January 22, 1912
The great encounter between Everton and Liverpool triumphed over weather conditions of the severest kind, and a large crowd assembled at Anfield to admire and applaud the skill of the respective champions. Despite the recent visitation of a heavy snowfall, the playing pitch was blameless, and the quality of the game probably equal to the best traditions of these historic encounters.
Of late Parkinson has been showing brilliant form, and it was therefore a sort of mild calamity that the executive of his club had no player of equal merit to deputise for him on Saturday. Gilligan filled the breach, but he was not up to concert-pitch and before the finish he was limping rather badly. The Anfield attack, when led by Parkinson is usually strongest in the centre, but on Saturday this was where the chief weakness lay.
Peake is unquestionably a centre-half of character, but Harrop, in the opinion of many, is the brainiest pivot in the country, and his absence must be regarded as another setback for the Reds, who have never had to face’ a cleverer Everton combination than the present one. If ever a game looked a real good thing on paper for one team, this did for Everton despite the fact that the Anfielders had scored six success victories.
Liverpool’s supporters, of course would not admit any superiority of the Blues, and in the earlier stages of the game their optimism seemed justified. The game opened before 35,000 spectators, and in the earlier stages the Blues on one occasion had a great chance of scoring. Harris had checked an ambitious Anfield venture, and transferred the sphere across the ground to Davidson who gave Robinson the slip and dribbled the ball swiftly down to the flag, from whence he muddled accurately. If the Everton inside trio, had made a dash for it, nothing could have saved Hardy. As it was however, the Blues hung five strangely, despite the fact that Pursell had failed in an attempt to head off the threatening projectile so ultimately the chances fizzled out in gloriously.
Browell’s dashing goal.
During the first half the game seemed wonderfully restrained, and devoid of that fierce keenness’ which has usually been characteristic of Everton and Liverpool encounters. Both sides seemed intent on doing things selfishly and working out their plans with studied exactitude. Much of the play resembled a game of draughts, so deliberative were the methods employed. Operations were, however, by no means tedious, but they were inclined to be over dine in portions of cleverness and not inefficiently vimish and incisive.
The defence on both sides was really superb, but the Everton attack showed better cohesion, and more directness of purpose that the Anfield line. Uren forced the pace chiefly for his side and Harris found the dexterous and speedy winger very difficult to control. Many beautiful centre came from the left wing, but there was no battering ram like Parkinson to harass the defence with cohesion and irresistible assurance.
At the end of half an hour Hardy had been well tested at all points, but he slaved off disaster with all his old skill. He was to fall, however, not as the result of force bombardment of the assaults of overwhelming odds but in one of those long swift like thrusts which are Browell’s specialise and extremely deadly in the quickness of their delivery. In the first place Davidson received in Anfield territory and reached the corner flag without a check. His centre might have been made on a billiard table, for the ball pursued the course to deliberately and evenly that Hardy could easily have some forth and cleared. What the Anfield custodian intended to do may never be known, but what Browell did proves once more how he decides and acts almost simultabequaly. The Everton centre had a few yards to cover, but he seemed to fly over the ground quicker than the eye could follow, and the ball was in the net almost before the crowd could anticipate the probabilities of the position.
Everton increase their lead.
No further scoring took place up to the interval. Everton had not asserted themselves quite as expected, but the Reds’ defence was really grand, nevertheless there was no question as to the superiority of the Blues for in spite of individual excellence, the Anfielders were nothing like so well balanced and mechanical in their ventures as the visitors. Bovill had played well without proving dangerous. Stuart’s methods were admired by many for their grace and cleverness, but he was not an effective force. Goddard is still a graceful winger, but he does not get the weight into his work as of yore. Lowe, has never played better, and in him the club boasts a powerful and effective half-back. Peake did well against Browell who was never allowed much latitude.
The game was resumed in spirited fashion, and after about six minutes had elapsed Jefferis electrified the crowd with a wonderful solo effort which was distinctly reminiscent of Freeman’s palmiest efforts. It was practically an individual effort, for Jefferis dribbled the ball nearly half the length of the field, craftily eluding and deluding his opponents en-route. Hardy should certainly have ventured out, as he had failed to do against Browell. Custodian, however, see the position differently to spectators, and act accordingly. Jefferis very deliberately reserved his final effort until he was almost, in the goalmouth, when he completed a really glorious effort by calmly putting the ball beyond. Hardy’s ken. The amazing goal seemed to assure the Blues of easy victory, but it was not to be.
“Gillie” gets a goal.
There is frequently a tendency for a team to slacken their efforts when they have quite proved their superiority. Sometimes too, and strange it is a team cannot easily get back into their stride after falling out of it. Anyway, there came about a lapse in the Everton rear, which allowed Gilligan, Stuart, and Bovill to make a huge breach and get through together. It fell to Gilligan to put the finishing touch successfully on this swiftly executed intrusion. The Anfielders’ success imparted the necessary spice to the game, and for some time the dash was distinctly hot. The Reds fought fiercely to get on even terms, and their stamina developed correspondingly. It was all to no purpose however, for the Blues met the determined onslaught of their hosts with a calmness and inflexibility, which soon chilled the ardour of the Anfielders.
Beare was all through the game venturesome and intrepid, though far too vigorously opposed by Pursell. The stout-hearted Blackpool youth received his due reward three minutes from the close, when a spirited onslaught carried out by Makepeace brought about the downfall of the Anfield citadel for the third time. Everton thus gained a decisive victory by three goals to one.
Liverpool: Sam Hardy, Ephraim Longworth, Robert Pursell, Robert Robinson, Ernest Peake, Harry Lowe, Arthur Goddard, John Bovill, Sam Gilligan, William Stuart, Harold Uren.
Everton: William Scott, William Stevenson, Jock Maconnachie, Val Harris, Tom Fleetwood, Harry Makepeace, George Beare, Frank Jefferis, Tommy Browell, Frank Bradshaw, William Davidson.
Referee: J. Mason.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: January 22, 1912)