November 10, 1906
Still another Liverpool success
A victory for Liverpool at Middlesbrough seemed almost too much to hope for, remembering the galaxy of talent identified with the notoriously managed Tee-side club; remembering, too, the Tee-siders’ previous week’s victory at Aston and their most recent acquisition – the great little Andrew Aitken; and remembering, finally, that Liverpool travelled North unable to produce Alf West, Billy Dunlop, or Tom Chorlton as partner to Percy Saul.
Andrew Aitken, Middlesbrough F.C.
By general consent the balance of play rested with Middlesbrough, notwithstanding the loss of William Roberts, whom Maurice Parry unwittingly damaged. Even the much-criticised one-back game did not assist towards victory for the men of iron, despite their many fine qualities. Middlesbrough’s ease to me seems much akin to that of Liverpool three season ago, when the Anfielders had the men, but not the points, yet went on with every few changes in personnel to pick up a couple of championships in the two succeeding seasons.
For the first time this season Liverpool retained an unbroken defence from home, and this is surely creditable to young Harry Griffiths, the fifth back on the club’s books. He kicked and tackled most commendably, and this success should surely fire his ambition to go on, train strenuously and win in the race for first-class honours. Percy Saul, who as a Pilgrim sampled Tyneside football in a thrice-played Cup tie two years ago, caught a Tartar in Billy Brawn in his experience on Tee-side, yet preserved to the end.
But the strongest men in defence for Liverpool were Sam Hardy and Alex Raisbeck. The former reached his best 1905-6 standard, whilst of the skipper a Middlesbrough critic wrote, “The sunny-topped Raisbeck was a host in himself.”
If Liverpool’s attack was less pronounced than usual, we must not forget that the line was weakened through the absence of Arthur Goddard, in consequence of one of those severe colds to which these Northern journeys seem to lay him open. After all, there is only one Goddard, and the reconstruction of the Reds’ vanguard to allow of Joe Hewitt’s introduction as an extreme wing forward naturally adversely affected its effectiveness.
The three inside men, William Macpherson, Sam Raybould, and Robert Robinson, were perhaps the most prominent, and Raybould’s goal – a rising ball high up in the rigging was as fine as it was valuable, and the player naturally earned the best thanks of his comrades, who nearly wrung his hand off.
The line as a whole put in much sterling work, and gave Tim Williamson many an anxious moment. Still, in this case, chief honours rested with the defence, and for the present at any rate the Anfield club occupies a position of safety on the table. When the regular defenders are fully convalescent the Reds should still further advance, but of the forwards I would like to see the outside left berth player more closely approximating his form of last season.
Liverpool in the Lancashire Final.
Jack Parkinson for Raybould and Goddard for Joe Hewitt were the only changes made in the Liverpool team which opposed Preston North End at Anfield in the County Cup semi-final on Monday; but with the visitors minus five of the side that beat Aston Villa two days before, the event provided no sort of a guide for to-day’s League meeting between the same clubs. I cannot see how North End are to escape the displeasure of the County authorities re “representativeness.” The 4,000 or so spectators present saw the Reds win very comfortably by four goals to one.
Preston only had two forward – Herbie Danson (whom Saul could not weigh up) and Martin Becton – what a pity the latter is so small. Charles Dawson, I should say, has still a lot to learn; and Arthur Lockett did absolutely nothing. A craftsman like Jack Bell was sadly needed.
The visiting halves were inclined to take things easily, but Peter McBride and George Tod did well. Griffiths rather pleased the crowd, but, of course, the opposition was very weak. Maurice Parry had a field day, but the great feature was a delightful half-back exhibition by Raisbeck. Goddard also moved well, and Macpherson played fine football, but as a true exponent of centre forward play Parkinson disappointed one. He was an individualist pure and simple. Personally I think “Parkie’s” style fitted for an extreme wing player. Of course, he scored a goal or two, as he invariably does in the Lancashire Cup ties! Nor did John Carlin please me; surely he is not going to train off, now that his chance has arrived! I have some confidence in looking Anfieldwards for the Lancashire Cup winners this season.
(Cricket and Football Field: November 10, 1906)