January 17, 1916
Having basked in Fortune’s smile at Stockport a week ago, Liverpool saw something of the frown of the goddess at Rochdale on Saturday. At the same time, it would not be fair to attribute their defeat altogether to the fickle jade.
The fact is that the Anfielders had very largely themselves to blame for letting actual victory slip between their feet. To begin with, they quite failed to take full advantage of the weather gauge which they held in the first half, and subsequently they permitted their opponents to rush in where they had feared to tread.
Although never over-scientific, the contest was keen and vigorously contested to the final trill of the whistle. There were moments when Liverpool showed something of the nicer points of the game, but these interludes were comparatively few and far between. For the most part things were of the kick and rush order – a style of play not consistent with the wild weather that prevailed.
On the general run of the play Liverpool scarcely deserved to lose by so simple a margin, though full credit must be given the home side for a hefty display of pluck and persistence. It was raining and blowing hard when Rochdale started, and in the first lull in the storm they gave the Liverpool defenders something to think about. Albert Smith and Ernest Hawksworth were both troublesome and a trifle unfortunate in failing to find the net.
The Anfielders afterwards settled down to a more methodical style, and this eventually brought its due reward. Fred Pinkney got nicely away and centred well. Pagnam missed the pass, but Donald Mackinlay dashed in and scored one of his characteristic goals – a fast, oblique drive just out of reach of the keeper.
On changing ends the home side made much more of the wind than their opponents had done, and they reaped the profit accordingly. Forcing the pace, they kept Liverpool on the defensive, and Hawksworth found the target with a fine shot.
Liverpool rallied strongly for a period, and Pagnam, after being several times beaten off, missed an open goal. Rochdale were not slow to make the most of this blunder, for they pressed more persistently than ever, and a clever piece of work on the part of James Brannick culminated in Hawksworth scoring a second time.
The visitors tried retaliatory measures, but in rather haphazard fashion, and just before the close Rochdale clinched the argument with a third goal. This came through a miss-kick on the part of Ephraim Longworth, who misjudged the flight of the ball Elisha Scott rushed out to repair the mistake, but Fred Heap was there first and drove the ball into the vacant goal.
The work of the Liverpool forwards was generally speaking, bright, sprightly, and satisfactory. Both wings showed, at times, speed and cleverness, while Pagnam should not be too severely criticised for his sins of omission. The half backs all gave an excellent account of themselves, Arthur Goddard appearing younger and livelier than ever.
The defence was sound, and it is rather a pity that Longworth’s solitary mistake should have cost a goal.
Rochdale once again proved themselves a distinctly serviceable team – sound in all departments, and imbued with that spirit which never knows when it is beaten.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 17, 1916)