March 16, 1907
Lancashire, we wrote the other day, had still two strong strings to her bow in the Cup-ties. Of these, one was broken at Sheffield; and with the other tension became so great on Saturday that it was tested high into breaking point. Liverpool was undone at Sheffield, and Everton received a genuine shock at the Palace which was transmitted right through to their followers.
Dealing first with Liverpool, their defeat came as a great disappointment in a generally disappointing season. New Anfield has failed in bringing along the old Cup. That prospect has now followed in the same track as did their League championship prospects towards Christmas.
Last season it was “Everton for the Cup” and “Liverpool for the League,” and a popular local revised version a few months ago was “Liverpool for the Cup” and “Everton for the League.”
Now, neither exchange seems possible. Candidly, I here confess to feeling a certain lack of confidence in the Reds ability to weather the Owlerton passage, and Liverpool readers perhaps detected this suspicion running through recent notes, buoyant though one tried to keep. For not only had the club travelled under repeated clouds in the shape of illness and injury to their leading players, but inconsistency was writ large over their performances of late.
Nor were the victories over Bradford and Oldham gained in manner reassuring.
In fact, the luck was all, or nearly all, on the side of the visitors. But, although beaten at Sheffield the Livers performed much better than in the two preceding ties.
Liverpool die hard.
The absence of Alex Raisbeck – who, however, was an eye-witness of his club’s downfall was no light thing, although in a measure compensated for by the absence of Harry Davis from the Wednesday ranks.
In every respect the match materialised into a desperately hard struggle, in which the pace, excitement, and uncertainty were sustained to the very last breath. The Blades had the pull in attack during the first “45,” but the Reds defended so pluckily that no damage was done, and the one goal of the match accrued soon after the restart.
It was during the last half-hour that Liverpool were seen to most advantage, when it was indeed cheering to find them struggling gamely for the equalising goal which never came.
It is generally conceded that the cause of defeat lay in the Livers’ vanguard, where only John Cox did himself full justice. No praise is too loud for him. He played one of the games of his life, repeatedly rounding Tom Brittleton and Willie Layton in delighted fashion, to centre and shoot magnificently, in the hope of repeating his recent League scoring success at Owlerton.
The vacillating form shown by Jack Parkinson in the centre, and by William Macpherson and Arthur Goddard on the right, coupled with the dashing and unwavering defence in opposition, resulted in chance after chance going a-begging. Herein lay the secret of the whole thing. It was all very sad; but why pursue the theme further?
Not much fault can be found with a defence which was only once pierced, although James Bradley & Co. might have fed their forwards better, and might also have assisted their side more by locating themselves on the fringe of their own forwards, a la Everton’s half-backs, when pressing, with a view to driving home the ball.
It’s a paying policy, frequently.
Further in the rear, Percy Saul and Billy Dunlop got through a heavy day creditably, whilst Sam Hardy in goal did all that human hand and a masterly head possibly could.
Doig renews his youth.
Travelling along to Stoke on Monday, to decide their postponed League match with the Potters, Liverpool fared somewhat better, for they halved the points. Doig was in goal for the Reds – this making his third successive League match – whilst Tom Chorlton figured at full-back vice Dunlop, his first League game since New Years’ Day at Burnden.
The half-back line was as against the Blades; but forward, Macpherson stood down for the first time since his introduction in the team five months ago, the Scottish light-weight thus taking a well-earned rest. In his stead appeared Joe Hewitt.
The desperately-placed Potters had considerably the better of matters, but they had the rejuvenated Doig to reckon with; indeed Doig’s brilliant custodianship was the great feature of the match, and those who imagined the veteran as being “done” a year or so ago must have opened wide their eyes.
He was a revelation even to the agile Leigh Roose, the present generation’s wonder. Here we had the old school and the new on view, and to Doig fell the honours.
John Cox gave another smart display, and notched the goal for his side. By the way, it is a trifle curious to note that Joe Hewitt, who was signed by Liverpool as an inside left, has occupied every forward position this season, save that of inside left.
(Cricket and Football Field: March 16, 1907)