April 24, 1922
It is only human nature that a deep sense of pleasure is felt in taking revenge on those who have foiled ones plans, and in this sense Cardiff City drained the cup of joy to the last dreg at Ninian Park.
A week ago Liverpool accomplished the generally accredited impossible feat of piercing the defence of the Welshmen no fewer than five times. On Saturday Cardiff won by two goals, and certainly the score does not convey adequate representation of Cardiff City’s superiority on the day’s play. A nearer estimate would be a round half dozen, and yet strangely enough both goals were scored within the first seven minutes.
The two goals.
Before Mr. Holmes’s watch ad ticked off 60 seconds, Clennell received a beautifully-placed ball from Blair. Into the centre he swung it, and Len Davies promptly lifted the ball over the head of Longworth for Gill to burst through and beat Scott with a drive that brooked no interference.
Six minutes afterwards Grimshaw crossed to his extreme left colleague, Evans, who smashed in a dazzling drive. Scott, by superhuman effort saved it near the post, but such was the speed he could not hold it, and Len Davies was on the spot to turn the ball into the unguarded net.
Those were the only two goals, ninety minutes of dour, earnest, and off-times brilliant, football yielded. High-standard of play was exhibited by both teams, but the football was delightfully clean. There were injuries, it was true, Jack Page, Ben Davies, Hardy and Lucas meeting with temporary misfortune, but these mishaps were purely the outcome of the shear whole-heartedness on the part of every one of the participants.
Fortune played little part in the game, which resolved itself into a battle of brains and skill. Ability was always the dominating factor, and Liverpool were defeated simply because they didn’t reached the very high standard attained by their opponents. To point to one department that excelled above all others would be difficult, but to my mind the greatest strength of the home team lay in the intermediate line, where Smith, Hardy, and Keenor played captivatingly at all times.
The keen, defensive work of Smith, combined with the accuracy with which he fed his inside men, was astonishingly good, and in point of general brilliance he was only superseded by one man in both teams and that was his left flank colleague.
A sound half-back.
Hardy has rendered much valuable service to Cardiff City, but I doubt very strongly whether he has ever played a more forceful, solid, and excellent game than he did against Liverpool. In Forshaw he had to contend with the best of the Liverpool forwards.
The visiting inside right exploited every avenue of advantage open to him. Yet Hardy always found an effective counter, and more often than not reduced the Liverpool right wing to a state of impotence. It was Hardy at his very best, and one cannot pay him a greater compliment.
On the other flank Keenor was a sterling defender and a source of danger in attack. His shooting powers from long range, and his ability to get the best out of Grimshaw, were evident.
By comparison the Liverpool half-backs were just solid. Wadsworth never failed to serve the men in front of him, and Bromilow demonstrated effectively many pretty touches and his power of control over the ball.
McNab was unfortunate. The Clennell-Evans combination on the extreme left of the Cardiff attack gave him a harrowing time. McNab went all out in an honest and determined endeavour to gain mastery, but he could never cope with the wizardry of Clennell and the daring, dashing wingman beside him.
Lucas had many anxious moments, and he and Longworth performed prodigies in staving off the incisive City forwards. Liverpool owe a great deal to Lucas and Longworth, and even more to Scott. The Irish international gave one of the finest all-round exhibitions of goalkeeping ever seen at Ninian Park. He was tested with shots of all speeds, at all heights, and varying angles, and how he managed to pull down some of the fast rising shots from the Cardiff inside forwards is a mystery that only Scott himself can solve. He was easily the outstanding figure in both teams.
Comparison of the two forward lines is difficult. Liverpool were held in a vice-like grip by the Cardiff half-backs, and with Chambers largely overshadowed by Smith, Hopkin and Lacey did not enjoy the measure of opportunity to which they have been accustomed this season.
Beadles was not sufficiently experienced to cope with Keenor, and the outcome was that Hopkin got few opportunities to reveal his capabilities. As I have said before, Forshaw was the brightest spot in the attack.
Cardiff City: Ben Davies, Jack Page, Jimmy Blair, Fred Keenor, Bert Smith, Billy Hardy, Billy Grimshaw, Jimmy Gill, Len Davies, Joe Clennell, Jimmy Evans.
Liverpool: Elisha Scott, Tommy Lucas, Ephraim Longworth, John McNab, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, William Lacey, Dick Forshaw, Harry Chambers, George Harold Beadles, Fred Hopkin.
(The Athletic News: April 24, 1922)