September 11, 1916
Liverpool paid their first League visit to the Burslem Port Vale Club on Saturday, when they shared the points in an interesting if rather rough-and-tumble encounter. The present ground of the popular Pottery organisation is right in the heart of the busy town of Hanley, and judging by the attendance, this latest recruit to the ranks of the League should enjoy a highly successful financial season.
There was a mild sensation on Saturday, by the way, when the military and police authorities suddenly put in an appearance and proceeded to “round up” the intending spectators at the various turnstiles. Most of the crowd had the necessary passports with them, and there were comparatively few detentions. The powers that be did their work thoroughly, for they visited both dressingrooms and interrogated the players. All these of course, had their papers with them, and there was consequently no unfortunate contretemps.
The whole thing was done very quietly, and there was no scene of any kind.
With regard to the game there is not very much to be said. Liverpool set a merry pace at the commencement, but the somewhat uneven surface of the playing patch and the uncropped turf militated against nicely combined movements. The work of the forwards was frequently thrown out of gear at the critical juncture and many promising openings were lost, but it would be quite unfair to blame the ground for this.
The soundness of the home defence combined with the weakness of the Liverpool outside wingers accounted for most of the failure to find the net. Pagnam led one or two raids with characteristic vigour, only to finish badly, and the only forward who was really dangerous in the first half was Ashcroft. Liverpool had practically all the play, yet the interval was reached with a clean sheet.
In the second period we saw much better and crisper football. The home side “bucked up” in surprising fashion and both ends were assaulted in turn. Holford once came within an ace of beating Taylor with a glorious shot, and later on the upright was struck with a fine drive.
Liverpool were equally busy in turn, and a free kick awarded them just outside the penalty looked “a gift.” Powell, however, finely fielded Longworth’s place kick, and when time was called nothing had been scored.
Pinkney and Cunliffe were both right out of the picture, and Pagnam scarcely did himself justice. Ashcroft created a very favourable impression, showing cleverness and resource. The defence left nothing to be desired. The Port Vale team will need strengthening forward, but in the rear division they proved themselves thoroughly sound.
Burslem Port Vale: Powell, Ted Collins, Cameron, Jack Shelton, Bennett, Edgar Bentley, Spooner, R. Shelton, Colclough, Jack Needham, Tom Holford.
Liverpool: Ted Taylor, Ephraim Longworth, Tommy Lucas, John Bamber, Arthur Goddard, Donald Mackinlay, Ernest Pinkney, Arthur Metcalf, Fred Pagnam, Ashcroft, Tommy Cunliffe
(Liverpool Echo, 11-09-1916)