September 13, 1915
The players of Manchester City and Liverpool got off the mark prompt to time, and we had not to wait long before we saw excellent work from both sides. Yet there was a lack of balance on both sides. For samples: Manchester City had only two forwards for some time – Wynn and Broad were the men. The former was exceeding ‘cute and swift and the latter – formerly with Oldham Athletic and last season with Bristol City – was swift, but not too clever in his cunning.
On the home side the left wing and centre outweighed the right wing, which kept its best for the later stages of the game. Nevertheless, that lop-sidedness did not prevent exciting, clean, and very keen football. Hefty charge was given and taken without a murmur, but later in the game there was an outburst of human nature.
It began, if I mistake not, with an attempted trip by Henderson on a player who was weaving his way through a number of players, and it was followed by a series of needle-engagements between Henry and Pagnam, both built on the right lines for strong charges. Henry undoubtedly brought down Pagnam by a trip – a blatant trip, and one that was not expected in this season’s type of football.
Pagnam in a mood such as his second half mood is a rare advertisement for the game. He went into his opponent with solid charges, and the crowd enjoyed the view of the “straight up” Henry being sent to the ground. Henry was wroth that he should find earth and something suspiciously near a penalty kick was noted at the fag-end of the game.
The referee, Mr. Alderson (not Mr. Howcroft), made consultations, but finally decreed that no penalty-kick should be awarded. I believe that it was a narrow escape for City, for one linesman said the foul ocurred on or about the penalty line. However, it is no special concern whether we win or lose so long as the game is kept going earnestly, and, therefore, we must bow to Manchester City and give them the reward of their labours.
That they were a shade lucky in fighting against ten mins is undoubted, but on the other hand, it must not be forgotten that Henderson – City’s promising half back – rammed home a grand shot in the first half, Kenneth Campbell being hopeless to save, and the woodwork of the goal coming to the goalkeeper’s help. It was one of the best shots I have ever seen, and that is why I am not disposed to talk of “Liverpool’s ill-luck,” as some appear to be doing.
Probably no club in the country has gathered as many one-nil victories as Manchester City. They have in recent years had a solid defence that would not yield a goal, and the City forwards, bad as a line, have managed to squeeze one goal in many a game and thus claim the full vantage. The City forward line strikes me as an improvement upon last season, even if they did not overburden Campbell with work on Saturday.
Of the Liverpool it could be said that they were triers throughout, and it was their own faults that they did not make good in the first half, when the elements were against them. A little steadiness in front of goal must have caused one of the many chances they weaved to have been clinched. The shot often, but Pagnam’s solos had no tinge of fortune, the final shot in four cases out of five being inches too high. There was an undue haste in driving a shot in, and over-anxiety must have been the cause of this.
As a line, they look well on the score of build, &c., and their football is attractive, the inside wingers giving some interesting side-lines that will make them popular. For example, Williams, who over-did the dribble and feinting business in the first half, became a semi-forward and a demi-semi half through Scott’s unfortunate injury to the knee. Then it was that the roving Williams came into the limelight with dribbles and vigorous forward marches.
On the other hand, Sandy Henderson was mainly in the picture by quaint swerves and unorthodox football. Mackinlay and Pagnam were the best because they were formidable men to hold, and shot frequently. McGhie was not able to do himself justice through the cutting up of his partner’s duties in the second half, and through Williams making a number of missed passes in the opening half.
Pagnam is just the Pagnam of last season, and if he’s not a centre forward of worth, as I have held against all those who have gone dead agames his prospects of being a great success – well, I’ll take to dominoes in my distresss! He has developed a swerving run that is going to cause backs trouble. You who were there will remember it. The ball is punted up the middle; Pagnam feints to move down the middle after it; he swiftly turns to te left, and when the back follows the line of the man, Pagnam, with his quick “get off,” is gliding round the body of the back. The other departments of the Liverpool team were strong, the half back line being especially strong in breaking up and leaving room for more care in passes to set their forwards going.
Longworth’s work was uniformly good, and Speakman’s association with his captain has had good effect, both men playing the same style of game with accuracy. Longworth’s single-handed run of the length of the field will ever be a delightful memory. Of Campbell I have already spoken, He’s all right. The attendance was something like 15,000, and the receipts were £370 odd.
Altoghether it was a good send-off for the Anfield club.
Liverpool: Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Sam Speakman, James Scott, William Molyneux, Walter Wadsworth, Alex McGhie, Dai Williams, Fred Pagnam, James Henderson, Donald Mackinlay.
Manchester City: Jim Goodchild, Billy Henry, Jack Allen, Teddy Hughes, Jack Henderson, Jack Brennan, Jimmy Broad, George Wynn, A. Cruse (Northern Nomads), Horace Barnes, Joe Dorsett.
(Liverpool Echo: September 13, 1915)