Anfield Happenings (February 29, 1908)

February 29, 1908
Liverpool undone.
The hopes and the fears of the supporters of Liverpool are now set at rest for this season at all events, and Liverpool have no further interest in the Cup, unless, as I was informed, one of the semi-finals will take place on the Anfield Road ground.

The Livers went North, and Newcastle United proved too strong for them, winning comfortably at the finish by 3-1. The Northerners proved themselves the better team inasmuch as they took the liberty of scoring three goals, while Liverpool could only register one. We have to console ourselves that our men fought a good fight before the largest gathering of the day, and at all events the club will share in a very respective gate.

The war of the elements.
Even that would in all likelihood would have been bettered but for the elements, which in Newcastle a in Liverpool, were at their worst. The weather indeed was of the vilest description, and the number of people who turned out was indeed remarkable under the circumstances.

The third round of the English Cup in 1908 will be for ever remembered as one fought in most atrocious weather with a gale raging which made good football an impossibility. And yet curiously enough it affected the scientific Novocastrians to a much less extent that the lively Livers.

In the first half Liverpool had chances of making themselves secure. Strangely enough the two forwards who were most trusted by the public – John Cox and Arthur Goddard – were thrown right off their game, and could do little that was right, but only one goal was scored, and it was Percy Saul who headed it past Jimmy Lawrence. For the most part the shot put in by the Reds went wide of their mark. Those which did go correctly were easily dealt with by the Newcastle goalkeeper, and the defence of the Magpies was never put to that strain that one anticipated. The Livers indeed were but feeble imitators of the Reds of the week before.

Soon over.
It was early apparent in the second half that it was only a question of time unless the Reds vastly improved. That improvement was not forthcoming, and the defence was gradually worn down until it was almost impotent. Bill Appleyard opened the scoring with a shot that one imagines Sam Hardy might have saved, although the incident was so quickly over that even an international custodian might be forgiven for not doing so. Finlay Speedie put the homesters ahead, and Jock Rutherford clinched matters by scoring a third.

And so Liverpool passed out of the third round by 1-3. Newcastle are now favourites for the Cup. It will be curious if the history of the past two seasons repeats itself, and the conqueror of Liverpool wins the Cup. The coincidences goes even further, for two years ago Everton beat the Reds in the semi-final; last year The Wednesday won the fourth round; this season the defeat has taken place in the third round.

The players.
It is hardly fair to blame the Liverpool defence. As I said before, the team, after winning the toss, should have made itself secure from defeat in the first half. But the forwards never acted properly, and the assistance of the wind was never well utilised. Wild kicking and pot shots are never of much advantage.

There must be method about the attack, and this Liverpool lacked. Joe Hewitt tried hard to infuse some into it, but he was wretchedly supported, and not one of the line came up to anticipations. They were hardly mediocre.

Of the halves Maurice Parry was the most successful, for Alex Raisbeck was often erratic, and again James Bradley failed to hold Rutherford. But the defence was by no means perfect, even Hardy sharing in the general lack of confidence. Saul has not been brilliant of late, and although he tried desperately hard I fancy he is feeling the strain. Alf West was the better of the backs.

The magpies.
There was an air of confidence about the Magpies which reassured their supporters, although a goal down. Colin Veitch was the brain of the team, and this classic player once again put up a great game against Liverpool. There was evidently not much truth in the reports about the breakdown in George Wilson’s health, for had he not been fit he could hardly have turned out on such a dreadful day. But he was the weakest forward, and Parry gave him little scope.

Bill Appleyard ploughed his way through the mud in characteristic fashion, and his equalizing goal paved the way to victory. Billy McCracken and Dick Pudan did well at full back, but they were never harried to the extent they should have been, and Lawrence had quite a soft time. But Rutherford again was a master, and Veitch, from centre half, as well as Jimmy Howie, at inside right, plied him most judiciously.

The team differed in one respect from that which defeated the Livers at Anfield. Howie displacing Alex “Sandy” Higgins. Liverpool will have to save up their revenge for another season, unless they make up their minds to take two League points from the Northeners on their next visit to the locality.

Goal-getters for Liverpool.
League: Joe Hewitt 14, Robert Robinson 6, Jack Parkinson 5, Charles Hewitt 5, Arthur Goddard 5, Harry Fitzpatrick 2, William Macpherson 2, James Bradley 2, Alex Raisbeck 1, John Cox 1, Percy Saul 1. Total 44.
English Cup Ties: James Bradley 3, John Cox 3, James Gorman 1, Jack Parkinson 1, Percy Saul 1. Total 9.
Lancashire Cup ties: Robert Robinson 2, Joe Hewitt 1, James Bradley 1. Total 4.
Friendly: Charles Hewitt 3, Mike Griffin 1, Archie Gray (Woolwich Arsenal) 1. Total 5.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: February 29, 1908)


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