March 28, 1908
Liverpool and Preston.
Liverpool have no very pleasant recollections of Preston North End this season. Thrice they have met them, and each time the Preston men have been victorious. In the Lancashire Cup-tie at Anfield they won, in the First League match they did ditto, and now on Saturday last they won again. In each of the three games three goals have been scored, but in the two they were divided in the proportion of two to one, whereas in the last all of them went Preston way. So the North Enders have captured all four points from the Livers this season – a record for them, at all events of recent years.
Somehow the games with Preston North End have lost the character which distinguished them in the early days. The football of the Proud men is of a more vigorous character than it formerly was, and generally speaking it is not as enjoyable. There are always incidents which one does not care to see. In this latest match bad feelings seemed at one time likely to develop, but the referee, Mr. Hargreaves, called the men together, and this had the effect of calming them down somewhat.
Preston, taking the game right through, were much the better team. They were sounder in their methods than Liverpool, and their work was more sustained. In the first half they scored twice, the first coming from a penalty given for a trip on Dickie Bond. That player took it and scored easily. The second goal came from a centre by Bond to Charles Dawson. In the second half Preston netted the ball three times, but only one counted, the others being negatives for infringements. The goals which counted was obtained in the last few minutes, and the result was decisive enough to satisfy the most rabid Prestonian.
Liverpool were certainly outplayed. They did some excellent midfield work, but so futile were their efforts at scoring that Peter McBride had no anxiety whatever in goal. Only once did a score seem likely to come; a shot from Joe Hewitt requiring a big effort to save. The Livers wee short of Percy Saul and Sam Hardy, but it would be hardly fair to ascribe the defeat to their absence. Ned Doig in goal had little chance to save the shots which scored, and indeed the veteran’s sprightly appearance caused comment. Maurice Parry was absent from the half way line, but Jim Harrop was an able substitute. The forwards were the weak part of the team, as they have been before, and it is obvious that this line will require considerably strengthening for another season.
The principal feature of the North End team was the revival of Richard Bond. The dashing outside right, who in his first season attracted so much attention that he received his international cap, fell right away in the following season, owing to a knee injury. Last year he was of little use to the team, and only in the more recent matches as he seemed to regain that sparkle which made him so conspicuous a figure in his great season. It is good news for the Prestonians, and if he keeps up his present form there will be light hearts in the Lancashire town. The other forwards played up to him well, and John Carlin, the ex-Liverpudlian, making a good partner to him. Most of the Liverpool men who have gone to Preston have turned out useful. The halves were solid as usual, and gave no quarter. Harry Stringfellow has been very serviceable at centre half, in the absence of John T. Hunter. At full back Tommy Rodway played a strong game, and as indicated, McBride was all prepared in goal.
The victory of Preston establishes them in a strong position in the table, and they ought to finish in the first half dozen. Liverpool, on the contrary, have disappointed us all. After their excellent victory at Owlerton I looked for a steady upward movement, but their work has been of the flash-in-the-pan order, and is evidently as unreliable as ever. Of course the dropping out of a team of men like Hardy, Saul and Parry is bound to have its effect. Their substitutes may play well, but they cannot be expected to fit in as do the proper men. However, I still hope the Reds will have a brilliant wind-up.
Newcastle v Fulham.
It will be a great semi-final. At all events everybody will be surprised if it is not. Liverpool is to be congratulated upon having so important an event allotted to it, and the holding capacity of he Anfield ground will be fully tested if the day is fine. I think the teams will both find plenty of support. Newcastle United are always great favourites in Liverpool, but there is on the other hand that tendency to support the weaker team which will be given to Fulham. Fulham must pardon me for alluding to them as the weaker team, but they are bound to be considered so because they are Second Leaguers, and their opponents are First Leaguers. It will be Fulham’s first visit to Liverpool, and although I do not think they will be gratified with victory, yet I am sure they will put up a good game which will be remembered. The big stand at Anfield – the finest in the country – will be ready, and every seat will be taken up that is assured. What a sea of faces Spion Kop will present! There is no doubt of the enthusiasm of the followers of both teams, and it is computed that over twenty thousand strangers will be in Liverpool for the event. Our hope is that the best team may win, and that the day will enable the gate to commensurate with the occasion.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool F.C. Match Programme: March 28, 1908)