October 18, 1915
That Liverpool should have won “hands down” as the saying goes, is uncontradictable. They had the Spotland men in the hollow of their hands, if one takes out notable exceptions – Smith (outside left) and Biggar, goalkeeper. These men were carrying Rochdale on their shoulders in the first half, what time Pagnam got two perfect goals – and deserved others. He failed to gain the coveted hat-trick honours, and I fear the fetish of this trick led in a certain degree to the failure of the home forwards to hammer home their advantage.
They played as though content with a goal lead, and when Smith slipped away and once more outpaced Fairfoull and Speakman, he scored a grand goal. Even so, Liverpool should have been capable of holding their lead if the defence had continued steady. Speakman has been out of the team for some weeks through illness, and I guess he was not up to football condition. At any rate, after a capital start, in which he showed judgment, he fell away, and with him a number of other Liverpool players.
The man who pleased most of the home attack was Henderson. He played a most attractive game, and I think that centre-to-left formation should be allowed a long innings without interruption. Mackinlay, Henderson, and Pagnam are getting to know each other’s fancies, and by and by they would make a very strong side-piece to the forward line. Mackinlay can play anywhere, and Pagnam seems to find more comfort from Henderson than any other forward who has played by him – there’s an affinity between them that should be encouraged, for each opens the game well and has the defence guessing.
I wonder what Brannick’s thoughts were where Henderson persistenly marked him at the point of a throw in. There were some funny capers cut, and the crowd relished the fun. Banks was disappointing but Goddard did sterling work, even if he once dribbled himself to destruction, what time Fairfoull had taken up a wing-forward position, and was awaiting a pass. Wadsworth, on the wing, is better than Wadsworth at centre half, and Molyneux’s return meant strength. Another youngster, Middlehurst, continued his dashing game at full-back, and promise to fulfill his promise – which is what so many good young ‘uns fail to do. He has a trusty kick, and is not without reason in his dashes.
Therefore his outlook is bright. In goal, Campbell made a remarkable save close on time when a full back had blundered. He had to risk an injury from Brannick’s boot, but he refused to give up possession of the ball, otherwise Liverpool’s little nap would have cost them full points – a surprising turn-round when Liverpool’s persistent attack of three quarters of the game were remembered.
(Liverpool Echo: October 18, 1915)