September 3, 1917
Your ain fireside was very tempting on Saturday, no doubt. That was one reason why the crowds at the opening games of footer were not up to former standards. Still there were many thousands of soldiers and others who, tired of sitting in and awaiting a ray of sunshine, wended their way to the football match, and found recreation in the sport. Locally we have led off with a capital double event. Everyone expected Everton to win, but Liverpool at Burslem were faced with something more rugged than usual, especially as Villa players had been called up to help Port Vale.
There must be a prophet without honour in the “Programme” offices. He put up Liverpool’s score at half time as 3-0, then took it down and showed them with a cipher, and finally had to put the figure 3 back to Liverpool’s credit. Liverpool were ever a surprise club, and Saturday’s victory was a surprise indeed – scoring as is often the case early on in the season.
The game was a happy augury for the maintenance of the best standard of the sport during the coming winter. Heavy rain had rendered the ground at Hanley distinctly on the soft side, yet the pace was set and kept throughout at a most invigorating rate, while the varying fortunes of the contest sustained the keenest interest of the spectators till the final blast of the whistle.
In the opening half the Anfielders were obviously the better side – quicker on the ball, more systematic in attack, and better balanced, generally. Yet they had the mortification of seeing two capital goals registered against them. Both these points came from the finishing touch of Sammy Worthy, the inside right, though Harold Edgeley, the outside left, and George Shelton, the opposite winger, were primarily concerned in the successful movements.
On crossing over he visitors were given their first goal by Tommy Bennett, the Vale half-back, who inadvertently put the leather into the net in trying to divert a swift shot. John Bamber subsequently had the satisfaction of equalising ten minutes from the finish, and the crowd had scarcely realised this before the third goal was registered. This came through Jonathan Hammond, the home keeper, holding on to the ball too long, for before he could part with it Bennett had rushed both custodian and leather well into the net.
Port Vale made a vigorous rally without effect, and in the last few minutes Liverpool, with the least luck, might have put on at least two more goals.
The Anfielders shaped well in all departments, and will do even better when there is a more definite understanding. Robert Waine, for instance, was starved in the first half, while when properly fed in the second he was the best forward on the field. Bennett was a thorough trier throughout, but unlucky – as witness an requited penalty.
The halves were in the main satisfactory, and Ephraim Longworth and Tommy Lucas showed their old powers of defence.
For Port Vale, Edgeley, Worthy, and Shelton all did well, their their rearguard was thoroughly sound.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: September 3, 1917)