December 8, 1906
Fortune smiles at Derby – on Liverpool.
Candidly, I awaited the result of Liverpool’s visit to Derby with some amount of trepidation. This scarcely seems justified by that 1-0 result, and yet a dispassionate analysis of the play showed that it was. Liverpool in the sequel gained an invaluable 1-0 victory, but whatever merits did attach to a somewhat scraggy game confessedly rested on the side of the slain, yet bloodless Rams’.
It was another instance of Sam Hardy in chief coming to the rescue of his side with a brilliant custodianship display. At times the County enjoyed a monopoly in the way of applied pressure. But Hardy was the man to break up – shall we say? – this Derby Trust, and cause that oftimes hard-driven, inflated ball to vanish into thin air, so far as goal scoring is concerned.
It was an appropriate triumph, too, for Hardy, seeing that, like Sam Raybould, he was operating in, though not against, his native county. As at Woolwich, Percy Saul and Tom Chorlton were the Livers’ back pair. Saul played better than against the Villa, but was still the reverse of faultless. As for Chorlton, his work was very encouraging.
George Latham’s introduction at right half was associated with happy results. Latham doesn’t pretend to figure as a stylist, but he is a tremendous worker who generally succeeds in a despoiling mission. He did so on Saturday. By the way, Latham’s association with the Reds’ League team last season was a wonderfully bright one. He thrice appeared in away matches – at Sunderland, Newcastle, and Nottingham v the Forest. In each case Liverpool gained a splendid victory. His two remaining League games last season were at Anfield against the Sheffield club, and here also victory went the way of the Reds. Saturday’s experience was also a pleasing one, and personally I, like all others, would like to find the sequel lengthened; but, —!
Alex Raisbeck and James Bradley played their parts well in defence, but Liverpool’s halves scarcely provided for their first-line-of-attack comrades as satisfactorily as usual. Of that forward line one cannot write rapturously. Their irresistibility of the Villa match was absent; but, of course, the Derby halves and backs showed finer defensive qualities than Alex Leake and Co.
John Carlin, having failed to please, was substituted on the extreme left by Joe Hewitt, our crack centre of 1905-6. Now, until Hewitt developed such a remarkable pivoting powers, outside left was the best position assigned for him by critics, and it is undeniable he served Sunderland excellently at outside left more than once. With William Macpherson as partner, Hewitt should not grumble for lack of opportunity; and this pair, I hear, gave a hopeful though not overwhelming display.
By their most recent victory, Liverpool have lifted themselves into a capital position on the table. Twelve points out of a possible 14 during the past seven weeks has worked wonders, and should help the club’s most bronchially-troubled supporters to breathe freely.
(Cricket and Football Field: December 8, 1906)