March 2, 1907
The Anfield surprise.
Surprise was writ large over those Merseysiders who visited Goodison Park in justifiable preference to Anfield upon learning that Liverpool had only accounted for Bradford City by the odd goal, and the surprise broadened into real wonderment when it was still further told that Liverpool were lucky to win.
Candidly the Reds were never more completely off colour at Anfield since the day in 1904-5 when, as Second Division championship candidates, they were successfully held at home by such an acknowledged moderate side as Lincoln City.
With so much to write about this week one doesn’t intend saving a great deal on the Livers woeful display as made against the heavy-woollen contingent at Bradford demonstrated at Goodison a year ago that they were capable of sterling cup-fighting efforts, and Everton came within an ace of having to journey into the Valley Parade-district, but in that instance the Blues generally had much the best of the play, without, however, succeeding in taking anything out of the City defence.
But at Anfield it was Liverpool who in chief were found defending, and had the Bradford sharpshooters behaved like marksmen worthy the name the Reds must have paid a sensational adieu to the Cup at home a la Newcastle United per Crystal Palace.
The Reds off colour.
Fact is, the extra dash and bustle of such minor team as Oldham and Bradford seem to upset the quiet and dignity of a class side like Liverpool! The encounter appears to have resolved itself into a chapter of accidents so far as Liverpool are concerned – even to their almost “accidental” victory”!
Arthur Goddard, Sam Hardy, Jack Parkinson, and James Bradley among others, were at one time or other pretty much in the wars, so desperately eager were those zealous Bradfordians to bring off the arranged (?) draw.
Fortune was also against the Tykes when they were denied a goal because the ball had previously been a foot or two over the goal-line, and fortune seemed still more cruel when a minute later John Cox registered a rather soft goal against the foolish-looking Micky Wise. Thus, by two curious turn of the wheel Liverpool were leading 1-0 instead of being in arrears to that extent.
In the second half Liverpool showed still further deterioration and demonstration, yet the excited City inside forward could registered nothing but outers. Such form will not carry Liverpool further than the next step on the Palace train, and then of a certainty it will show them a door marked exit.
Nearly every man seemed under a cloud, more or less. Sam Hardy was added to the injury list, and Billy Dunlop could do nothing with Willie Clarke, whom I recollect as a smart Aston Villa right-winger four seasons ago. Percy Saul behaved fairly well, but the middle line were moderate indeed.
Then the home forward line were so changed in ability and effectiveness from the quintet which performed so brilliantly against Woolwich that the crowd looked incredible, if not unutterable things. Jack Parkinson, in addition to getting damaged, was completely off colour and the others were very little better.
It was clear that Bradford’s bustle and dash quite upset the Liverpool team, who possibly went on the field thinking it merely a matter of “how many goals up?” Still Liverpool’s form was much too bad to be true, for we know and believe them capable of far better and greater things.
In the next stage they are to have another battle against the rival rose shire and must needs by on their every best behaviour. It is their inconsistency alone which prevents Liverpool adherents looking towards the Sheffield Wednesday match with genuine confidence.
(Cricket and Football Field: March 2, 1907)