February 1, 1908
Liverpool at Birmingham.
The Liverpool team went to Birmingham and came back with a point. That was not unsatisfactory, although we would all have been better pleased had they got the two, especially as the Brums had – in September – unexpectedly taken both away from Anfield. The scoring on that occasion was 4-3 in their favour, but on the visit of Liverpool to St. Andrews, either the forwards found conditions less favourable for scoring, or the defence on both sides was sounder.
No one is more angry when a team kicks out than the Liverpool crowd. Sometimes they even jeer a man who has no other alternative, but if it is done with a set purpose then their wrath knows no bounds. It would therefore surprise them to hear that the Livers had been guilty of the very thing which is so strongly objected to here. But the strictures which have been put upon the team were not deserved. True the ball went out a great number of times, especially in the first quarter of an hour. But there is a reason for this. In the first place the St. Andrews ground had a peculiar crown, and in the second place there was a nasty cross wind blowing. Now Sam Hardy places his kicks judiciously, and frequently puts the ball out to his wing men. This he tried to do on Saturday, but the two factors upset his judgment, and the ball went into touch.
When he gauged things better he rarely kicked out, and the fact that it was only at the beginning of the game that he is charged with the intention is proof positive that it was due to ground and weather, and not from any ulterior motive. The same may be said of the backs. If every team played the sporting game Liverpool always do – even when going down – there would be no occasion for complaint, and as a general rule it is said that the games Liverpool play on foreign grounds are among the best of the season.
There is not a great deal to record about the play. The first half it was fairly even, and no goals were scored. In attack the home team had the better of matters, but they could not beat the defence opposed to them, and so Jack turned round as good as his master. The second half opened with the Brums going the stronger, and they scored a goal through Arthur Mounteney. Liverpool, however, equalised, Joe Hewitt scoring, and so well did they shape in the last quarter of an hour that they looked as if they would win. They should have scored again – and would have fully deserved it on their finishing up form.
Of course, taking the play right through, a draw was a fair reflex, and both sides should have scored oftener, but still Liverpool stayed longer, and that in itself is a proof that they were a shade the better team.
The Liverpool forwards were best represented by their wing men, John Cox and Arthur Goddard. The inside players were weak in front of goal, and both Robert Robinson and Joe Hewitt might have done better forward. The halves all played well. Maurice Parry kept up the form he showed against Bolton, while Jim Harrop again showed that he has great ability.
At full back Alf West was all right, and I hope that he will now secure a permanent place in a winning team. Percy Saul also played a great game, and the selectors might keep their eye on the Gainsborough lad. Sam Hardy could not be bettered, which almost goes without saying.
For Birmingham, the halves played a good game, with Walter Wigmore the choice. It seems almost a pity though to place a good forward like Benny Green at half back, when inside forwards are not as plentiful as they might be. The amateur Walter Corbett and John Kearns were the defenders, with Jack Dorrington in goal, so the old firm of Nat Robinson, John Glover, and Frank Stokes seems to be dissolved.
Forward, Charlie Tickle was the best man. Edgar Bluff rather slow, but a sure feeder. The other forwards did nothing brilliant, and this time Parry looked well after Edmund Eyre, who did not get the same chance to shine as at Anfield in September last. The game was just a fair one, and the visitors have no right to grumble with a draw.
Today’s Cup Tie.
Liverpool have been sojourning by the briny waves on the Blackpool shore during the week, and I believe they are as fit as fiddles. At least that is the report from headquarters. The men are all up there, and the Directors will have plenty of material from which to choose their team.
By the time these lines are read it will, of course, be known, but as I write there is no idea as to who will play. Of course everybody knows that certain men are sure of their place, but for about four positions there are several eager aspirants.
Brighton have done so well that it is with no deprecation of their merits Liverpool enter the field. They understand they have to go all the way, and so I look to a good game, with the boys in red as winners.
The composition and personality of the Brighton team is deal with elsewhere, and I will leave readers to weigh them up for themselves. Tonight we shall all be wiser, but now in anticipation I hope it will be a fine day and that Liverpool will show their best paces.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: February 1, 1908)