December 26, 1916
Match: Lancashire Section, at Anfield.
Liverpool – Southport Central 0-1 (0-0).
Referee: Mr. Howcroft.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Kenneth Campbell, Ephraim Longworth, Donald Mackinlay, John Bamber, Walter Wadsworth, Horace Fairhurst, Arthur Metcalf, Norman Bradley, Thomas Bennett, Tommy Cunliffe, Billy Murphy.
Southport Central (2-3-5): Wright, Tom Dorward, John Wright, Alexander, Jimmy Fay, Lol Abram, Bill Hooper, Billy Caulfield, Kirkman, Bert Rigsby, George Schofield.
The goal: 0-1 Schofield (53 min.).
When Campbell kept goal for Liverpool yesterday in the Goodison game he was unwell, and would not have played but for the absence of any other goalkeeper. However, Ashcroft turned up and helped the club and Campbell out of difficulty. Campbell was anxious to play in today’s big holiday game v. Southport his recent side – and doubtless Liverpool appreciated the fact that their game was a home engagement, otherwise they would have been troubled to fill their side.
The day was beautifully fine, and an excellent crowd attended to watch the league leaders. Southport had a sprinkling of ex-Everton men, Rigsby, Sheldon, and company in their side.
The home team had a struggle to raise a side, and when play should have started there were only seven men on the field.
Liverpool won the toss, and kicked towards the park end. Lively exchanges started the proceedings, and Liverpool were the more aggressive until Abrams got his side in working order.
Wright stopped Bennett smartly. Bamber nearly got through, and later the visitors’ left back missed his kick very badly, but Bradley could not quite reach the chance offered. Wadsworth’s headers were a feature of the early work, and both sets of defences stood up to the rushes of the forward lines with confidence.
Murphy is another of the St. Helens emigrants at Liverpool’s command, and he shaped unusually well, considering he is new to senior football. In the shooting line Southport were the more deadly. For instance Abrams took free kicks with accuracy and strength, and when young Schofield mesmerised Longworth and Bamber, and crossed the ball towards centre, Abrams was well placed for one of his low shots, the ball travelling fast to goal, where Campbell effected a brilliant clearance from a brilliant shot.
Caulfield took the eye with intricate dribbles and Walden-like solos, and it was plain to see that Liverpool were going to be pressed hard to keep clean their home record. Kirkman hereabouts went near opening the score, and only a knock on Wadsworth’s head spoilt the move.
At this point Wadsworth and Fairhurst changed places, the result of Caulfield having had an easier passage in the first quarter of an hour.
For a long time there was nothing to report, but when Hooper caught McKinlay napping he placed the Liverpool goal in tremendous danger, Rigsby firing at point-blank range, and Campbell making a miraculous clearance – one of the finest pieces in the match.
Fairhurst was unable to keep time with the opposition, and, as a contrast, Murphy was playing exceptionally well. Southport’s defence was quite to the demand of the much-shuffled forward line that represented the home side.
Mr. Howcroft ordered a welcome cessation while Dorward was repaired, and when the game was resumed there was a series of Liverpool attacks, none nearer scoring than when Murphy gave Wright a handful. Murphy came again, netting the ball this time, but offside had been caused.
Some of the players failed to hear the whistle and advanced to give the glad hand to the newcomer, but they were premature.
In the second half Bradley and Metcalf changed places, and there was a haze over the ground making play a trifle awkward to follow.
However, most people saw Cunliffe makes a good shot and W. Wright a good save. Admitted that Murphy had a poor half back against him, it was nevertheless a capable exhibition on his part against a sturdy player such as Dorward.
Hooper was very reliable, and when he centred Kirkman should certainly have scored. As it was, a corner kick was the only recompense, and from this corner Mackinlay got into wars.
Fay left the field with a damaged nose, and after the interruption Cunliffe was a shade slow in shooting.
After 53 minutes Schofield scored for Southport. Abrams was responsible for the initiation of the goal and Schofield, by a dodging run, formed a good position for a shot, and with a cross drive, he had Campbell beaten – a pretty goal.
Although a man short, Southport troubled their rivals, and Mackinlay and Campbell, in a “pass back” motion, nearly gave the Nottingham player, Hooper, a gift goal. Fay returned to the field, and Liverpool now showed much-needed improvement.
Liverpool infused much dash into their game, and harried the Southport defence for a long spell.
There was a sensantional breakaway by Schofield, and when he parted with the ball Kirkman had the chance of a life. He was hasty in his shot, and pulled it very wide.
Metcalf put in a high shot which Wright did well to clear at the second attempt, and the visitors had some luck in the next minute when a shot from Metcalf was blocked and a free-kick taken by Longworth went inches wide.
Liverpool were now all over Southport, and Bamber came along with a shot which was well held by Wright, who was very safe in goal.
Schofield and Caulfield brought relief to the visitors’ defence, and how Abram failed to score was hard to explain.
(Liverpool Echo, 26-12-1916)
Jimmy Fay, Southport Central.