal on their own meadow, and deserved a point on the general run of a fast and exciting game.
Still, there were one or two lapses on the part of one of the so-called experimental players. I refer to Percy Saul, who is blamed in some quarters for one, if not both the goals scored by David Neave, the diminutive Arsenal left winger. In the Everton match Saul’s play was somewhat of the sink-and-rise-again order. He would be most completely beaten one minute, to recover smartly in the next. But this is not the type of defence one would seek to encourage. One can have such a fatal trait as too much confidence in one’s own powers, be they of recovery or otherwise. In the case of Arsenal’s second goal Sam Hardy was, however, not altogether blameless. It is conceded he has saved many more difficult shots than Neave’s winning one.
Macpherson’s promising debut.
Apart from this, Hardy kept out a number of excellent attempts from the enemy’s guns. Tom Chorlton was the better back, and I should like to see him given an extended trial either as partner to Alf West or Billy Dunlop. There is always hope for a player who shows signs of originality in his work.
As centre half Maurice Parry made his debut in a League match more successfully than his indecisive movements of the preceding Monday promised. With both captain and vice-captain absentees, Parry had further responsibility as acting skipper (it seems a long time since Liverpool had an English skipper), and his was a noble example.
Robert Robinson gave another workmanlike display, but personally I should feel inclined to place him at centre half. He is untiring, and his lack of speed would be less accentuated there than when facing some of our flying wingers.
But the great feature of the match I have left until the last.
This was William Macpherson’s splendid debut at inside right. He paved the way for this in the Lancashire Cup game, but really the St. Mirrenite exceeded our highest expectations, and one can only hope that he will go on as he has commenced.
It seemed a great pity that, just as Arthur Goddard had found a partner after his own heart (one estimate of Macpherson is that he is Goddard’s best partner since George Livingston was lured to Hyde-road), the former should be injured.
In skilful manipulation of the ball in drawing the defence, in plying his partner advantageously, Macpherson has thus far shaped splendidly. That he can shoot “the best goal scored at Woolwich this season,” I think rather serves to prove. If he develops into a second Howie, Goddard and sundry others will be delighted. Surely Macpherson (it is a good football name) has not flattered to deceive. His success may encourage the Committee in trying other fresh blood.
Liverpool’s position this morning was the reverse of reassuring, but one is hopeful that the tide has either turned or is turning.
(Source: Cricket and Football Field:October 13, 1906)