War time matches

Liverpool v Everton 2-1 (League match: December 2, 1916)


December 2, 1916
Match: Lancashire Section, at Anfield, kick off: 14:30.
Liverpool – Everton 2-1 (2-1).
Attendance: 27,392. Gate receipt: £800.
Referee: Mr. F. Leigh; linesmen: Messrs. F.G. Bagley and C.W. Burton.
Liverpool (2-3-5): John William Swann; Ephraim Longworth, Tommy Lucas; John Bamber, Walter Wadsworth, Donald Mackinlay; Arthur Goddard, Tommy Bennett, Fred Pagnam, Arthur Metcalf, Tommy Cunliffe.
Everton (2-3-5): Frank Mitchell; Joe Smith (West Bromwich Albion), Bob Thompson; Tom Fleetwood, Billy Wareing, Alan Grenyer; Frank Jefferis, Billy Kirsopp, Bradbury (Hull City), Joe Clennell, George Harrison.
The goals: 1-0 Metcalf (9 min.), 1-1 Kirsopp (17 min.), 2-1 Bennett (36 min.).

Everton surrendered for the first time since the back end of September, and Liverpool, the leaders of the League, hang on to a strengthened rung of the ladder. Liverpool are in the enviable position of being the only undefeated club in the English tournaments, therefore every team they meet is specially anxious to be the first in the field with the break in the charming list of points-gatherings that stand to Liverpool’s credit. It’s all very nice being at the top of the League, but the club has to make no slip, and every opposition puts forth that extra little bit which means the difference between a hard game and a very strenuous game.

Saturday’s was one of the hardest games ever played by the sides. No one asked quarter and no one got it, and nothing was too troublesome for most of the players. Had it been a Cup final, with medals and receptions and – breathe it gently – payments for photographs, Liverpool could not have played a more desperate game. Fortunately the players did not let their zeal outrun their discretion, and if it is true to point out that Pagnam and Wareing near the interval got at loggerheads, and that there was a squall over a penalty kick, nevertheless the game was clean, and was worthy the teams that have built up a big reputation for clean “Derbies.”

Liverpool claimed two penalty kicks, and Bennett claimed that once he got the ball over the line. What matter is now? Aye, but remember, there will be discussion in the trenches to-day over the important game. So we must skip nothing. First, let it be said that Wareing, with the best shot of the match, hit the crossbar, and Swann wondered where the ball had gone to. Further, Kirsopp hit the woodwork, and Bennett and Pagnam also hit the woodwork with headers. Now Referee Leach ared very well, all considered, in his first big trial and although offside points were more than debatable, still, the fact remains that he controlled the game quite well. As for the penalty kick against Wareing, well, the foggy atmosphere prevented a sound view, but it appeared to be for a shove that Wareing suffered. The kick was taken by Metcalf, who seems to be Liverpool’s mascot in the matter of goals. He doesn’t strike me as the best man for a “spot” kick, and when her screwed wide there was a groan. An Everton player must have “paced” forward, for the referee instantly ordered the kick to be retaken; an then Mitchell, advancing a step from his goal, made a grand save. Mitchell kept an excellent goal all day, but I beg leave to draw attention to the fact that if the referee had many eyes one of the sockets must have been riveted on the goalkeeper, and would have discovered a swift move forward, which the rules do not allow.

To my mind the men standing out above others were: Winning side, Goddard, Bennett, Wadsworth, MacKinaly, and the home backs; losing side, Wareing, Fleetwood, the backs, and the goalkeeper. The forward line of Everton suffered a severe blow when Morris could not play. Bradbury is a half-back who has tried his hand at forward, but he is willing and inexperienced; and when he and Clennell changed places there was a trifling improvement that was not kept up, and the consequence was that Clennell was out of the picture, and Harrison looked in vain for helping-passes, but the line, all things considered, was not to be compared with the practical Liverpool line, which followed up at every moment, and was swift to snap chances. Everton were too dainty. Kirsopp’s goal merits attention. It was scored through a superhuman effort by the winger, but Swann (Manchester United’s goalkeeper came to Liverpool’s help) was to blame for not clearing first time.

The winners’ goals were scored by Metcalf and Bennett. The former had to thank Bennett for his opening point, and Bennett in that move alone justified the good things said about him. He was desperately keen on playing against Everton, a side that he once was booked for, and the goal was relished by the scorer and his colleagues. Have you noticed the intertwining of Wadsworth, MacKinlay, and Lucas? It’s worth your special eye. Wadsworth, by playing alongside MacKinlay, has picked up a great deal of useful football wares, and his play has come on surprisingly well. And Lucas, by association with Longworth, has come to know certain things that are invaluable to a young back. Longworth and Lucas were grand backs, and, like the half-back line, were a trifle better than Everton’s corresponding line. I don’t think Smith, of West Brom., has played a better game since he joined Everton; and it would seem that the Albion man has a habit of rising to occasions – a habit with Albion players.

The players deserve our thanks for giving us keen and clean enjoyment and for providing recreation suitable and sensible. The crowd of probably 23,000 spectators was the best of the season, and it was quite like pre-war days to hear “The Partisanship Stakes” form being discussed.
(Liverpool Echo, 04-12-1916)

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