February 16, 1907
Liverpool put the Gunners to flight.
Matters in the Liverpool camp were very much aglow, following their meeting with the rivals Reds at Plumstead. New Anfield’s keeping qualities (I mean respecting its playing area) must be above the average, for the game was fought out under far more favourable conditions than was the case at many grounds, judging from the various reports one has read of slush, mire, etc.
In fact, we saw, perhaps, the finest game of the season. Liverpool moved in their best form; the form which won for them championship honours a year ago. Yet. Woolwich were only ever so slightly inferior. In fact, it was only Liverpool’s extra close-to-goal forward vim, and their brilliant custodianship that carried them though by more than a goal margin.
England’s International keeper-elect, Sam Hardy, surely set the seal on his fame as a custodian of the highest class. Possibly some few had a faint suspicion or two that Hardy was chosen for the Irish match today to give it an added touch of local colouring. After personal comparisons with England’s 1906 choice, Jimmy Ashcroft, no such suspicion can surely remain. Ashcroft was very good, but Hardy was excellent. His perfect fielding of the ball constituted perhaps the greatest feature, and in this respect it is wonderful what a likeness exists between today’s rival keepers at Goodison.
It used to be said that visiting teams to Merseyside could always produce splendid goalkeepers, but that guardians of the highest class were just the gentlemen neither Everton nor Liverpool could parade.
These days are in the past tense. I was also delighted with the full-back work of Billy Dunlop and Percy Saul. The latter proved safe and successful throughout, and Dunlop played a rare game against the Gunners’ best wing.
Liverpool’s middle line also enjoyed a big share in the triumph. James Bradley’s polish was noticeable, and Robert Robinson played splendidly until damaged in the course of a hot fusillade upon Ashcroft’s charge. He, in some unperceived manner, received an ugly hip wound and was carried off in great agony.
It takes something most severe to compel this. When at Sunderland, an in his early Liverpool days, Robert Robinson frequently figured in the wars, but Saturday’s was his first mishap of the current season, and this leaves Sam Hardy as the only Liver whom Mr. Tom Watson has not found necessary to place under the doctor’s care.
“Luckless Liverpool,” you will say, in more senses than spoiled Cup-tie gates! James Gorman, although a long remove from fit, gave a most creditable exhibition, when his damaged knee got warm to its work.
Forward, Liverpool were glorious in most positions, and I should place the men – Jack Parkinson, John Cox, Sam Raybould, William Macpherson, and Arthur Goddard in the order named, on the merit scale.
It is a novelty for Goddard to be placed last. Parkinson gave a thrilling display, and fully earned his brace of goals, making six in his last three League games. He was unselfish to a degree when this was judicious, and his individual bursts always spelt danger. His distribution was as perfect as it was prompt, and thus effective. He fairly terrorised the Woolwich defenders.
Cox found the heavy-going to his liking, and his general footwork and centring reached high-water mark.
(Cricket and Football Field: February 16, 1907)