Stockport County v Liverpool 2-1 (War time League match)

Saturday, March 22 – 1919
Match: Lancashire Section, Principal Tournement, at Edgeley Park, kick-off: 15:20.
Stockport County – Liverpool 2-1 (2-1).
Attendance: 6,000.
Referee: Mr. F.J. Procter.
Stockport County (2-3-5): Jim Goodchild (Manchester City); Bill Goodwin, Fred Garratt; Jimmy Mitton, Fred Fayers, Francis; Harry Crossthwaite, Norman Rodgers, Dick Crawshaw, Cunningham, Jack Curtis.
Liverpool (2-3-5): William Scott; Ephraim Longworth, Billy Jenkinson; John Bamber, Walter Wadsworth, Donald Mackinlay; Harold Wadsworth, John Miller, Billy Matthews, Harry Lewis, Arthur Metcalf.
The goals: 0-1 Lewis (2 min.), 1-1 Cunningham, 2-1 Crawshaw.

Stockport County are a tough lot to face on their own ground, and Liverpool expected a hard game. William Scott returned after absence through sickness, and Schofield was reported a doubtful starter this morning.

We travelled to Stockport beneath leamen skies and with a suggestion of snow in the air.

The outlook at the popular Cheshire town, however, was much brighter, and a capital crowd turned out to see the runners-up for the second place in the tournament.

The Anfielders were forced to make one change at the last moment. Schofield, who sustained a damaged thigh last week, was an absentee, and Metcalf took his place.

The County made two interesting trials. Goodchild, of Manchester City, keeping goal, and Curtis making a post war reappearance at outside left.

The ground if on the soft side was in excellent playing order when the teams lined out.

It was twenty minutes past three when the County started with a slight breeze behind them. They at once moved off on the right, but Rodgers was offside, when he received the pass from Crossthwaite.

The visitors at once made progress in nice order, and Fayers, slipping on the turf, enabled Matthews to forge ahead.

Lewis heads a goal.
The Liverpool centre shot rather weakly, but the leather travelled to Lewis, who got his head to it with rare cleverness, and directed it into the corner of the net. It was a very smart goal, and came within two minutes of the start.

Stockport replied with a breakaway on the left, but Bamber proved quite equal Curtis. The Anfielders were dangerous through the persons of Metcalf and his partner.

Goodwin cleared his line smartly, and the County forwards proceeded to take a prominent hand in the game.
They attacked strongly on the left, where Cunningham was at fault when exceptionally well placed, and a few seconds later Curtis struck the crossbar with a rattling good shot, which deserved a better fate.

For some time Stockport monopolised the offensive though they were held by the Liverpool backs, and when at length Mackinlay served up prettily Metcalf was ruled offside.

The visitors’ right was then busy, Miller getting quickly along and forcing a corner.

This was adroitly placed, and Lewis, using his head again, put the ball just over the bar.

The struggle increased in intensity, and a dangerous movement on the part of the home vanguard terminated in Crawshaw shooting with tremendous force just outside the near upright.

End to end play of a nippy character saw both sides in turn in the ascendant, and a corner to Liverpool presented possibilities, which was lost by Matthews.

At the other end the County men were aggressively active on the left, but Rodgers’s long ground shot was easily gathered by Scott.

Metcalf injured.
The visitors took up the running in turn, and were forcing Goodchild’s hand when Metcalf was hurt in the knee, and had to leave the field.

In spite of this handicap the Anfielders maintained the policy of trustfulness, and Miller was a trifle unlucky in not being able to ram one shot home.

The home right were the first to change the scene of action, where Rodgers had another ineffective pop at goal.

The swing of the pendulum took Liverpool again to the vicinity of the home goa, where Matthews was advantageously situated, when he hesitated and lost possession.

Stockport’s response was equally abortive as from a neat pass by Cunningham Rodgers headed over the bar.

The same ding-dong character was agreeably pursued, and excitement ran high when the County forwards got moving with almost clock-like precision.

The equaliser.
Crossthwaite initiated a movement and racing clean through, passed the ball square to Cunningham, who beat Scott at close range with a fast shot.

As may be imagined the pace now became faster than ever, and Stockport tried desperately hard to gain the lead. First Crawshaw tried his luck with a straight shot which was safely intercepted, and then Curtis put over the bar with a long drive of exceptional velocity.

The County lead.
These efforts stirred the County vanguard to further endeavour, and at length success crowned their efforts.

Wadsworth, for once in a way was quite unable to hold Crawshaw, who broke clean through and scored a glorious individual goal

After this Liverpool tailed off appreciably, but nothing more happened before the interval.

Half-time: Stockport County, 2; Liverpool, 1.

The first period had proved a fairly even and well-balanced one, and Stockport were in the main rather lucky in holding the lead at the interval.

The Anfielders, crippled to an extent by the absence of Metcalf, could not carry their frequent incursions into home territory to a successful issue, though Lewis was untiring in his efforts. He was easily the most prominent of the Liverpool forwards.

The halves presented a sturdy defence to the vigorous rushes of their antagonists, and Bamber was given a warm time in holding Curtis and Cunningham in check.

Both backs were alert and resourceful, and Scott must not be too harshly criticised for the two shots that beat him.

On the home side there was determination in every department, and in the last ten minutes before the half-time Stockport were distinctly the dominating side.

Second half.
Metcalf was still absent when play was resumed, before an increased attendance.

The County at once took up the thread of their thrustful tactics, but first Wadsworth and then Bamber beat them back, and Miller was looking dangerous when he fouled the left back.

The Anfielders came again on the left, and Matthews might have gone on with advantage when he allowed Goodwin to nip in and clear.

The County left wing pair showed a disposition to make matters awkward, Cunningham was pulled up in the nick of time, and for a while play ruled without incidents of note.

Wadsworth and Miller made ground by a series of easy stages, and eventually forced a corner.

This was admirably placed, and Goodchild only saved at the cost of a second place-kick.

Wadsworth again lifted the leather well into the goalmouth, and Matthews, using his height, headed it hard against the crossbar.

The game was now resuming its former speed, and a businesslike breakaway culminated in Mackinlay putting over the bar.

Liverpool’s desperate efforts.
Then ensued a series of vigorous onslaughts by the visitors, and Longworth tried to gain an equaliser with a long drive that sent the ball skimming over the bar.

Considering their still depleted forward line Liverpool were giving a rattling good account of themselves, and for a considerable time the battle lay in the balance.
(Liverpool Football Echo, 22-03-1919)

Liverpool handicapped.
Stockport County have had a depressing experience during the last few weeks, and the loss of their last two home games did not augur well for success in their match at Edgeley Park with Liverpool, but to the delight of some 5,000 spectators the County won by the odd goal of three.

Now I have no desire to detract from the merits of the victory, but he winners were assisted by fortune inasmuch that Liverpool had only ten men for an hour – a very serious handicap indeed. All the same, I rather fancy that the County would have won in any case, as they seemed determined to regain the good graces of their followers.

The home team, by the way, had the assistance of Goodchild, the Manchester City goalkeeper, but he had rather a disconcerting experience, for the game had only been in progress a couple of minutes when he was compelled to lift the ball from the back of the net. He had to come out to save a shot from Matthews, but before he could regain his position Matthews headed through a temporarily unguarded goal.

After Metcalf had retired from the field the County made great improvement, and before the interval had turned an early deficit into a majority of 2-1 in their favour.

The two goals were due in a great measure to the excellent wing play of Crossthwaite, who gave Cunningham the pass which produced the equalising point, while he also engineered the scheme which enabled Crawshaw to obtain the winning goal.

The County gave a very pleasing exhibition, being sound in every department. Goodchild performed his part well in strange company, and the backs were very serviceable even if Garratt does not possess the judgment of his partner.

Mitton was the best of the half-backs, for he was strong in defence, and in addition seldom wasted a ball when he had the slightest prospect of pushing his own wing forward. Fayers was enthusiastic, as he usually is, but his kicking was erratic on occasions.

Their forward line was much superior to Liverpool’s even when the latter had a full complement. Cranshaw made a capital centre-forward, and his goal was a great personal achievement, for after receiving Crossthwaite’s pass he threaded his way past three opponents ere taking deliberate aim.

Curtis also pleased me very much as an outside-left, particularly in the first half, when he put in some telling centres. He is a former Stockport player, but has been associated with Brentford for some time. Crossthwaite and Rodgers formed a reliable right wing – as usual, I might add.

Liverpool were undoubtedly in unequal competition. Metcalf was not fouled when he was injured. Mackinlay went up to help the forwards in the second half, recourse being made more or less to two half-backs.

Matthews, the centre-forward, was full of energy, but he compared very unfavourably with Crawhshaw in tactics. Miller was the most likely forward to score, and though Lewis was a box of tricks he could not manage the wining himself. Among the defenders Longworth came out best, though Jenkinson was a sturdy tackler and a strong kicker.
(The Athletic News, 24-03-1919)

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