Preston North End v Liverpool 1-3 (League match)

Saturday, September 9 – 1922
Match: Football League, First Division, at Deepdale, kick-off: 15:00.
Preston North End – Liverpool 1-3 (1-1).
Attendance: 34,000.
Referee: Mr. G.D. Nunnerley (Ellesmere).
Preston North End (2-3-5): Jimmy Branston, Tommy Hamilton, George Speak, Tom Duxbury, Joe McCall, James Ferris, Archie Rawlings, Roland Woodhouse, Tommy Roberts, George Sapsford, Alf Quantrill.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Elisha Scott, Ephraim Longworth, Donald Mackinlay, John McNab, Walter Wadsworth, Tom Bromilow, William Lacey, Dick Forshaw, Dick Johnson, Harry Chambers, Fred Hopkin.
The goals: 0-1 Wadsworth (31 min.), 1-1 Quantrill (35 min.), 1-2, Johnson (56 min.), 1-3 Chambers (72 min.).

Liverpool revolutionise a drab beginning.
With the pageantry fete and feast of Preston’s Historic Guild drawing near its allotting span, a fitting accompaniment was the visit of the champions of football to Deepdale to celebrate the sport of the people. There was a fly in the ointment, however, North End did not maintain the dignity or the unalloyed joy of the town festival. They utilised the occasion to descend to the crudest level they have reached, I should say, for many a day.

To give Liverpool their due, however, they were in a degree responsible for the obliteration of the North End in the later stages of the game. True, North End were cruelly afflicted by the indisposition of Doolan, Mercer, and Quinn. Nevertheless, the decisiveness of the defeat was not due to individual factors as much as to the failure of a team.

During the first half neither eleven gave a hint of the qualities that earned them repute last season. I looked in vain for Liverpool’s craft and for North End’s buoyancy and virility. A curious lassitude prevailed, though one notable exception to all the ills of which others were heir was Joseph McCall.

He could master the ball. His contemporaries played it mostly in the air and enmeshed themselves in futility. Firstly, the half-backs were to blame for want of constructive acumen; secondly, the forwards, when they did attain some mobility, speedily disintegrated into meandering units. I speak of both teams.

The great recovery.
Obviously this game was a gift for the team that could show their real selves. Liverpool did it. Hence their success, worthy beyond question. Rising to something approaching the championship-standard they simply revolutionised the character and the balance of the play.

The ball, previously the master, was not the servant. Intuitive tackling by the backs, but especially the half-backs, who had been so haphazard, was the genesis of thoughtful manoeuvre, and thereby the creation of positions for neat bestowal of the balk.

Whereupon the forwards responded with an astonishing accession of tactful, concerted, and incisive attacks. They were like so many will o’ the wisps to the Preston defence. The goal was made so easy of access that Branston during successive periods was alone in his glory.

I say glory advisedly, for Branston’s stupendous goalkeeping alone prevented Liverpool winning by half a dozen goals. True, North End made desperate rallies, but the same irresponsibility of method pervaded them throughout. Liverpool handsomely redeemed the quality of the game.

In the course of the waywardness that characterised the early phase the certain liveliness that occasionally took place in front of either goal was generally the result merely of misplaced energy. It was left to a half-back to make an impression. Both Hamilton and McCall tamely nodded the ball out from a corner, and Wadsworth, taking the ball in his stride, sent it at a thrilling pace high into the net.

One of the best movements of the match. All up the Preston right flank, produced the equalising goal. McNab failed to stop Eawling’s centre, as once previously when Scott repaired the error. This time Quantrill came into possession, and by the force behind the ball it penetrated between Scott and the post. But a headed effort by Johnson only luckily his Duxbury to prevent Liverpool taking the lead again before the interval.

Ten minutes afterwards the force of assertiveness shown by Liverpool was emphasised by a goal. Hamilton misjudged the ball, and Hopkin raced round him, converged on the goal, and cutely passed inside for Johnson to score with the utmost ease.

In turn Johnson pivoted and gave Chambers a gem of a pass, so that the latter drove the ball to its billet in a flash.

Moreover, he hit the post, and Branston made an amazing save at full length with one hand from Forshaw. What with achieving the apparently impossible by urging the ball over the bar and clinging to shots at close quarters. Branston was the salvation of a defence otherwise at a loss.

Two saviours of Preston.
It was a great day for Branston. That he was not rendered an even more forlorn figure of resistance was due to McCall, who, after seeing his masterly offensive repeatedly ruined, as regularly recovered and assisted in repulsing the Liverpool forwards. Indeed for a long time his wisdom held a restraint on the Liverpool inside forward before they got within striking distance. The subtleties of his foot provided alluring opportunities. Never was finer provision made for forwards; never was it more flagrantly wasted.

McCall visibly tired under the burden, but he had a masterly aptitude for a great defensive effort in a serious situation. Easily McCall and Branston were the master men of North End.

Hamilton continues to vary between positive brilliance and a fatal hesitancy in timing his tackles and the ball. Speak was the more reliable. His tackling was generally sound, and his kicking, if rather too forceful, at least promptly disposed of awkward situations.

The wing half-back, Duxbury and Ferris, were moderate. The former did slip some nice passes to his wing, and, no doubt, suffered by comparison with the way in which they were ill requited. All the same, a weakness in his defence was found. Ferris did perhaps as well as could be expected of one who is recognised as a forward. But why experiment when there is a Cup final half-back and others accustomed to the position in reserve?

Forward Roberts, who showed lameness at time, was a forceful raider, but not good in control, and, therefore, not one to co-ordinate. However, he had precious little support from the two other inside forwards. Woodhouse got himself into inextricable positions, and Rawlings wheeled about until he was dispossessed in the majority of likely advances. Quantrill, however, played with some confidence and skill.

Greater potency forward.
The power of Liverpool’s defence, which wielded such a big influence on the team’s success last season, is unimpaired. But the forwards have acquired created potency leading up to and in front of goal. This may be ascribed very largely to the return of the leader, Johnson.

Scott radiated security in goal with the few anxieties that came his way. He was splendidly covered by Longworth and Mackinlay, backs who tackled with relentless precision, whose watchword was “Forward!” all the time, and whose kicking was actuated by the benefit that might be conferred on those in front. They were a fine blend, quite excelling the Preston pair.

The half-backs did not play the ball on the grass as I have known them to do. Even Bromilow was not his classical self. Wadsworth was primarily an intervener, and most useful with his head. The same applied to McNab, who was mere laboured and uncertain when a decisive tackle near goal was needed.

Still, the line improved and gave an incentive to an attack that, once the inspiration was acquired proclaimed themselves as one of the most finished and most dangerous in the League. Johnson is quite apart from the prevalent type of centre forwards. He passed ingeniously with head and foot; he had the capacity to hold the ball, to pivot, and to swerve, and the initiative to make a solo effort.

All this was observable though for a long time McCall held the Liverpool centre forward. Alongside Johnson were Chambers, a combination of forcefulness and skill, and Forshaw, clever in control and revealing a fine burst of speed. Both collaborated well with their wing extremes. Both Hopkin and Lacey could bring the ball to their toes and make a sharp inside pass or career along the win and deliver a centre fraught with menace.
(The Athletic News, 11-09-1922)

Sketch from the Liverpool Echo, Monday, September 11 – 1922.
1922 PNE v LFC sketch Liverpool Echo

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