Liverpool v Stoke 2-0 (League match: December 18, 1915)

December 18, 1915
Match: Football League, Lancashire Section, at Anfield.
Liverpool – Stoke 2-0 (1-0), (match played over 2 x 40 min.).
Attendance: 15,000.
Referee: Mr. T. Nelson; linesmen: Messrs.: H. Oxley and J. Westwell.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Elisha Scott, Ephraim Longworth, James Middlehurst, Norman Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Walter Wadsworth, Ernest Pinkney, Wilfred Watson, Fred Pagnam, William Banks, James Dawson.
Stoke (2-3-5): Richard Herron, George Smart, George Turner, Joe Jones, Charles Parker, Jack Shelton, Harry Hargreaves, Bob Whittingham, James Morris, William E. Herbert, S. Cooper.
The goals: 1-0 Pagnam (6 min.), 2-0 Pagnam (41 min.).

But what of Liverpool? They had to find, post haste, substitutes for Speakman and McGhie, and probably neither Dawson nor Middlehurst had failed to stock in a good midday meal before finding out that the club wanted them to play. Spectators should remember these possibilities when they are watching the players, and not by hypercritical about their work when they do not, as a machine, do everything right.

People locally have not been giving Dawson a fair chance to settle down, and there was nibbling at him on Saturday that wasn’t fair. I hope he will be free in future from these taunts. When Goddard was injured he had a brief spell at centre half, and confirmed the opinion long ago expressed by me that centre half is the easiest position to fill, even though it entails a lot of heavy work. Dawson shaped quite well enough as pivot to show us that he could adapt himself to the post.

The referee in the Stoke-Liverpool match at Stoke was said to have let a lot of things pass by unnoticed, and the players consequently got out of hand, one of each side being ordered off.

Well, on Saturday Mr. Nelson, a new-comer on trial, satisfied on the offside rule fetish but failed to grip the players, and finally got into a muddle. First he let the game go for thirty three minutes, and then ordered the interval. Next he got the players out after a rest of seven minutes, and played four or five minutes of the seven that were due. Next he granted a goal that Stoke protested against. No one can grumble at Stoke protesting, but the method of their protest was a trifle pantomimical to prevent the game proceeding.

The referee was emphatic about the goal – it was Pagnam’s second – and I feel he was right in his decision. At any rate he was “bang on the premises,” and emphatically pointed to the centre and instead on the goal. Next Stoke players became unduly lusty. When the chased Pagnam one could read in their countenances this determination: “This chap must come to earth.” So Pagnam was tripped, and he proceeded to screw the ball very wide from the penalty spot.

A moment later the referee failed to see Pagnam rattle the feet of the Stoke back, but he did see Pagnam tripped, and he ordered a penalty kick again. Protest upon protest was made, and the referee consulted the linesman, with the result that the gift goal was not attempted. Altogether play and players were being jumbled by the circumstances, and it is not surprising that the players got out of hand. It was a curious match and no error.

Still, I hope our centre forward will cease giving free kicks for “trapping” full backs. He’s playing so well that he can aschew that one bad point in his repertory. Some day he will find things go his way, and he will gain a pot of goals in a day. Saturday seemed to be his day, but, great game through he played, he didn’t find things go his way.

One reason was Herron. He parried some wonderful drives in a nonchalant way, and Banks gave him a handful which he dealt with as though the ball had been tossed up to him. Herron kept a grand goal. Another reason of Pagnam’s comparative failure was attributable to his miss of the penalty mark. That upset him for a while. There’s no doubt about Pagnam’s strength of charge and shot, however, and he must prove a magnet to the Anfield ground. Watson was very cunning, and Pinkney gave another level display. Both surprises us by their neat ways.

At half-back, Bradley and Goddard were special constables, and Wadsworth, save for giving free kicks needlessly, was sound. At full back both men got through a lot of work and the first half was a string test for them, because the Stoke forwards were very impressive; and though Herbert did not come up to the limelight, Whittingham was strong in every phase of forward work. In the home goal, Elisha Scott was daring and skilled, and one save in the last lap of the first “forty” was especially noteworthy, Bradley finally clearing the danger after Hargreaves had seemed a certain scorer.

It was enjoyable fare, and at the rate both our teams are going the Boxing Day fixture should be a special treat.
(Liverpool Echo, 20-12-1915)

League table 18 December 1915

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