January 24, 1910
Judged by their respective positions in the League table when they met at Ewood Park on Saturday – they had the same number of points from equal matches played – Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool seem to be the only clubs in Lancashire with any great prospect of carrying off the championship, and it would appear that Liverpool’s prospects are now the most roseate, for, in addition to their draw at Ewood Park, they beat the Rovers at Liverpool on the second Saturday of the season, so that they may reasonably lay claim to the title of Lancashire champions. Moreover, have they not proved it by the Lancashire League table we recently published?
But I am afraid that both teams will have to show considerable improvements on the form they displayed on Saturday to become the leaders of the competition. There was, of course, just reason for the players holding themselves in, as it were, for though the ground was in excellent condition, it was quite hard enough to become dangerous, and indeed there was at one time an impression that Chapman had broken a limb consequent on a heavy fall, but happily it was not so, though he was not the same man afterwards. Each side scored their goal whilst playing towards the Darwen end, and each point was obtained after half an hour’s play in the half, and, moreover, neither goal justified any great amount of enthusiasm.
Liverpool scored first, and they maintained the lead until thirteen minutes from the end, much to do the disappointment of the spectators, who saw their side having all the play and yet looking likely to retire beaten. Liverpool’s goal was the product of some smart work on the left-wing, Macdonald, the initiator, passing to Orr who put the ball across goal. Stewart ran in and just caught the ball with his left foot. He never for a moment thought he was going to score, judged from his attitude after kicking the ball, and certainly it seemed to be going wide of the goal. The goal-post, however, seemed to get in the way, and the ball turned through the goal to the astonishment of Hardy (correct should be Ashcroft).
Rovers’ failing powers.
There was a further coincidence in the scoring of the goals. The equaliser came from good work on the home left-wing, and Aitkenhead passed over to the right. In a somewhat similar manner Garbutt, who was then playing inside-right like the scorer on the other side, got the ball and beat Ashcroft (should be Hardy), thus securing a division of the points.
I have seen the Rovers in their last two home League matches, and must confess to a disappointment. Bob Crompton has not been missed except for his general-ship, perhaps, but Bill “Tinker” Davies, who is in a nursing home, is badly wanted to lead the attack.
The defence of the Rovers is admirable, but the forwards are lagging, and, what was worse, on Saturday their usually best forward, Latheron, was injured in the first half he had to content himself with having occasional kicks at the ball from he vicinity of the touch line. Cameron dwells on the ball too much. Anthony would not take the slightest risk of injury, so was not of much use, which affected the play of Aitkenhead. The best of the lot in my opinion was Garbutt, the man who scored the goal. He was as smart as an inside man as when on the wing.
Chapman, the checker.
Every man behind was clever, and the palm must be awarded to Chapman, a second edition of Alex Raisbeck as a breaker up. Possessed of weight, speed, and youth, Chapman will surely some day secure his international cap for Scotland.
Walmsley was also very good, and Bradshaw completed a half-back line which appears to be a model of consistency. Cowell and Suttie were both steady, and Suttie was about the best back on the field. Cowell was in his best tackling form, but perhaps did not kick so powerful as usual. He and Macdonald had some rare races, and I am afraid that a rather nasty feeling grew between them. Ashcroft was not much troubled, neither was Sam Hardy for the matter of that, the custodians having a comparatively easy time.
The defence on the left side was not very reliable, Chorlton’s kicking being erratic, while James Bradley could not properly control his feet. Rogers pleased me better than he has done before this season, but he lofts the ball too much.
Harrop was an ideal centre half-back, skillful and energetic, and like Chapman, a man with a future. Robert Robinson did not worry about the hard ground, nor the position of his colleagues, but he worried the play out of the wing opposing him, and I suppose it is one way of rendering a wing ineffective. He was a bustler without Parkinson was the man of the forward line, his dashing runs being a constant source of danger, and moreover he displayed pretty football. I thought the two wing men were superior to the two inside, with McDonald a little more dangerous than Goddard, who, however, placed the ball to good advantage.
Blackburn Rovers: Jimmy Ashcroft, Arthur Cowell, Tommy Suttie, Albert Walmsley, George Chapman, Billy Bradshaw, Billy Garbutt, Eddie Latheron, Kilty Cameron, Walter Aitkenhead, Walter Anthony.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Tom Rogers, Tom Chorlton, Robert Robinson, Jim Harrop, James Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Parkinson, Ronald Orr, John Macdonald.
Referee: Mr. H. Pollitt, Manchester.
(Source: Athletic News: January 24, 1910)