Liverpool F.C. scramble home


February 7, 1916
History repeated itself in a way, because Bob Crompton was left languishing half the time by a player named Cunliffe, who has seen service with Altrincham, but formerly played with St. Helens Recreation. Someone was telling me on Saturday that “Liverpool is a rare club for making finds,” and then he quoted Cunliffe and other cases. But he left out the name of Goddard.

Here, to my mind, is the most striking “find” of the football year. Goddard, an outside right, who has received the blessing of the club he has served so well, goes to Cardiff City, does them proud, shows he is not a back number, returns to Liverpool, takes up a situation, occasionally plays for the Anfield side, and finally, half-way through a game, goes to centre half through a player being injured.

He has never released his hold on that position, and on Saturday last his game was of great standard. He certainly did at times pass in error, but one does not judge him on a few errors, but on the general run of a game, and I say that his game on Saturday was an eye opener. He was not alone in hos goodness, Bradley giving another fine exhibition until he was crocked. Wadsworth, however, did not live up to his former standard, albeit he must be given credit for one rasping shot.

But let us back to the case of CunliffeCrompton. Some six years ago Everton tried friend Len Woods at outside left, and his debut in English League football was on the day that Bob Crompton face him! It’s a rare trial for a boy, eh? Woods played grand football and had Crompton chasing him here and there without any chance of the Rover getting a bite.

Well, Cunliffe is not a boy, neither is he lacking in experience. He has the professional football air about him – you can see before he touches a ball that he has been through a football mill. Well, he put Crompton through the mill on Saturday, and gained a special recognition from the large crowd of 17,000 spectators.

By dodgery clean footwork, by passing the ball with the  side of his boot, by wise centres, and by his steadiness Cunliffe had Crompton well beaten. Can Cunliffe (who, surely, will be christened “Whit”) keep up his back heeling and dribbling form? We shall see. I think he can, but I don’t expect him to find other backs allowing him to shine as refulgently.

Crompton is bulky, weighty, and rather slow these times. Cunliffe must not expect to be able to leave his man by a yard in five when the sprints are necessary. Still don’t let me be hypercritical. Cunliffe, from all points of view, merits highest praise for being our best forward on Saturday in a game that was curious in that Pagnam slept through it all.

Well watched and with Crompton and Jones scenting his danger, Pagnam had little to do. Passes intended for him went astray, and altogether his game was much below his standard. When the second half started he had one piece of misfortune, the ball hitting the goalkeeper and later he could have taken the open goal that was offered a Liverpool forward, but as Metcalf had made the position and was in just as good a position as himself, Pagnam allowed Metcalf the shot – the ball passing wide from a position that should have ensured a goal.

Metcalf, after many weeks of absence, played his canny game, and three times he surprised us with shots that deserved some reward. Watson, too, hit the woodwork, but then what shall we say of Charles, the winger, who fired in some beauties, and from one rebound left Fairclough with a child-like chance?

No better to cut the remembrance and say Campbell and Kidd gave us a grand exhibition, Campbell’s being the most “thicklesome” work because it was close in and the sun’s rays bothered him. Pinkney scored an unexpected goal (Kidd fell), and for the second week this level-headed player was our only goal-getter.

Jumping to the other end of the team, let it be said that Longworth and Middlehurst gave their dashing game, and Longworth’s game in particular was noticeable by its clean clearance, its surety, and its habit of cutting right across and always timing the take-from-you stroke to a nicety.

Liverpool: Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, James Middlehurst, Norman Bradley, Arthur Goddard, Walter Wadsworth, Ernest Pinkney, Winfred Watson, Fred Pagnam, Arthur Metcalf, Tommy Cunliffe.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: February 7, 1916)

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