League matches

Manchester United v Liverpool 3-1 (League match: November 23, 1912)


November 23, 1912
Match: Football League, First Division, at Old Trafford, kick-off: 14:30.
Manchester United – Liverpool 3-1 (2-0).
Attendance: 14,000.
Referee: Mr. P. Sant (Barnsley); linesmen: Messrs. C.R. Hall and L. Jowett.
Manchester United (2-3-5): Bobby Beale, Dick Duckworth, George Stacey, Frank Knowles, Charlie Roberts, Alex Bell, Billy Meredith, Tommy Nuttall, George Anderson, Enoch West, George Wall.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Robert Crawford, Harry Lowe, Ernest Peake, Bob Ferguson, Arthur Goddard, Arthur Metcalf, Jack Parkinson, Tom Miller, Donald Mackinlay.
The goals: 1-0 Wall (20 min.), 2-0 Anderson (penalty, 30 min.), 3-0 Anderson (49 min.), 3-1 Mackinlay.

Mancunians on their mettle.
A stern struggle between two teams obviously enthusiastic and grimly determined was witnessed at Old Traffo9rd by 14,000 people – the weather was wet and dismal, and there was a great counter-attraction in the city – the battle ending in a triumph for Manchester United by three goals to one.

The Anfield-road men played a dour, hard, game, and there were moments when their form was impressive, while they always suggested that they were a good side. They, however, met a team quicker on the ball, keen to the point of desperation, and, on the day, superior. The Anfield forwards did not take their chances, with one exception, whereas the Old Trafford attack, while missing a number, accepted three.

Shortly after they had opened their score Liverpool missed from a penalty kick – a fact that may or may not have been exceedingly important. Had that ball gone home from the mark it would have reduced the difference between the teams to a single goal, and judging by the vim with which Liverpool were playing at that stage of the contest, a second success might have spurred them on to the equalising point. However, the penalty kick failed and with it there vanished into the shades of coming night Liverpool’s last hope of saving the day.

Daring experiments.
Manchester United owed their success to daring experiments made with the team. In the hope of quickening the pace of the attack. West was moved to inside left, Turnbull standing down, and Anderson, Nuttall, and Knowles, there young and eager forwards, were included at centre forward, inside right, and right half-back respectively. Then Linkson was left out of the back division and Duckworth moved from right half-back to full back.

Obviously, with experiments like these anything might have happened, and what did happen was that the team gave a display far in front of their form in recent matches. The forward line in particular proved a good deal faster and quicker on the ball than any Manchester United attack has been this season, the two youngsters introduced both being possessed of real pace. Knowles, too, improved the middle line, bringing ability with both head and feet, and vigour and enthusiasm into the work of the trio. Tall, long of limb, and not afraid, Knowles gave a creditable display against a clever and fleet-footed wing pair in Mackinlay and Miller.

Duckworth came out of a trying ordeal with colours flying. He tackled soundly and that be placed himself with judgment was proved by the fact that when big George Stacey was beaten for speed and was helpless was beaten for speed and was helpless he often was found lying in wait for the fast-moving Arthur Goddard and Metcalf. But, for all that, I hope the United officials will not delude themselves into the belief that Duckworth is a League full-back. Truth to tell, he has been too clever a half-back for too long a time to now be a big kicking defender, and that was where he was beaten – he could not drive the ball when played upon.

Anderson’s two goals.
Twenty minutes had returned to the home of time when Wall opened the scoring. A free kick placed by Stacey gave the outside left his chance, and he raced away from Longworth, ran close in, and volleyed hard at Campbell. The custodian managed to knock the ball up, but went down himself, and as the ball fell again Wall rushed in and kicked it against the post and into the net with a vehemence that suggested he felt he could not hit it hard enough. With half an hour flown, persistent attack carried the United to a second success. West placed the ball neatly and coolly up the centre, and Anderson went straight ahead, Crawford then swept the forward’s legs from under him, and the whistle blew for a penalty kick, a second or two before Nuttall placed the ball in the net, Roberts gave Anderson the chance of a pretty revenge, and he had the satisfaction of beating Campbell soundly with a perfect ball that sped low from his right instep into the corner of the net.

Shortly after the opening of the second half, Anderson scored a magnificent goal. Gathering the ball deftly as it went to his feet, he made a rapid burst, and before either Longworth or Peake could get to him he had driven at the ball with his left foot. Though the volley was at seventeen yards range or thereabouts, the ball seemed to his the under-part of the bar almost at the moment the forward’s boot met it.

The Anfield men won their reward when Mackinlay scored with a swift low cross shot. Afterwards Mackinlay and Parkinson each missed when close in – the centre forward certainly ought to have scored – and Goddard made matters worse by shooting wide from a penalty kick given against Nuttall for a foul on Mackinlay.

Wall was the best of the Manchester forwards, and West played a hard useful game as his partner, while Anderson was energetic, and of course scored twice. Nuttall was very fast and obviously eager, but his passes went much awry, which was a bad thing for Meredith. The latter did not make the most of his few opportunities, and he seems a little inclined to overdo the back-heel business he is so clever at. The half-backs were all very good. Duckworth I have spoken of. Stacey kicked hard, but played by no means a great game. Often the big kick that made the crowd cheer made a present of the ball to the Liverpool backs.

Although beaten, Liverpool were a good side. Hardy triers to a man, they were just a trifle slower on the ball than the home eleven, and did not finish well. Mackinlay played a fine game, and so did not finish well. Mackinlay played a fine game, and so did Parkinson, though the shooting of the inside men was not of the best. Ferguson was sturdy in the middle line, and Peake a useful worker. Lowe and Longworth had a hard time against the Manchester left wing, and Wall often had the best of the duel. Crawford was the best back on the field, and tackled Meredith beautifully. No fault could be found with either goalkeeper.
(The Athletic News, 25-11-1912)

Arthur Metcalf.
Arthur Metcalf 1912

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