The lay of Liverpool


December 17, 1917
The Liverpool Club now, more than ever, have reason to remember Rochdale. Followers of the game will recall how last season the Spotland team knocked an ugly hole in the Anfielders’ armour.

On Saturday they did much more damage, for they smashed three cherished Merseyside records. The inflicted upon the Liverpudlians their first defeat; prevented any one of the side from scoring, and robbed Tommy Bennett of his customary goal.

It was a fast and exciting contest, full of episode and characterised by great strenuousness of purpose on either side. Liverpool throughout the first half were decidedly the better side, but their over-anxiety to score proved their undoing. Time after time Bennett led his forces with the dash and gallantry of a cavalry leader, only to see his efforts shattered by the rock-like defence of the Rochdale rear-guard. Once the home team had gained the lead their confidence became redoubled, and in the closing stages they were clearly masters of the situation. The fortune of war had gone all against the visitors. With the slightest slice of luck some of their shots must have got home – over-eagerness and a sturdy defence proved their undoing.

Liverpool set a tremendous pace, and in the first few minutes Bennett rained in several shots which were cleared, while Harry Lewis put in a memorable effort that would inevitably have told in ninety nine cases out of a hundred.

The Rochdale forwards were more methodical. They worried the Anfield halves with dogged persistence, and eventually a bad miskick on the part of Walter Wadsworth let in Tom Page, who netted with due celerity.

The visitors made desperate efforts to remedy this lapse, George Schofield, Bennett and Arthur Metcalf trying in turn to equalise, but all to no purpose, and the spoils remained with the Spotlanders.

The Liverpool centre-forward’s activities were hampered throughout by Tweedale Rigg, a young centre half who “rode to orders” with a tenacity that marks the coming craftsman. He stuck to Bennett like a shadow, and with both Harry Millership and Danny Crossan always on alert the Anfielders’ attack was rarely permitted to prevail.

Wadsworth and his colleagues strove gallantly to feed their own rear-guard and check the opposing forces, and both Billy Jenkinson and Ephraim Longworth did their share in stalling off further disaster. For the home side, Tom Kay kept a wonderful goal; Jim Tully was a great aid to Rigg in breaking up the Anfield advances, and Albert Smith once again showed himself one of the most polished wingers playing football.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: December 17, 1917)

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