Anfield happenings (March 7, 1908)

March 7, 1908
The Livers liven up
Liverpool could not meet the Citizens from the West with any degree of confidence, for they have not beaten them in the five meetings they have had since they reached the First Division. In the Second Division days, however, the Livers sustained three points at the expense of the Westerners. The day was not by any means an ideal football day. The morning was gloomy and stormy, and although the rain and sleet held off, the cold remained – consequently the game was not witnessed by as many people as it would have been had the weather been more genial. The big stand, however, has proved a god-send to the multitude, and not by those who sit in are benefited, but also those who stand in front of it, for it is a rare shelter from the northern blasts. By the way, Tom Watson will at least be comfortably ensconced in a pleasant office when the stand is finally complete.

The Liverpool ground is one of the best drained in the country, yet down the middle it was a veritable quagmire. One got a fair idea from its condition as to the state of the sounds which have not the advantages of Anfield. There was a nasty wind blowing when Joe Hewitt kicked off. Both team were short of a brilliant player, Sam Hardy being away from Liverpool, and Billy Wedlock from Bristol, and each was engaged on League duty at Birmingham. Ned Doig – the veteran – took the place of Hardy, and Arthur Spear displaced the Wedlock. From the outset a good game was promised, and the joy and anticipations were more than fulfilled.

The game.
Liverpool had the better of the first half, and fully deserved the lead of two goals they held. In fact had this been increased they would not have had more than their share. The first goal came through a centre from the foot of John Cox. He fired from an acute angle, and the ball beat Albert Lewis. Apparently it crossed the line, but Joe Hewitt made assurance doubly sure. Cox also had a share in the second goal. He shot hard, and Lewis turned the ball round the post, but it must have hurt his hand when he did so. The ensuing corner was beautifully placed, and James Bradley had no difficulty in putting the ball into the net.

The Bristolians had several bursts to the other end, but, taking the half throughout, they were well held, and the forwards never got the measure of the opposing half-backs. The second half scoring was even, but again the home side were the superior eleven. In fact they deserved more than the one goal, and nought but good luck saved Lewis from defeat more frequently. Sam Gilligan scored the Bristol goal from a centre by Fred Staniforth. He was standing unmarked at the moment, and made excellent use of his opportunity.

The players.
The Liverpool players did manfully, and the three most conspicuous players om the field – to my mind, at all events – were Alf West, Maurice Parry and John Cox. Alfred West has week by week been improving, and I am only expressing the feeling of thousands when I say that I hope he has seen the last of his troubles, and that all traces of his injury have passed away. Wes is a stylish and most attractive back. He tackles and kicks with such ease and judgment that it is a pleasure to observe him, and he is now promising to recompense the Liverpool team for all the care they have taken of him.

Since his return to the first team Parry has also come on by leaps and bounds, and on some of his form he is the best right half in England – Ben Warren thrown in. The Welshman is one of the unconscious comedians of the football field, and I hope he has now determined to settle down with Liverpool for the remainder of his career – and that ought to mean many years for Parry. Although he has played so long, is still in his prime.

Cox is my other selection. He tore his pants – what there is of them – and he got plenty of the mud, but he played rare football. His runs were delightful, and his shooting great. If he did not score himself it was because the luck was against him. I am certain of this that were he playing in the favoured zone he would be England’s outside left.

It must not be thought that others played badly. All did their share, although William Macpherson could not act well in the mud, while Robert Robinson was somewhat slow. Ned Doig showed that he is still a fine goalkeeper, Percy Saul was a good partner to West, and Alex Raisbeck and James Bradley both worthily held up the traditions of the Liverpool half-way line. In fact, the trio are playing so strongly that they are now likely to proceed from success to success.

Forward, Arthur Goddard and Joe Hewitt assisted Cox as the chief attackers, and the second at centre forwards is continually figuring as a scorist. In fact, with the exception of inside men, Liverpool have a very powerful team.

The Westerners.
One cannot say a great deal about the Bristolians. Lewis in goal was slow, but he was suffering from injury, and only turned out under pressure. He had no chance with the shots that scored, but he was fortunate in saving others. Joe Cottle was the better back, and Pat Hanlin was decidedly the best half-back. Spear could not hold Hewitt at all. Forward, Staniforth was the most conspicuous. Willie Maxwell was hardly seen, and the only good thing Gilligan did was to score the goal. The game was enjoyable, and there were few fouls to be recorded against either side.

Goal-getters for Liverpool.
Joe Hewitt 16, Robert Robinson 6, Jack Parkinson 5, Charles Hewitt 5, Arthur Goddard 5, James Bradley 3, Harry Fitzpatrick 2, William Macpherson 2, Alex Raisbeck 1, John Cox 1, Percy Saul 1. Total 42.
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, Charles Hewitt 1, James Bradley 1. Total 4.
Charles Hewitt 3, Mike Griffin 1, Archie Gray (Woolwich Arsenal) 1. Total 5.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool F.C. Match Programme: March 7, 1908)


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