Saturday, April 11 – 1908
Liverpool lose to the Villa
When the Villa visited Anfield on the first Saturday in September they were soundly beaten by five goals to love. Everything went Liverpool’s way that day, and it seemed as if they had jumped into a winning stride. They did not afterwards realise expectations, but this was no satisfaction to the Villans. However, the latter waited upon events, and on Saturday last their turn arrived. They met the Livers in the return match, and won by 5-1, thus giving the Reds practically a Roland for an Oliver. It was not palatable for Liverpool, who can still do with points in order to finish the season in a respectable position.
Liverpool were short of Sam Hardy and Maurice Parry. Hardy was of course at Hampden Park, playing for his country and the veteran Ned Doig substituted him. Jim Harrop appeared at half back, and forward, Ronald Orr, was introduced at inside left. The Villa were practically at full strength. The severity of the defeat was to some extent mitigated by the injury which befell Percy Saul. He tackled Charlie Wallace awkwardly, and injured himself so that he had to leave the field. He came back, but was of little use, and finally retired. The absence of so powerful a defender naturally disorganised the Liverpool team, and Harry Hampton and Joe Bache took advantage of this in the second half.
During the first half the Villa scored once, through Hampton, Doig being beaten after having saved from Wallace. Early after crossing over Joe Hewitt started a movement which Orr crowned with success – equalising the score. But then the Villa forwards came out strongly, and Bache scored thrice, Hampton being responsible for the other of the four goals obtained in the second half. It was not altogether a satisfactory game for the spectators, owing to the visitors playing the one back game, the referee’s whistle constantly being heard. It always seems strange that players of first class calibre should not be able to adapt themselves better to the one-back game – especially since the alteration in the law which renders it impossible for a man to be offside in his own half.
I can imagine the satisfaction of the Villans at the close of play. They were greatly disgusted with themselves when at Anfield. Doubtless, however, they would have wished to beat a full team. The defence were not hardly tried, for the halfway line, in which James Logan was conspicuous, kept a tight rein upon the Liverpool forwards. Hampton is coming back to his original form and he and Bache were right on the target. Peter Kyle made an excellent partner for Wallace, who was the outstanding forward, his centres being splendidly placed. At one time there was real anxiety in Birmingham as to the fate of Aston Villa, but they are all right now, and their team should make a much braver show next season than they have been guilty of this. They are a judicious blend, and the halves and finding the right method of keeping their forwards going.
I am afraid Liverpool will have to find another substitute for Hardy. Doig does many clever things, but he has developed a habit of stopping shots and putting them to the feet of an oncoming forward. He has had a long innings, and must always be reckoned as one of the great goalkeepers. Alf West had a big burden placed on him, for only Alex Raisbeck of the halves topped his form. Forward much curiosity was naturally taken in the first appearance of Orr. He scored a goal, and gave John Cox some nice passes, but he was obviously a stranger, and it would be unfair to him to express even an opinion. They lacked vim, require to put more ginger into their work than they displayed against the Villa. We are still hoping for better things.
Better things at Blackburn.
The better things materialised at Ewood Park on Monday, when Liverpool handsomely beat the Rovers by 3-1. There were four changes from the team beaten at Birmingham, Hardy being in goal, Tom Rogers at full back, Parry in the half way line, and William Macpherson forward for Robert Robinson. The Rovers must also be counted as at full strength, for Bob Crompton was at full back, and he is certainly the main tower of defence in the Rovers’ ranks.
Blackburn scored first through Arnie Whittaker, but Orr equalised, and then Joe Hewitt put Liverpool ahead. In the second half only one goal was scored, and that by Liverpool, Cox doing the needful. The victory is a good one, for Liverpool, but it places the Rovers once again in jeopardy. Blackburn have only been beaten twice on their own ground this season.
Liverpool fully deserved their victory. They were smarter on the ball than the Rovers, and the forwards gave the Rovers’ defence a great putting up. Ronald Orr again showed his worth by scoring a goal, and another consistent scorer is what Liverpool mostly require. He plays clever football, and as such is a pleasure to watch. Liverpool spectators will look forward with some eagerness to his appearance at Anfield. Hewitt in the centre was in excellent form, and both Cox and Arthur Goddard were too fast for their opponents. Hardy made one or two fine saves in the first half, and he was well covered by his backs.
For the Rovers the backs defender stubbornly, but the halves were not classic, and the forwards lacked experience. Ellis Crompton wants time before he will be in the first rank of centre forwards, and little Whittaker was the most enterprising of the lot.
Goal-getters for Liverpool.
League: Joe Hewitt 19, Robert Robinson 9, Jack Parkinson 6, Charles Hewitt 6, William Macpherson 5, Arthur Goddard 5, James Bradley 3, John Cox 3, Ronald Orr 2, Harry Fitzpatrick 2, Alex Raisbeck 2, Percy Saul 1. Total 63.
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.
Friendly: Charles Hewitt 3, Mike Griffin 1, Archie Gray (Woolwich Arsenal) 1. Total 5.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool match programme, 11-04-1908)