October 21, 1912
After six consecutive reverses it was only natural to expect some drastic alterations in the Liverpool eleven to tackle the League champions. These were duly forthcoming, and the result was a surprising success, a victory over the redoubtable Rovers by the wide margin of three goals justifying the course adopted by those in author. It was in the forward and half back divisions that changes were made, and I should imagine that with one exception the team, as constituted in this match, will be afforded an extended trial.
Peake, who was placed in the centre of the intermediate line, gave a fine exhibition, and his excellent work had much to do with his side’s success. His inclusion necessitated Ferguson moving to the left wing, and curiously enough this also made for strength, for the sturdy Scot was far more effective in this position than in his supposedly proper berth as pivot. This tremendous improvement in the half-back department was mainly responsible for Liverpool’s substantial triumph.
Peake was the prime performer, and he watched over Chapman with a zeal that commanded the acclamation of all except the Rovers and their exuberant following. On the left wing Ferguson was a dominant item in attack; since coming to Liverpool he has mostly adopted the role of passive resister, but in this game he was an aggressive individual, despite the fact that he had such a brilliant opponent as Simpson to deal with. Lowe was the least noticeable of the line, yet he was an incessant worker.
An unsuccessful experiment.
There was one experiment tried, however, in the forward ranks that did not succeed, this being the introduction of Stewart to the outside left position. As an inside right he formerly made a profitable partner for Goddard, but there appears to have been some reason for giving him a trial to the extremity of the line, for as a Scottish junior he figured there, so I understand. Stewart did his best and failed; he vainly endeavoured to accomplish that for which he was plainly unfitted. The remainder played capital football, and none did better than Metcalf.
Twice he scored, and on other occasions made valiant efforts that deserved a substantial reward. Gracie at inside left was somewhat handicapped, for not only was it impossible for him to combine with Stewart, but he received a nasty knock in the first half which left its impression. The position, however, appeared to suit him better than that of forward leader. Goddard and Parkinson also rendered good service. No fault could be found with the defence, which was not so sorely harassed as in some of the previous games, the full backs kicked cleanly and at good length, while Campbell in goal was responsible for several grand clearances.
The Rovers were seen at their best before the interval; afterwards they were a well-beaten side. Those who expected much from Simpson were not disappointed, for some of his movements were delightful. Not a forward on the field could compare with him in controlling the ball, manoeuvring in little space, and parting at the finish to the best advantage. The only goal which the Rovers secured was chiefly due to his skills the ball came to him in a most awkward fashion, yet in a trice he had mastered the difficulty, dashed ahead, and centred perfectly before the defence could seize the situation. His exhibition was an object-lesson to forwards in alacrity, adroitness, and accurate accomplishment.
Walmsley the worker.
At times Aitkenhead and Anthony showed commendable combination, but with one or two exceptions the latter did not finish well, especially during the later stages of the game. Latheron made a capable partner for Simpson, but Chapman was seldom allowed to reach the danger zone, though he once gave Campbell a rare handful. Of the half-backs, Walmsley was the pick; he attended to his forwards most judiciously, and was probably aided in his endeavours by having only a moderate opposition to hold in check. Smith and Bradshaw were also prominent, the centre keeping Parkinson well in hand, while the latter was neat and effective in all his movements. The full backs were not so reliable as usual; we expect much from Crompton and Cowell, and the slightest frailty is, I suppose, all the more easily noticed. It seemed as if Robinson was deceived by the shot from Ferguson which scored, but otherwise he kept a good goal, one save from Metcalf being a splendid effort.
And now to the goals. Liverpool led the way be scoring within three minutes of the start, Metcalf netting with a short that cannoned off a defender. Shortly afterwards Aitkenhead converted a beautiful centre from Simpson and equalised, but from a corner kick well placed by Goddard Metcalf gained a second point. At half-time Liverpool thus led and eventually Ferguson sent in a shot from long range, the ball glancing off an opponent’s head before dropping just underneath the bar. Three minutes from the finish the referee awarded Liverpool a penalty, Crompton being adjudged guilty of fouling Metcalf, and Goddard scored.
Liverpool: Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Robert Pursell, Harry Lowe, Ernest Peake, Bob Ferguson, Arthur Goddard, Arthur Metcalf, Jack Parkinson, Tom Gracie, James Stewart.
Blackburn Rovers: Alfred Robinson, Bob Crompton, Arthur Cowell, Albert Walmsley, Percy Smith, Billy Bradshaw, Jock Simpson, Eddie Latheron, George Chapman, Walter Aitkenhead, Walter Anthony.
Referee: Mr. J. Mason, Burslem.
(Source: Athletic News: October 21, 1912)