Anfield happenings (February 15, 1908)

February 15, 1908
Liverpool v Sunderland.
Liverpool were beaten at Sunderland after a hard game. Coupled with the fact that they had to make changes in the team, that some of the men felt the effect of the hard game during the week, and that they had put in a great amount of travelling, and that Sunderland were desperately eager for points, to lose by a goal scored in the final half minute of the game, there is not any demerit in the performance. Rather is their credit enhanced, for the Wearsiders have generally been a notoriously difficult team to overcome on their own ground.

The changes Liverpool made from the team that played at Brighton were James Gorman for Alex Raisbeck, Charles Hewitt for Robert Robinson and William Macpherson for Sam Bowyer. It was thought unwise to play Raisbeck in view of his illness during the year, so he was practically rested, but the other two men were out of the team because of injuries sustained.

A quick game.
The first half was in favour of Liverpool. They had the wind at their backs, and they gave Leigh Roose the opportunity of displaying his old and well known abilities. This he did with the greatest effect, for never a shot beat him. The second half was just the reverse, Sam Hardy had the more work to do, and at times the Liverpool defence was sorely pressed. But it held out until almost the last moment, when Arthur Bridgett,  who had moved to inside left owing to George Holley injuring himself in a collision with the goalpost, got the ball in a favourable position, and with a high drive he beat Sam Hardy. Liverpool raced away and forced a corner, but before the flag-kick could be taken the final whistle sounded.

Bridgett’s benefit.
The game was for Bridgett’s benefit, or rather he will receive a share of the proceeds – a fairly substantial share I believe. It was meet therefore that he should be the means of winning the game for his side. Arthur Bridgett has been a good man for Sunderland, and in all his years of service he has only been absent from the game eleven times. He was a “Potter” before going north, and played a few games with Stoke. He is fast and clever, and has received the highest international honours. His success was greeted in the most jubilant fashion by his fellows, for indeed the Wearsiders are still in a poor way despite their latest victory.

Critiques of the players.
In the first half John Cox took a corner kick so admirably that it went into the net, but unfortunately it had not touched a second player. Perhaps some legislator of the future will advocate that a goal so scored should count, as it is quite a feat to perform, and certainly deserves to count as much as a goal obtained from a free kick through a foul.

The Liverpool inside men could not make any impression on Roose, who kept goal in brilliant style, but they railed as a rule, because they drove the ball straight to him. The outside men, Arthur Goddard and John Cox, again proved their ability, and these two have played consistently and well throughout the season.

Joe Hewitt fed is wing men well, but he does not seem to trap the ball and shoot with that avidity that distinguished him two seasons ago. James Gorman was the best of the half-backs, although he balloons the ball over much in putting it to his forwards. Maurice Parry and James Bradley were fairly good, and the former was not to blame this time because Bridgett got away, but both men have played with greater fire. For the defence one can only find the greatest praise. Sam Hardy, Alf West and Percy Saul are a really great trio, and they did all that lay in their power to avert defeat.

Sunderland stripes.
Sunderland had some consolation for their stripes. They won, luckily an impartial observer would have said, for it was a chance shot that scored the goal and the previous exchanges had been about equal. L.R. Roose is still a per-eminent goalkeeper, although to my mind he makes things brilliant by his manner William Scott or Sam Hardy would make look simple. He stopped many shots in the first half, but the Liverpool inside men made things easy by firing straight at him.

At back Harry Forster proved an excellent partner for Ernie Rhodes, who is sound and steady. In fact the defence on both sides left little to be desired. The best half back on the Sunderland side was Harry Low, although Thomas Tait supported him gallantly. English McConnell has done better, and he often had to give way to Arthur Goddard.

Forward Bridgett, the beneficiary, was the star, but all the men did well except Angus McIntosh at centre, who was weak. Holley was unfortunately hurt, and this militated against his play. The game was fought in a friendly spirit, and few hope that the annual encounters between these celebrated clubs will be interrupted.

Woolwich Arsenal – visitors.
Our boys must rouse themselves against the Reds from Woolwich Arsenal. They are smarting under defeat at home, and must not take revenge from us. Last season’s game was a great one. May this year’s be equally so.

The Cup-Tie.
I will have more to say about the Cup-tie with Newcastle next week. But I say here that I would not be surprised if Liverpool won at St. James’s Park. The match at Anfield when Newcastle win is as much a criterion as that at St. James’s Park when Manchester United beat the Novocastrians by 6-1. At all events the Magpies have not won yet, and I believe there is a grim determination among the Reds to have a fair try for the honours.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: February 15, 1908)

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