The sprightly Albion

September 30, 1912
It would be difficult to name a more sprightly and vivacious side than West Bromwich Albion. There was a marked difference in physique between the teams which were in opposition at the Hawthorns, Liverpool were strong and by no means lacking in dash, but they were never so quick on the ball, so agile in running, or so subtle in their movements as the home side.

The Albion are a clever team; they win their game by pure science, and in local opinion Pennington, Buck, and McNeal are quite supreme in their respective positions. It was inspiring to watch the way in which the three men named both obtained the ball and retained it when they had once wrested it from their rivals.

The blustering day did not improve the standard of play, but it could not be said that it spoiled the game, for some highly interesting football was seen. Liverpool made various changes in the hope of improvement. Miller took the place of Gracie, the centre-forward, and Metcalf, from Newcastle, made his first appearance, figuring at inside left. In the back division Crawford replaced Pursell.

There was a fine crowd of over 20,000.

The Albion gained a manifest advantage when they won the toss, for the wind blew practically straight down the ground. They seem to be making a name for getting off the mark quickly, as within three minutes they had the ball into the net. Buck obtained possession in midfield and placed the ball quickly forward to Pailor, who took it on the run and scored with a low drive.

A fine outlook.
When only thirteen minutes of the ninety had been consumed there was a fine piece of play between Jephcott and Bowser, which resulted in Bowser centring, and Shearman, to whom the ball went, half centred and half shot. The wind caught the ball, twisted it against the inside of the post, and it went into the net.

This looked like to winning advantage, but a bad mistake by Smith, who missed his kick completely, let in the whole Liverpool forward line, and Miller, controlling the ball smartly, beat Pearson with a very judicious shot.

However, in the second half, McNeal pounced on the ball, drove it through at mass of players, and Campbell was beaten for the third time, and so the Albion won by three goals to one.

Jephcott was not quite so prominent as usual for a time, but he did clever work towards the close. Pailor held his wings together nicely, and Wright was in good trim, while Bowser dribbled cleanly, but was often at fault with his passes. The forwards were well together, and the half-backs were a most talented set, Waterhouse almost holding his own with such great artists as Buck and McNeal.

A tribute to Buck.
The way Buck dominates the centre of the field is wonderful, and there is no centre-half today who can pass to his forwards with the consummate judgment he shows. McNeal was as near perfect as possible. Pennington and Smith were a great power, and Pearson is always safe.

As for Liverpool, much that they did was clever, but they were continually having their passes intercepted by the ubiquitous Albion half-backs and backs.

Goddard played well, and is still a good footballer, while Lacey was equal to any member of the forward quintette. Metcalf controlled the ball well. He and Miller were handy both at initiating and continuing an attack, and the forwards won plenty of applause. Nor was there any weakness in the half-back line, except that the men struck one as being a trifle deliberate.

Ferguson was always in the fray, and did some excellent tackling, but kicked too often to the opposing backs. Lowe was keen, and supported Goddard well, and Mackinlay often got in Jephcott’s way, Longworth gave a display well worthy of his great reputation, and he had good aid from Crawford, while Campbell made his save convincingly.

West Bromwich Albion: Hubert Pearson, Joe Smith, Jesse Pennington, Frank Waterhouse, Fred Buck, Bobby McNeal, Claude Jephcott, Sid Bowser, Bob Pailor, Henry Wright, Ben Shearman.
Liverpool: Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Robert Crawford, Harry Lowe, Bob Ferguson, Donald Mackinlay, Arthur Goddard, Jack Tosswill, Tom Miller, Arthur Metcalf, William Lacey.
Referee: T. Garner (Barnsley).
(Athletic News, 30-09-1912)


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