Huge crowd at Goodison Park


March 30, 1907
Within the limits of the League no finer holiday attraction could be wished than the meeting of Everton and Liverpool. This was evident enough from the appearance of the Goodison Park ground yesterday. There were probably 50,000 people present, and more were waiting to get in at three o’clock, the time of the kick off. In the glorious weather that prevailed the scene was one of delight the eye of any football enthusiast. The playing pitch was in perfect order, and surrounding this parallelogram of green were massed half a hundred thousand of people, the mere numbers making an impressive spectacle. It only wanted the presence of the players to make the scene complete, and when the teams turned out, Liverpool in red jerseys, and Everton in blue, the sight was a pretty a one as a sporting event could be expected to furnish.

Several circumstances combined to give interest to the contest, in addition to the inevitable rivalry of local eleven’s, Everton are not only the cup-holders and finalists for a second year, but they were challenging the position, of Newcastle as leaders of the League, while Liverpool, themselves the League champions, last week defeated the present League leaders, Newcastle United. The vast crowd was controlled by a mere handful of policemen within the enclosure, although there were several mounted men on duty in the adjoining streets. There was no disorder during the first half, and there were the usual humorous incidents to a big gathering. Anxious spectators clambered on the roofs of some of the stands to the imminent danger of the necks. A diversion was caused when a kite fell across the ground, and the players, who were kicking the ball about had to gather up the string.

All went well during the first half, but at the interval there was an ominous movement in the crowd near the town goal. Then the spectators burst through onto the playing pitch, first by couples, and then in scores and hundreds. The police were helpless in keeping them back and soon the playing pitch was encroached upon, and scores ran across the pitch to the far side. Someone produced a football, and an impromptu game was played. It looked as if the match could not continue, when in came half a dozen mounted policemen, and these soon forced the encroaching crowd beyond the touch line with the result that after an interval of fifteen minutes the second half was resumed, and continued without interruption to the close. Everton were at full strength, and Liverpool lacked William Macpherson, injured, Robinson again partnering Goddard.

The teams therefore lined up in the following advertised order:
Everton: William Scott, William Balmer, Bob Balmer, Harry Makepeace, Jack Taylor, Walter Abbott, Jack Sharp, Jimmy Settle, Sandy Young, George Wilson, Harold Hardman.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Percy Saul, Billy Dunlop, Maurice Parry, Alex Raisbeck, James Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Robert Robinson, Joe Hewitt, Sam Raybould, John Cox.

Raisbeck won the toss amid a loud cheer from the Liverpudlians present, and he had no hesitation in pointing to the town goal. Sandy Young started prompt to time. Dunlop had to kick away, but he kicked against an opponent, and Jack Sharp got possession from the rebound. He was nicely placed for a centre, but tamely sent behind. Cox and Hewitt tried to make headway, but the strength of the wind was miscalculated, and the ball went over the line. Raisbeck did his best to get the forwards going but failed, and then the skipper was penalised for a foul on Young. Hewitt missed a chance to get away, and then Cox and Raybould worked trickily together, and Will Balmer thinking discretion the better part of valour, kicked into touch.

A grand run by Hardman electrified the crowd, but his final shot from long range comfortably caught and thrown away by Hardy. There was the first save of the game. A couple of fouls against Liverpool brought the Blues no advantage, and again the Reds’ left wing was prominent, but they could not get within shooting distance and when Dunlop receiving a pass back, swung the leather to the other wing, Robinson headed wide. Jack Taylor broke up an attack initiated by Cox, but the Anfield right came again, and Robinson from long range shot over, while a moment later, following some close passing by the Reds, Hewitt narrowly missed with a fast drive. Sharp nearly work through, and Bradley had to kick back to Hardy. Play was suddenly taken to the other end, and Cox called on Scott with a long oblique shot, which the Irishman safely death with.

Still sticking to their work, the Reds swarmed round the Blues and Hewitt with an overhead kick from Parry’s pass shot over the bar. Saul and Hardman had a tussle, and a free kick against Liverpool took the ball to the Anfield goalmouth, where Settle sent just wide of the upright. Again play finished in a trice to the other end and Hewitt in a gallant effort was sandwiched between the backs. Taylor beat Hewitt, and feeding his forwards beautifully a dangerous attack ensued. Bradley having to give a corner, Raisbeck saved this, but another followed, from which Abbott headed over.

The first quarter of an hour had been very even, there being really nothing between the teams. Saul and Raisbeck tried in succession to floor Sandy Young, and when the latter succeeded the referee promptly gave a free kick, which availed the Blues, nothing. The visiting right pressed and R. Balmer gave a corner, which was easily worked away. From another attack by the Anfield right, Robinson got in a centre, but the ball was bouncing awkwardly, and although Raybould got his head to it with an open goal, he sent straight into the hands of Scott. It was rather a lucky squeak for the Blues.

A fiercer drive from Cox was charged down. Bradley beautifully fed Cox, and as a result the winger forced a corner off W. Balmer. This was perfectly placed and Raisbeck headed in, Scott saving in grand style. The Reds still pressed, and another corner accrued, again placed beautifully by Cox, but Scott rushed out and fisted clear. Just afterwards Hewitt shot inches over the crossbar. A cheer went up when Young got the better of Raisbeck, and Sharp getting in a centre Hardy saved under difficulties. At the other end the Balmers got the better of Hewitt, but the Reds were now having the best of the play.

The second quarter of an hour had been decidedly in their favour, and the Blues had Scott to thank that they were not behind. Another corner to Liverpool were again placed, by Cox, with mechanical accuracy, and a hot attack on the Everton citadel ended when Robinson lifted the ball on top of the net. Raisbeck very prettily beat Wilson with a back heel, but a foul against Parry brought play to the Anfield half, where Young got off-side. Raybould was far too slow in shooting, but a pretty sequence of passing between the visiting right and centre looked promising, Hewitt however, finishing with a shot which went wide.

Play continued in the home half, but the Liverpool forwards failed to gauge the wind accurately, and the Everton goal was rarely in danger. Another corner from the Reds was fiddled away – a disastrous lack of methods being shown in the attack. Parry put his leg up to Young, and a free kick was given. From this Dunlop conceded, a corner to Sharp. This was got away, and Cox was sprinting to the other end when he was unaccountably pulled up for offside. Dunlop cleared a free kick, but got hurt, and resumed with a decided limp. Play slackened at the interval approached, and the Reds had the best of matters, the two Balmers being kept busy, Scott was not troubled. A foul against Abbott resulted in one more corner for the Reds, but this time Cox put it behind. This was the last incident of the first half. Half-time Everton nil, Liverpool nil.

After a long interval owing to the crowd breaking in, as already described, Hewitt set the ball rolling against the wind and sun, Settle nearly work through in the first minute, but Hardy ran out and cleared, Cox then dribbled half across the field and swung the leather across to Goddard. R. Balmer kicked into touch, but Hewitt received and centred. Scott clearing comfortably. Sharp easily out raced Dunlop, and although Saul dashed across and cleared the Reds were penalised close in. a corner kick followed, but another infringement of the rules brought relief to the Reds.

It was only for a moment as the Blues vanguard got up and a foul was given against the defence close in, the leather ultimately going behind. Sharp forced a corner of Bradley, and from this Young narrowly missed the mark with a fierce drive. Nice work by the Everton right wing, and centre ended in Young putting in a pretty centre, which Hardman made a gallant effort to convert. Hardy saving cleverly. The Blues were now having the best of matters, and their methods near goal looked promising. From a free kick close in Makepeace found himself with an opening, but his shot went wide. W. Balmer missed his kick when Cox was getting dangerous, and the right winger gaining possession, dribbled into grand shooting position, but there was no sting in his shot and Scott saved although three or four Liverpool forwards tried to dispossess the custodian before he could get rid of the ball.

Then play veered at once to the other end, and a corner was forced on the right from which Harold Hardman hit the upright, the ball glancing behind. A long shot from Cox, was safely got away by Scott, and the next incident was a foul by Sharp on Dunlop. Hewitt was working well into position when Bob Balmer floored him in very questionable style within the penalty area. Play now rapidly changed ends. Sandy Young sent in a beautiful centre, which went begging and then Cox put in a lovely one on the ground. Robinson dashed out, but managed somehow to muff a glorious chance by skying the ball.

The game was stopped for a moment when Robinson accidentally received R. Balmer’s foot in his face. A long centre from Sharp was generally in the Anfielders half. Abbott, who drove along the ground at a terrific pace put in a fine shot, just by the corner flag. The spectators had “goal” on their lips, when Hardy flung himself at the ball and brought off a magnificent save. Dunlop completing the clearance by kicking away. Hardy’s feat was deservedly applauded. A few moments later he kept out another that appeared to be going wide from Young. The Reds paid a visit to the other end, but it was of brief duration.

With half an hour gone the score sheet was still clear and the crowd was getting anxious for goals. Cox and Raybould missed a perfect chance from Robinson’s centre. Cox got the ball, but in his haste he headed over. It was a shocking miss. At this stage, Hewitt, who had never recovered from Balmer’s charge, went outside-left. Cox going inside and Raybould centre. In a further attack by the Reds, Cox was entirely unsupported but the visitors were now making their presence felt. Dunlop tried to place Sharp offside, but failed, and Hardy had to fist out the winger’s centre. The Blues, however, forced a corner, which was got away. Makepeace brought Cox down accidentally the ball being afterwards thrown up, and Liverpool’s left winger had to leave the field. He returned in a moment or two apparently little the worse.

Play was afterwards in the Liverpool half, but the desired goal never came. Dunlop gave a corner with a wild kick but from this the ball was sent over from a cluster of attackers. Then Liverpool broke away on the right, and obtained a corner, but this was easily dealt with, and just afterwards the whistle sounded. Result, Everton nil, Liverpool nil.

A NOTE ON THE GAME.
Liverpool threw the match away. With the enormous advantage of sun and wind they should have made the issue safe in the first half, but sheer ineptitude near goal, and glaringly missed chances in this and the second half spoiled them of victory. The Reds had the bulk of the play in the first half, and the Blues in the second moiety, but the pressure of the Blues was more sustained than that of the Reds. They too, failed by poor shooting, although one or two shots were exceptionally good.

The defence on both sides was the best part of the teams the forwards being somewhat uneven. The Everton wing-men were very good at times, but it was by fits and starts, and there was very little of that combination throughout the whole quintette which is so effective. Of the Liverpool front rank the same may be said. The left wing over shadowed the rest, and Cox was perhaps the best forwards on the field. Jack Taylor had Hewitt well under control, and Robinson and Goddard were not a perfect wing. Raybould was painfully slow at times.

Of the two sets of halves, the Blues were the better trio by reason of their more accurate serving of the forwards, and at back the Balmers would be preferred, although both Dunlop and Saul did uncommonly well. Both goalkeepers showed themselves class-men. While a draw leaves little to complain of –although it seriously jeopardises any chance of the championship Everton might have had –it was the winning of easy chances that cost Liverpool a point.

RECORD ATTENDANCE.
Yesterday’s attendance constitutes a record for the ground. It is estimated that there were 52,000 people present and the gate receipts amounted to £1,460.
(Source: Liverpool Courier: March 30, 1907)

XX

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