April 23, 1917
The end cometh and we know it. We can feel it. The touch of summer warms us up and colds our enthusiasm for the winter sport. Still the season has been a great success in the city, and we have nothing to grumble about in the “war-time football,” which has been good – aye consistently good, and has always been interesting – which is what we have not always said about the serious League games.
The sixth and last meeting of the Everton and Liverpool clubs on Saturday went Everton’s way with no uncertain bump. Five-nil was the verdict and it might have been more if Everton had cared to rub it in. But they were wise in not attempting to “show off” for the method often brings with it a hasty temper, a foot shot out, and a damaged ankle or leg for one of the winning side.
Everton’s superiority was most marked. Liverpool from the outset never looked like scoring and way they did not alter their tactics when they found the pushy style would not be tolerated by Tom Fleetwood, Billy Wareing and Alan Grenyer rather amazes me.
Liverpool were stodgy, tired, and frail in attack. Their half-backs form was not too good, and Ephraim Longworth was overworked. Add to that little of the goalkeeping of Tommy Haughton, who has not learnt the art of gathering a ball, and you will not need telling why Liverpool failed. How can one balance the game with the level-headed exhibition given against Stockport a few days earlier? I leave the puzzle to you, sirs.
It is the habit to nominate the goal getters for special praise but while I chronicle Ernie Gault’s three and Joe Clennell’s two; I would instantly say that neither have scored without the help of comrades. The fact was simply this! Everton’s half-backs strength (experience, heights, weights, and ability to head a ball, check an attack, and “carrying on” frame an attack for the Everton forwards), together with the well balanced attack of Everton, and their “on the target shooting” would have resulted in most opponents giving up the full points. The home side was irresistible and their footwork was with wisdom and direction.
The Early “Worm.”
Of course their path was made easier by the absence of Arthur Metcalf (sympathies to him) and Tommy Lucas (also sympathy –he was off the field after thirty minutes’ play), but I think the surprise first-minute started Liverpool off, their game.
Stephen Murray has always shown pertinacity, and Donald Mackinlay ought to have known better than tempt the outside right as he did, for “Mac” had tried close dribbling against Murray and found him hanging on like a leech. However, Mackinlay loves a swift turnaround, and a dribble and a trice the ball was crossed to Clennell to score.
An early goal is half the battle. It takes two to overcome it and it unbalances many a team. Longworth fought hard against great odds, so that his occasional lapse of form must be lost in the praise that is due him for the way he helped Haughton in goal.
John Bamber could not cope with his wing until late on. Walter Wadsworth was not sure in his passes, and was inclined to undo good work by giving a free kick. He made some of the best efforts at scoring recorded by Liverpool, and I was glad when he got a chest-kick to find that he was able to carry on.
Tommy Cunliffe and Harry Lewis were other reliable members and Cunliffe’s second half sprightliness was worthy of special note.
(Liverpool Echo: April 23, 1917)