October 3, 1910
On reaching the scene of the first of the contests, which all Mersey footballers look upon as the tit-bits of the season, the mind flew back to that broiling hot day three seasons ago when players were overcome by the great heat which prevailed on that September day.
Certainly the weather was not as warm on Saturday as it was on the occasion to which I have referred, but it was really too warm for football, and I am sure the players were glad when the contest was over, while the spectators, too, must have wished for a cooler atmosphere. The sun blazed down with the power of a July day, and the conditions generally were more suited to cricket.
But what did the weather matter? Was not the great football match on view?
Enthusiasts will endure much when it comes to a struggle between Everton and Liverpool. Yet another game between the pair has been decided, and once more victory has gone the way of the Blue jersey. It is indeed remarkable how Liverpool so often play second fiddle to their rivals from across the Park, and really the “Reds” supporters must be getting quite used to seeing their team beaten on their own ground when opposed to Everton.
Saturday’s win was the fourth in succession obtained by the “Blues” on the Anfield enclosure, and when we remember that not since 1898 have the “Reds” had the satisfaction of winning at home – though they have beaten Everton at the Park twice since then – the series of defeats are astonishing
It has been said that eleven players of any description wearing blue jerseys could beat the Anfield brigade nine times out of ten, and certainly it is curious to see one club having such a run of triumphs. However, there could be no question about the best team winning on Saturday. Even the most biased Anfielder will agree that the better side won on the day’s play, as Liverpool never seemed to settle down to really concerted action, their efforts being very ragged compared with those of Everton.
As I anticipated, the Goodison defence proved too big an obstacle for the Livers to clear, and with the halves failing to feed their forwards, and with at least one back showing tendency to weakness, the Reds could not hope to cope with the dash of the visiting forwards, who were backed up by a brilliant trio of half backs.
We have seen some fine contests between the sides in recent seasons, and although Saturday’s encounter could not be compared in point of attractiveness with the brilliant game seen at Goodison Park last October, still it was an interesting struggle, in which there were several thrilling episodes which stirred the onlookers to a pitch of great enthusiasm. There were many smart bits of play on both sides, and the vast assembly did not forget to applaud unstintingly when the players accomplished anything of a meritorious character.
We saw many forward dashes which aroused excitement, whilst the defenders on either side, on more than one occasion, claimed plaudits of a thunderous nature. Longworth’s pluck especially appealed to the crowd, and one will ever remember the hurricane of cheers which greeted that brilliant effort of his when he saved what looked like being a certain goal, with Beeby yards out of his position. Longworth was one of the successes of the afternoon, and but for his valiant efforts I fancy the Blues would have won by a bigger margin.
During the afternoon I reckon he saved the Liverpool goal from downfall on at least two occasions. Once in the first half – when Chorlton missed his kick and left Freeman with only Beeby to beat – Longworth put in a great effort and kicked the ball away from the Everton centre’s toe at the critical moment, and the other occasion I have mentioned.
Yes, the ex-Leyton back played a really fine game, and, together with Beeby and Peake, kept the score down.
Liverpool rarely seemed to have any definite plan of campaign in view, the forwards being spasmodic in their advances, and were rarely dangerous, despite the fact that they put on a considerable amount of pressure during the course of the game. Finishing power was lacking. Indeed, to my mind, Goddard and Brough were the only players of the line who made any impression on the rocklike defence of the “Blues.”
The halves, too, as a line, did not create a favourable impression. McConnell never being able to cope with the advances of Gourlay and Berry, whilst Robinson, although working hard as usual, did not play up to his form. In the centre Peake was a glutton for work. He was really a fine centre half, and many of his touches quite nonplussed Freeman and the inside men. He was undoubtedly one of the outstanding figures on the losers’ side, but he lacked support. I learn that it was Pake who diverted the Everton captain’s header into the net, not Longworth; but it was one of those accidents which are inseparable from the game of football.
When Makepeace headed in, the ball dropped on the back of Peake’s head, so that he could not be blamed. The sun was blazing in his eyes, and he could not see the ball. It might be called a lucky sort of goa, but at the same time the “Blues” were pressing severely at the time, and on the whole the Evertonians fully deserved their success.
It might be said that the respective forward lines were not up to the standard required – and certainly there were failures in both lines – but where Liverpool compared unfavourable was in the finishing work. Once or twice they got really dangerous only for weak shots to be sent in to Scott, who easily brought about a clearance. Once, for instance, Brough got hrough, but he fired in tamely to Scott. Liverpool’s nearest approach to scoring was when Goddard centred beautifully to Parkinson, and the centre headed the ball barely wide of the post. Scott was so well covered by his backs that he was not troubled to any great extent, whilst on the other end Beeby was kept on the qui vive.
Everton started the game in such a way as to suggest an easy victory, Berry slinging across centres of a very tempting character, and really the inside men might have made better use of the opportunities presented. Sandy Young made no mistake with that first shot of his, but there were other occasions on which Freeman and Young might have made better use of the centres which the amateur sent in.
After the first quarter of an hour Liverpool improved, but they never surmounted the defence. It must not be forgotten that the sun handicapped the “Reds” considerably in the first portion. In the second half the “Blues” were faced with a glaring sun, and although they were pressed considerably the defence held out in fine style.
The most exciting incident of the second portion was that fine effort of Longworth’s. It happened in this way. Freeman dashed down the centre and near goal, he was charged off the ball. Beeby came out and picked the ball up, but Freeman was after him and hustled the Liverpool keeper in such a way that he had to part with the ball, which dropped at the feet of Arthur Berry near the touchline. The amateur, with excellent judgment, at once took a shot at goal. The ball went direct towards its billet, and it seemed odds on the leather finding the netted haven. But in the meantime Longworth, taking the situation at once, had dashed back into goal, and he was just in time to meet the ball with his head.
Many backs would have become flurried and handled the ball under similar circumstances and Longworth’s brilliant save brought forth cheers which have seldom been eclipsed on the Anfield ground. It was “the” save of the afternoon. On Saturday’s form Longworth I a real capture.
Now, what of the winning side? To my mind the “Blues” were better balanced than the “Reds,” and seemed to work more smartly together, the half backs always being in positon to
feed their forwards as well as breaking up the advances of the home front line. Harris, R. Young, and Makepeace formed a splendid middle line, and to their efforts Everton largely owe their success. The Everton captain gave us a sample of his great ability
Whilst Harris was ever in the picture (the Irishman once had an unenviable experience), and he never allowed Macdonald and Gilligan to get going. Robert Young, too, improved further, and his breaking up methods were of great service to his side.
Maconnachie was as cool and calculating as ever. He never turned a hair, and was one of the most conspicuous figures on the field. He once got the better of the Liverpool captain in a style which pleased the Everton onlookers. Balmer, too, kicked and tackled with great resolution, and Scott accomplished what little he had to do with his usual ability.
Coming to the forward line, I must say that Berry was the bright particular star. The amateur ran and centred in most accomplished style, and his general ability pleased everyone. On such form Everton need look no further for an outside right.
His partner, Gourlay, also played in a tricky, confident mood and he provided many openings for the winger. Freeman was not seen to advantage, and apart from the goal Sandy Young did not play his partner as one would wish. Owing to this failure the left wing was not as prominent as the right.
I have already referred to the Liverpool line. Parkinson was seldom in the picture, and Gilligan and Macdonald did not prove equal to the occasion. Chorlton was at times uncertain, and it was well for Liverpool that Longworth was at his best. It might be said that he roamed a bit, but this “roaming” saved more than one goal, as he turned up at the right place at the right moment. Beeby could not be blamed for the defeat. McConnell was not a success against the Everton right wing, and I thought he allowed Berry too much scope.
Mr. Watson’s men have yet to win at home, and we are in the second month of the season. All four points to the “Reds” have been gained on foreign soil – truly a curious state of affairs. I trust their efforts will be rewarded later, but the right combination to win matches has not yet been hit upon.
If the Livers lost, the club had the satisfaction of netting about £1,300, there being 41,000 people present.
(Source: Evening Express: October 3, 1910)