January 10, 1916
So far as the existing competition is concerned, Liverpool broke fresh ground by visiting Stockport on Saturday. They are to be congratulated upon returning from the busy Cheshire borough with a couple of points to their credit, for, on the run of the play, they scarcely deserved such generous guerdon. In short, they had all the luck, while the County struggled gamely under Fortune’s frown.
Nevertheless, it was a capital game to watch – fast, forceful, keenly strenuous, and episodic throughout. The finer touches of the code were almost entirely absent, but there was ample compensation in stirring incidents which set the spectators in a roar, and at one period raised them to such a pitch of excitement that the referee had to admonish them. Stockport are a sturdy side, and under happier circumstances they might conceivably have turned the tables on their opponents.
To begin with, they lost the services of their clever, sharp-shooting centre forward, Norman Rodgers, in the first ten minutes of the game, and though he subsequently returned to the field of play, he was, perforce, “a passenger.” Apart from this, the home forwards could do everything but find the net. For fully twenty minutes “by the lock” in the second half they bombarded Elisha Scott’s charge, only to find their shots either turned aside by the active young keeper or kicked clear by the defenders Ephraim Longworth and James Middlehurst. It was a case of Stockport County enjoying a monopoly of attack with a minimum of effect.
The Anfielders, on the other hand, turned their spasmodic advances to the best account. Once within the firing line they were always dangerous, and each of their three goals was thoroughly well deserved.
The first of these came from Fred Pagnam, who, though shadowed by Fred Fayers, managed to thrust his way through the defence and score at short range. The Liverpool centre forward tried to repeat this performance several times, but he was well held. At the other end the shooting of the Stockport vanguard was wild and erratic, and so the Anfielders led at the turn. In the second period the visitors speedily strengthened their position through Donald Mackinlay, who, from a free kick outside the penalty area, drove the ball with tremendous force right out of the custodian’s reach.
Then followed that long spell of pressure on the part of the home team to which allusion has been made. The only grain of comfort garnered came from Bob Suart, who netted the leather after Scott had saved from Harry Crossthwaite. A desperately rally ensued but without avail, and the shrill cries of the spectators faded into silence when Mackinlay put on a third goal for Liverpool. This was scored rather curiously. William Banks put in a half volley which Jimmy Molyneux ran out to meet and partially cleared, but before he could regain his proper place Mackinlay had driven the ball into the tenantless goal.
The work of the Liverpool forwards was, all things considered, eminently satisfactory. They might have shown cleverer combination, but much of their work was admirable. It was, however, the defence that played the strongest card. The half-back line was the weakest point. Arthur Goddard, it is true, did much useful service and renewed old acquaintances, but the wing men were scarcely convincing.
In the absence of Rodgers, Crossthwaite and Ernie Gault were the most dangerous of the home forwards, while at half-back Fayers reminded one more than ever of Johnny Holt of Everton memory.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 10, 1916)