November 24, 1906
Liverpool’s Novocastian’s experiences
Liverpool’s nice winning sequence came to an end at Newcastle in a fashion somewhat unsatisfactory. Given eleven good men and true, the Anfielders can always be relied upon to give the dainty-dribbling Tynesiders a rare putting up – as the records tell us.
There was no reason to doubt their ability to fight hard for the honours on Saturday, and from the manner the game opened a splendid battle for supremacy looked in prospect. But then came Maurice Parry’s breakdown – a severe strain caused through the Welshman attempting one of his usual “impossible” pedal-extremity feats.
Then arrived a severe shake-up to John Carlin, and with Liverpool left with men and a half, the issue was over, bar shouting. Play degenerated – as was only natural – from a visiting standpoint, whereas the Tynesiders, rejoicing in their unexpected slices of luck, just as naturally came out in their most brilliant manoeuvring colours. Here was their long-awaited opportunity to “show up” Tom Watson’s boys on the Liverpool secretary’s native heath.
Despite their disorganised defence and crippled attack, Liverpool offered a stout resistance for over half the journey, and really the wonder was that Newcastle did not prevail more pronouncedly. Even so their second goal was a proper gift, for I learn from a Newcastle source that “Liverpool’s defence got in a complete tangle, and Alec Gardner looked thoroughly ashamed of himself when he scored the second goal by lifting the ball over the heads of a crowd of opponents, dropping it just inside the angle of the crossbar and the upright.”
This happened from a free-kick. With all their table neighbors also losing on Saturday, Liverpool’s defeat did not mean a slip down the table. Still, two invaluable and hoped for (although not expected) points went astray, whilst at the same time a fair opportunity to give Everton a real helping hand went by boards.
Sam Hardy kept a valiant goal, and saved his second penalty of the season. Harry Griffiths repeated his “sunshine and shower” defence of the Preston match, and Percy Saul was nearly as erratic, not to mention giving the penalty referred to. Alex Raisbeck played splendidly after being away from Tyneside three seasons, and James Bradley’s only blot was a tendency to play the man, rather than his own usual manly game. Doubtless the ex-Potter and some of his comrades were upset with Parry and Carlin accidents.
Forward there was little ground for complaint, but the men were handicapped in a three-fold sense. First Carlin’s injury. Second, the absence of Parry, which left Raisbeck and Bradley unable to prompt the Anfield vanguard to the extent necessary. Third, Sam Raybould and Co. were opposed to halves and backs who were bang at the top of their International form, with Andy McCombie towering over everybody.
I was sorry John Cox wasn’t out on Saturday, for there is no forward so able to harass the great ex-Wearsider. William Macpherson created a very good impression on this his first visit to Newcastle. Arthur Goddard shaped as efficiently as ever until the closing stage, when the heavy ground and the cashing chair-charge tactics of Jack Carr began to tell a tale.
Robert Robinson was a worker throughout, and if Macpherson missed one easy scoring chance most unaccountably, Robinson made a double sin of omission. In the centre, however, Sam Raybould behaved excellently throughout, and with Macpherson was perhaps the pick of Liverpool’s attack.
This was their first defeat at the instances of Newcastle for four seasons past. Both Everton and Liverpool have now a 1906-7 score to rub off when Newcastle visit the Merseyside.
(Cricket and Football Field: November 24, 1906)