April 9, 1917
Yes, it was well won, and, though four goals was hardly a correct idea of how the game went in their favour, the fact remains that Everton were never in danger of defeat; and although Liverpool had a period of pressing, when they promised much and fulfilled little, still Everton, by their well-balanced display, earned the right to both points. The margin was not to big till late in the game, and then Ernie Gault who had already scored after a half saved centre from Joe Donnachie, helped himself to another notch, and was followed by nice solo points by Donnachie and Joe Clennell.
Take the Everton team of Saturday, and you will find a hard to find any side to conquer it. In goal Frank Mitchell, backs of strength and daring half-backs each having height weight heading ability and experience. When Clennell and Donnachie made the left wing with the live Gault skipping down the middle and a master like Frank Jefferis giving Stephen Murray those axqusto glide passes –well, there’s a team of balance and brains.
With Liverpool introducing one or two slow members, the Everton side had a merry time, and found their way paved with a semblance of easy moves. Harry Lowe, while always good in forward ideas and heading, was not swift to take the visitors’ left wing in hand, and the home right wing, through Fred Pagnam’s inclusion, was dead slow, and was not alone in this respect. Liverpool, always robust and enthusiastic, played like a tired team, and I am sure the Pagnam of Saturday is not in the same street as the Pagnam of old.
A trier all times and a good first-time shooter, Pagnam was the yard short that makes all the difference between possession and a waste of energy. The Army life has taken a lot of flesh from him, and Portsmouth is not a side to draw out his best or keep him going at his old and high standard.
Defence forced a yield.
Liverpool’s defence has been their solid rock for a long time, but on Saturday they had to yield to a better attack. For a long time they held up their heads, and through Walter Wadsworth was variable. Donald Mackinlay was good. All told, however, there was not an easy feeling about the reargiard. Tommy Lucas looked a trifle worn, and with the forwards engaged in the revue “Higgledy Piggledy” it was left to Tommy Cunliffe to make the best show. His centres towards goal were capital, and his solo runs were incisive and true.
But what was one among so many?
Tommy Bennett was well shadowed by the unobtrusive Billy Wareing, and was not able to bore his way through, as is his wont. Further, he wasn’t true from short range – which has generally been his most favourable point; this regularly good marksman from the easy range is the reliable scorer.
(Liverpool Echo: April 9, 1917)