March 27, 1916
Curious weather and curious sport was witnessed on Saturday. A gale of wind and the flow of Jupiter Pluvius led to some strange results, but did not prevent a number of away clubs fulfilling their promise to win. Our own clubs seem to be working in pairs. A week ago they drew, and on Saturday they won on time – a novel feature, and one that only distresses the man who has left the ground early on and the losing team.
Away in “town” Chelsea and Watford had trouble, and there was a chance of a penalty kick ending in the game summarily; but wiser counsels prevailed. Certain it is that some players are taking the probation referee as though they were easy-going creatures, and in some cases the players are taking the referees at their worth. Don’t think me harsh.
I have always been fair to the referee; but on Saturday Anfield spectators saw a curious exhibition of refereeing which included the whistling of a man for offside, although the man made no effort to play – how often is it forgotten that standing offside is not an offence in the eyes of the lawyers of football – and a number of handling cases which the linesmen recognise and signalled, but which the referee would not consider.
Fortunately there were no untoward features at Anfield, although James Middlehurst had early on received a cut eye; and the game which had provided many chances near goal, but few attempts to take them, finished up in a whirlwind, Arthur Metcalf scoring at the 77th minute, and little Robert Waine sealing the matter with a goal two minutes from time.
Waine is a stocky little fellow who makes a brave show to play, but who, by lack of inches and experience, finds myself somewhat outclassed. Time may do a lot for him, but he can always be assured the crowd’s vocal assistance, because his very smallness and great pluck guarantee him the glad hand. However, Waine is not lifting the ball to goal aright, and for his own sake he should be given further opportunity, and, more especially, further ball practice.
On Saturday his partner, William Kennedy, of Eccles, made but a moderate set of openings for Waines, but John Bamber, a St. Helens man like Waine, looked after the little fellow’s interest. The whole forward line lacked balance and finish. They should have been four up without exaggeration. I felt sorry Metcalf delayed his goal so long.
As a fact his out game was poor, yet he was always working some neat trick of dribbling and beating his rivals. When he got to goal-range his show was “placed” carefully, and inches meant the difference between three goals and 300 groans! Still, all good things come to those who wait on themselves, and Metcalf persevered to the end, and finally got his reward – a bonny solo run it was that led to the point, too. When the leading goal came great was the joy of the home spectators who had braved the wretched elements.
Liverpool were worth their win. For it was only the failure to finish that spoilt their team. Not a word could be said against the performance of the three rear men or against the half-backs, although at times Arthur Goddard miss-passed and undid much good initiation work. Walter Wadsworth played capital football, and Bamber was steady against two old soldiers.
Ted Taylor in goal gave us further sample of the open-hand save at the corner of the goal – a la the Everton game with Alan Grenyer’s shot – and Ephraim Longworth more than once tried to force a goal by long shots, thus showing his forwards what great chances they had of driving home pot shots, the wind’s assistance being powerful.
It was, of course, just like Liverpool to store up their finish to make the game end in a rousing rush, but we wish they’d become more settled in their temperament and not give us so many shocks. Wilfred Watson fared pretty well at centre, and his style promises well. Tommy Cunliffe was hardly so prominent as expected, but it must be remembered he had a good half against him.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: March 27, 1916)