September 3, 1918
Last season’s champions of the Lancashire section opened the present campaign with a very creditable victory over Burslem Port Vale on Saturday. They had to go all the way, though, in order to accomplish this, for they were two goals down at the interval.
As may be gathered from this fact and the ultimate result, the game was a very keenly-contested and strenuous one. There were occasions, too, when the football, especially on the part of the visitors, was of quite a pre-war character in its cleverness, and the game generally 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 Worthy, the inside right, though Harold Edgley, the outside left, and Shelton, the opposite winger, were primarily concerned in the successful movements.
On crossing over the 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 equalizing ten minutes from the finish, and the crowd had scarcely realized this before the third goal was registered. This came through 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 vigorously really 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 forward on the field.
Bennett was a thorough trier throughout, but unlucky – as witness an unregistered penalty.
The halves were in the main satisfactory, and Ephraim Longworth and Tommy Lucas showed their old powers of defence.
For Port Vale, Edgely, Worthy, and Shelton all did well, and their rearguard was thoroughly sound.
Result: Liverpool 3 goals, Port Vale 0.
(Source: Liverpool Daily Post: September 3, 1918)