Saturday, December 24 – 1910
The Liverpool team arrived in the Midland capital shorly after half-past twelve, and after a hasty lunch, put in appearance in good time at Aston Park. The changes that had been decided upon earlier in the week were further supplemented during the journey down. It was discovered that Jack Parkinson was suffering from injury to the groin, and as Sam Bowyer had travelled as reserve his services were called into requisition.
On the Villa side Freddie Miles had to stand down owing to an attack of influenza, and as Arthur Cartledge had fractured his jaw by colliding with the goalpost the veteran George was called out.
The weather during the morning was showery but as the time for starting approached it had cleared. There was every prospect of a capital attendance and a keen game. The sides turned out as follow: –
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, goal; Ephraim Longworth and Alf West, backs; Robert Robinson, Jim Harrop, and Donald Mackinlay, half backs; Arthur Goddard, James Stewart, Sam Bowyer, Ronald Orr, and Herbert Leavey, forwards.
Aston Villa: Billy George, goal; Bert Lyons and John Kearns, backs; George Tranter, Chris Buckley, George Hunter, half-backs; Charlie Wallace, Joe Walters, Harry Hampton, Joe Bache, and Horace Henshall, forwards.
Referee: R. Horrocks (Farnworth)
Goddard was fortunate in naming the coin, for he placed his men with a fair breeze at their backs. The Liverpool right were the first to get into a promising stride, but Kearns neutralised with some clever defensive work, and in a trice Hampton was busy leading his men, and the centre just failed to get the ball when a good opening was presented, and the Wallace called upon Hardy to first clear.
A moment later Harrop took the ball from the toe of Bache, and from a series of advances Orr put the finishing touch, but unfortunately, the ball went outside. Another effort from Wallace was the next item, but there was no beating the Liverpool defenders, who covered each-others in able fashion.
Some skilful manoeuvring on the part of Harrop furnished an opportunity of bringing out Leavy’s ability, who had taken a pass from Bowyer, but on closing in he put in a fast rising shot, which the keeper just managed to reach as it was about to sail under the bar.
Play so far had been exceptionally keen, and following one of several movements to the Liverpool goal, Hampton missed a grand chance when well placed by shooting high over the bar.
Then Goddard made the running, but Bowyer lost ground. For some little time afterwards the Liverpool goal was subject to severe pressure. However, the finishing touches of the Villa forwards left much to be desired, though on one occasion Bache appeared to have a clear course, but when steadying for the shot West nipped in cleverly and quite saved the situation.
However, Villa returned again and Hardy negotiated a brilliant shot from Buckley. In doing so he conceded a corner from which Bache with a beautiful drive along the ground tested the keeper who was on the spot, and again brought off a clever save. This had been an anxious period to the Anfielders, and it only went to show the cleverness of the Anfielders’ defensive department that Hardy’s charge was still unbeaten.
Then came a respite, and on Leavy taking a throw in the ball went to Bowyer, who passed to Stewart. Kearn only partially got to the ball, and Stewart retaining possession lobbed it into the goal after George had come out.
Within a couple of minutes Hampton missed an open goal after Hardy had saved from Walters. Then came a strong burst by the Liverpool forwards, the left especially being the most concerned, and it required the full efforts of the Villa defenders to cover. Harrop was playing a fine forceful game, for his anticipation of the movements of the Villa forwards were invariably correct while he passed to his own men with good judgment.
After another spell of attack the Villa left went away in a fine line, and the best Longworth could do was to concede a corner, which was ultimately cleared by Harrop. A similar concession was awarded to the Villa shortly afterwards, and Hardy was none too safe in dealing with a shot from Walters. However, he got it away at the second attempt, and then Leavy looked like romping through when George rushed out and was successful in knocking the Anfielders off the ball. Play, continued on the fast side, and the quick end-to-end play provided a feature that kept the spectators well interested.
In the many movements to the respective goals, both Buckley and Harrop stood out prominently in the initial stages, for both plied their forwards judiciously in addition to keeping a watchful eye upon the opposing pivote. In one of the Liverpool’s attacks Ronald Orr, after defeating Tranter and Lyon, finished up with a magnificent drive which was only lacking by inches.
Another stout attack ended in Leavey being pulled up in the penalty area, while Sawyer with quite a clear course failed to steady himself, and shot very very mildly. This was a great escape for the Villa, and they signalised it by swooping down upon the Liverpool defenders, but Longworth defended grandly. Play was interesting when the whistle sounded.
Half-time: Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 0.
It had been a rousing first half, during which many of the nicer points of the game had been brought out. Both sets of forwards missed chances, but on the whole the Anfielders deserved to hold the lead at the interval.
There should be fully 16,000 specctators present when the game was resumed. The Villa were the first to become aggressive, but they failed to accurately guage the strength of the wind. The ball on several occasions was driven over the Liverpool lines, and Leavy, who had showed good form in the open made off on the Anfielders’ left, and a a fine shot from Mackinlay looked like materialising when George cleared with a flying kick.
Orr next came under the ban of the referee, and the infringement led to a sharp attack on Hardy’s charge. The Liverpool defence, however, prevailed, and, as in the first portion, was conspicuous. On one occasion Wallace got in a good shot, but Hardy got the ball away under difficulties.
Liverpool then missed an easy chance and Hampton equalised for the Villa from short range. Later the Villa pressed a shot from Tranter striking the crossbar, the pressure was kept up, but nothing further was scored, and the game ended in a draw.
Final result: Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 1.
(Evening Express, 24-12-1910)