Saturday, November 17 – 1906
Preston’s pitiable fight
At Anfield there was a story of goals in plenty. Preston was indeed in a bad way, and one felt like sympathising with them, rather than condemning. To lose a thrusting centre like Percy Smith is no joke, nor is it reassuring to be denied a clever aggressive winger like Herbie Danson, but what shall be said when North End have to take the field minus one man in attack whom Liverpool seriously feared – Dick Bond, to wit?
With him in Preston’s team, it always spells possibilities in the way of “goals for.” But as if Preston were not already sufficiently crippled the last straw was surely added when it became known that Peter McBride would be an enforced absentee. Apart from the personal abilities of McBride, his presence always morally counts for much in giving the team a feeling of confidence.
In fine, the way was practically paved for a liberal Liverpool victory, and it was therefore not surprising that the Reds came along with a 6-1 win, just as against Middlesbrough last season, when the way was also paved through the absence of Keeper Tim Williamson.
Preston’s forwards were so weak, and their half backs so incompetent to stay the progress of the home vanguard, that the game practically resolved itself into a struggle between the Reds’ attack and the Preston backs and goalkeeper throughout.
An easy victory.
At one period of the first half I began to fear the Livers were intending to fritter away their golden opportunities, for mistakes in Herbert Taylor’s vicinity were frequent. But it was left for Captain Alex Raisbeck to put on two goals, and so erase the stigma which would have attached to a 1-1 interval score – not, of course, that Taylor had in any sense been kept in idleness, but the Preston defence was so often practically tied in a hopeless knot by the intricate movements of the Reds’ vanguard that quite for pre-interval goals should have accrued, apart from Raisbeck’s fine scoring shots.
John Cox was rendered a lame duck early in the second half, and retired, and this further served to demonstrate how small Preston’s chance was at the outset. Certainly the visitors had a trifle more of the game, but, utilising their fewer chances better, Liverpool scored three goals to nil during this moiety, despite a disinclination to work unduly hard.
The game was too one-sided to be genuinely interesting, and after Liverpool’s second goal there was too much of the foregone conclusion about it.
Liverpool’s aggressive work was generally so brilliant that they might very easily have achieved double figures. In backing up, James Bradley, Alex Raisbeck and Maurice Parry were superlatively good, Preston’s attack being so weak that the home halves had time and to spare for various purposes. This won’t always happen – to-day at Tyneside, for instance!
The reintroduction of John Cox was attended with fairly satisfactory results, and the winger was given an encouraging word upon taking up his place after the interval, but his subsequent breakdown precluded any decision being arrived at respecting the probable success of his partnership with William Macpherson.
Macpherson – and others.
Macpherson is proving himself one of the season’s catches and Mr. Tom Watson has reason to congratulate himself upon the quality of his angling in Scottish waters. I have nothing to add here, to what I mentioned in last week’s report, concerning the fine value of his swinging passes to the outside right, and their profitable nature was soon made apparent.
Perhaps Robert Robinson will reciprocate by passing to the outside left after the defence has been drawn to the right. “Mac’s” every move suggests the brainy footballer, and recalls the work of Jack Cameron in the latter’s early Everton days, save that Macpherson is more pleasingly aggressive than was the present day ‘Spurs manager.
Sam Raybould gave unbounded satisfaction, whilst Arthur Goddard’s work against Preston’s best back was nothing short of delightful. Raisbeck’s recent brilliance foreshadowed the coming of those two goals. I hope Alec has impressed the mammoth Tyneside crowd in his usual fashion to-day. Harry Griffith was not nearly so happy in his defence as on the preceding Monday against the same club.
Whatever has happened at Tyneside to-day, Liverpool are entitled to a hearty pat on the back for their recent strong pull towards a position of safety. They have justified Tom Watson’s optimism as expressed to the writer six weeks ago.
(Cricket and Football Field, 17-11-1906)