Liverpool lose in the howling wilderness


December 13, 1915
At the best of times and under the pleasantest of conditions the Hyde-road enclosure is never a rus in urbe. On such a day as Saturday it is simply a howling wilderness – a sort of “blasted heath” that would have made even Macbeth wilt. Nevertheless, a crowd of well over 5,000 braved the elements, and were rewarded with an inspiriting and exhilarating exhibition.

Indeed, considering the conditions, the game was an exceptionally fast and good one – brimful of incident, marked by much clever, if occasionally haphazard, passing, and stamped throughout with the true ring of strenuous sincerity. It was not a good day for the Anfielders, who were at times completely outplayed and at the close of a tiring encounter they had to admit defeat at the hands of the Mancunians for the second time this season.

Nevertheless, they gave the home side a very good run for their money, and with the least bit of luck they might have equalised before the whistle finally sounded. On the general run of the play, however, the City were much the stronger side, and if their forwards had taken one tithe of the chances that offered, Liverpool’s adverse margin must inevitably have been much wider. As it was Howard and company allowed chance after chance to slip by, while most of the shots that were accurate were brilliantly stopped by Scott. The fine custodianship of the young Irishman was one of the principal features of the game, and it was certainly no fault of his that defeat overtook his colleagues and his club. The backs also bore the brunt of battle bravely, breaking up the onward rushes of the City more often than not. The Anfielders’ weakness lay in the inability of the forwards to combine effectively. They frequently reached the firing zone only to be baffled, and Pagnam was so carefully and closely watched by Fletcher that he was invariably put out of the action when just about to put through.

With all the worst of the choppy wind, Liverpool were the first to advance, and in the early stages Banks had a pot at Goodchild’s charge without success. Subsequently the City got well into their stride, and the three inside forwards all peppered shots. Scott’s clearances, as we have already indicated, were at times wonderful. At length he was beaten by a concerted movement, which terminated in Barnes heading the leather beneath the bar from a centre by Broad. Liverpool rallied strongly after this reverse, and a long drive from Longworth nearly beat Goodchild, but they were still one down at the turn. On crossing over they were again aggressive, and in due course their persistence was rewarded by a goal from Watson, who netted after a free kick had been given against Henry for a palpable piece of unnecessary handling. The City at once returned the compliment with a vigorous assault on Scott’s charge, and the latter, coming out was beaten by Howard, who drove the ball into the unguarded goal. Just before the finish Watson came within an ace of equalising with a neat bit of headwork, but the home warden was too quick, and the City maintained their lead to the close.

Mention has already been made of the sterling character of the Anfield defence. The half backs were scarcely so satisfying, though Goddard, displaying characteristic judgment abd generalship, played a thoroughly sound and scientific game. Pagnam was the most prominent of the forwards, but he was so well watched that his methods were successfully hampered. The right wing pair were often dangerous and frequently caused anxiety, and Banks did well, though the same can scarcely be said of Metcalf. Howard, who is supposed to revel in heaving going, was well bottled up by Goddard, and Taylor and Barnes were the most dangerous sharpshooters. At back Fletcher played a rare defensive game.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 13, 1915)

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