A bolt from the Blues

October 7, 1912
Once upon a time the Liverpool League eleven defeated their Everton rivals at Anfield. To be exact, the event happened on January 21, 1899. Never since have they been guilty of such conduct, and there are some people who aver that the mere sight of a blue jersey is sufficient to make the Liverpool team ready victims to the opposition. On five occasions during this period a drawn game has resulted, and the Anfielders have had to rest content with these crumbs of comfort, what time their rivals have been revelling at the feast.

Everton were compelled to make two alterations in their originally selected eleven, for Jock Maconnachie and Frank Jefferis were suffering from injuries. Their places were respectively filled by Holbem and Gault, and it stands to the infinite credit of the pair that the men for whom they deputised were not missed. I remember the ex-Wednesday full back playing a fine game against Liverpool at Goodison Park soon after he joined Everton, and prior to the operation on his knee. Since his return to active warfare Holbem has not given such a sterling display as he accomplished at Anfield in the match last Saturday. At inside right, Gault showed that the good reports of him in the Reserve team were well founded, and these two latest selections had much to do with Everton’s triumph. One scored a goal, and the other prevented points from being debited against his side.

The thin red line.
Although Everton prevailed by two clear goals there was not this difference of general ability between the contending elevens. Liverpool’s great weakness was in applying the finishing touches to their work. Their forwards, in midfield, were quite equal to the opposing five, and much of their play was of good quality. The two wings exhibited commendable combination, and the purposeful Parkinson was ably plied with gliding passes down the centre of the field of the sort that admirably suit his style. As a natural consequence many openings were created that ought to have provided at least a couple of goals; either this, or the custodian should have been tested to the utmost. Even admitting that they were unfortunate, when first Parkinson and the Goddard crashed the ball against the woodwork of the goal just prior to the interval, there instances – in which Stewart was the chief culprit – when chances were missed with the custodian only to beat. Everton experienced the same bad luck when Beare and Makepeace sent in stinging shots that left their mark on the crossbar; but they afterwards successfully utilised a couple of opportunities, and thereby deserved to win.

Yet at one stage of the proceedings Liverpool seemed like averting defeat, when an unlooked for incident happened which effectually damped their ardour and destroyed all their hopes. Everton’s lead of a goal at the interval was being seriously challenged by the home team in the second half. Again and again did they return to the attack keenly and confidently, when suddenly the ball was lobbed towards, Pursell misjudged the bouncing ball, which went over his head, and before he could recover Gault had put the ball into the net. Those who saw the Manchester City match a fortnight previously witnessed an exactly similar occurrence, which ended in an equally disastrous fashion to Liverpool.

Parkinson made a welcome reappearance at centre-forward, and his dashes were with difficulty checked. Lacey was mostly in evidence in the second half, and the forward line as a body fared well up to a point. They failed when it came to a question of shooting. Of the half-backs, Ferguson showed to most advantage; as usual, his best effective work was in defence, but there was more fire in his attack than I have seen him exhibit since coming to Anfield. Lowe shaped well on the right wing, but Mackinlay did not realise expectations, and would do well to confine his attentions to the ball. Further behind, Longworth defended splendidly, tackling and kicking with good judgment, but Pursell was inconsistent.

Men in blue.
The Everton forwards did not do themselves justice as a body, for they were not a harmonious line, and intermingled many faulty moves amongst their successful ones. Beare and Gault constituted the most dangerous wing on the field; the inside man was exceedingly nippy when on the ball, and he passed to the extremity of the line and also to Browell with excellent precision. His partner was responsible for some delightful runs and centres, and the only regrettable incident of the match was when he and Miller got at loggerheads.

Browell furnished some delightful passes to his wings, but in the second half he was by no means prominent. Bradshaw did not reach his usual standard of ability, several of his passes going astray, and Davidson, whose centres before the interval were admirable, went very feeble in the closing stages.

The prime performer in the half-back line was Makepeace, who generally succeeds in putting up a rare game against Liverpool. Harris and Fleetwood were splendid workers, and the centre did wonderfully well in shadowing Parkinson. Seldom did he allow his opponent to reach a favourable position for shooting.

I have already spoken of Holbem; his kicking was clean and well timed, and he was a tower of strength when Liverpool were bringing their most powerful pressure to bear on the Everton defence. Stevenson was likewise a sound and reliable full-back, and between them the two shattered the most deadly advances of the opposition.

Caldwell was not unduly burdened with work, but all that he did was achieved in a confident manner. At the opposite goal, Campbell had a far more severe task, and in this case, also, proved himself a most skilful defender.

Thirty minutes of the first half had elapsed when a clever move by Stevenson placed Beare in possession. The little winger went clean through, and warded off the attentions of Pursell until near the goal-line, when he centred splendidly. Browell, of course, was there waiting, and he coolly headed the ball into the net. This was a distinctly fine goal, every move in its acquirement being excellent. After the change of ends Gault registered a second point.

Liverpool: Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Robert Pursell, Harry Lowe, Bob Ferguson, Donald Mackinlay, Arthur Goddard, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Parkinson, Tom Miller, William Lacey.
Everton: James Caldwell, William Stevenson, Walter Holbem, Val Harris, Tom Fleetwood, Harry Makepeace, George Beare, Ernie Gault, Tommy Browell, Frank Bradshaw, William Davidson.

Referee: Mr. H.H. Taylor, Altrincham.
(Source: Athletic News: October 7, 1912)


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