Battle of the colours

October 7, 1912
Everton again prevail.
Games between Liverpool and Everton are always interesting, as no matter how the sides have fared in other engagements, followers of the clubs can always rely upon the players giving of their best when these meetings come round. There would be about 45,000 spectators present, and though the conditions were somewhat summer-like, the big crowd were provided with a capital afternoon’s sport.

The remarkable sequence of successes by the Goodison Park brigade on the old home of the club was continued, and it would appear that the Blues are desired to enjoy a charmed existence when at Anfield. There was little indeed between the sides so far as general footwork was concerned, and though the exhibition did not come up to the standard of several that have gone before, there was a compensating infusion of dash and persistent go-aheadness that kept the respective supporters of the clubs extended to the full limit of enthusiasm.

Everton citadel at times was intense, and was by no means confined to the crowd, for the players caught the infection, and the Anfielders were obviously the more unnerved. They were as good, if not better, as their opponents in every detail with the exception of finishing touches, and even allowing for occasional lapse under exceptional circumstances, they ought to have narrowed down the margin of victory. Still, there could be no mistaking the fact that the more polished artists when it came to the crucial test were on the other side, and the close follower of the game could not arrive at any other conclusion than that the Evertonians fully deserved their triumph.

The ability of such star performers as Macconnachie and Jefferis to take up their accustomed positions had a disturbing influence on the minds of the Everton supporters, but as matters eventuated neither was missed, as their respective places were filled up by experts who upon their form displayed in no uncertain fashion their claim to inclusion in the highest flight of football.

The re-shuffling of the Liverpool team and the return of old favourities lent a spice to the proceedings, and thus it was that when the game opened at a terrific pace the spectators recognised that they were for a most profitable afternoon. It was hard fought, rousing, and withal a clean game, and if many of the nicer touches were conspicuous by the absence, it was the result of the keen spirited which deminated the tussle from first to last. In midfield play, and leading up to attacks upon the respective defence, the Anfielders were generally the better combination, but when it became a matter of utilising chances that came along the “Blues” were undoubtedly the more expert.

There were occasions when Parkinson and Goddard struck the woodwork, but twice also did the Liverpool goal escape in similar fashion, and this before a tangible point was recorded The outstanding superiority was the finish displayed by the visitors, and yet the Anfielders were provided with openings which had they been accepted, must have placed them outside the pale of defeat.

Coming to the players, and dealing first with the Everton forwards, pride of place must be given to Beare, who displayed all his old cleverness in taking the ball, eluding his opponents, and centring with an accuracy that was beyond reproach. He it was who engineered the first goal of the match, and in conjunction with Gault formed the most successful wing on the field. Browell was there to supplement whatever came his way, and while Davidson had a good time in the first half, when he centred accurately after a clever sprint, he tapered off in the second portion, and this reduced the standard of effectiveness. He was in half-back play where the Evertonians mostly excelled.

As a pivot, Fleetwood was always a worker with a definite aim in view, and his shadowing of Parkinson and attention to his own forwards reminded one forcible of the great success in this position a couple of seasons ago at Bristol. There was no deterioration on the part of Makepeace, and Harris, and most folk who follow football know what these players are capable of accomplishing. The “trio” were a capital line, both in attack and defence, and in the matter of speed they compared favourably with the best on the field. Everton’s rearguard has probably never been better served.

Doubts were entertained as the soundness of Holbem, and his ability satisfactorily to fill the position rendered vacant by the skipper. There were cast to the winds ere the game was many minutes old, and it can safely be stated that Macconnachie at his best could not have rendered better service than did his understudy. Stevenson was also a success, and in goal Caldwell was found wanting.

The Liverpool forwards, were for the most part evidently labouring under the failure to take advantage of openings that occurred early on. These did not come singly, and the frailties of the inside men to accept chances when the custodian only lay between them and success must have put quite a damper on the ardour of their colleagues. In this respect Stewart was the greater delinquent, for he was piled with passes from Goddard and Parkinson that would have gladdened the heart of any ordinary marksman. Otherwise his work was satisfactory, and with Goddard proved the more effective wing, but though the line as a whole were incisive enough in their advances, they compared badly with the opposing quintette when it came to a point of driving home an advantage.

Parkinson’s return to the fold was a pronounced success, but he was unfortunate enough to have found Fleetwood on the top of his form. His flashes down the centre, and hustling of the backs, and drawing the defence round him what time he put the ball out to his colleagues, merited better results, but the inside men lacked the last yard otherwise a different tale might have to be told.

Ferguson gave an improved display and got through much useful work, as also did Lowe who kept a vigilant eye upon the movements of Bradshaw and Davidson. Mackinlay was up against a smart wing, and on the whole gave a good display, but the exercise of a little restraint would improve his efficiency. Longworth had a big task on hand, as Pursell was not as reliable as usual, while Campbell brought off many fine saves, but had no chance of preventing the points recorded against his side.

The details of play may be briefly summarised. Facing’ the glaring sun, the Anfielders opened in promising fashion, but found themselves opposed to a sturdy defence. The first exciting incident came on Browell putting the ball out to Beare to send in a rasping a shot with Campbell beaten, but fortunately for the keeper, the ball rebounded from the upright and was cleared. Following this Stewart failed with two easy chances, while at the other end Campbell brought off smart saves from Browell and Gault.

After half an hour’s play Beare pounced upon a clearance by Stevenson, and cleverly tricking Mackinlay, he went off on one of his electric flashes, rounded Pursell, and centred accurately for Browell to head into the net. Following the interval the “Reds” ably led by Parkinson showed much promise of equalising but a lapse on the part of Pursell, who misjudged a bouncing ball, provided Gault with an opening, which he utilised to the fullest extent. Strive as they would, the “Reds” could not beat down the opposition, and when the end came with the “Blues” leading by a couple of goals the popular verdict was that the Anfielders were lacking in the final spurt which is so essential to success in these days of competition.

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.
(Source: Liverpool Courier: October 7, 1912)


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