March 8, 1926
The success of the game at Anfield was marred by the fact that several players outran discretion. The cause was doubtful, but an element of roughness was introduced during the second half, which compelled Mr. Scholey to assemble the teams to give them a short lecture.
The warning had a salutary effect, but the proceedings leading up to the stoppage 35 minutes from the close were outside the pale of good sportsmanship, and it would not have occasioned surprised if marching orders had been given.
Tottenham were slightly the more accomplished team, but the artistry of the forwards, who would persist in the close game, never appeared likely to succeed against Liverpool’s rugged defence. The visitors’ combined work and elusive movements to the goal area invariably caused the Liverpool defenders much anxiety, but they would not, at close quarters, take even an ordinary risk. They delayed their efforts, and McNab, Lucas and Mackinlay are not the type of players to allow much quarter.
Though the movements of the Liverpool forwards were not so prettily executed, their methods were more direct, and had the attackers been alert enough to counter the exploitation of offside tactics by the Tottenham defenders, they probably would have taken an early lead.
Defensive work on both sides, however, was the dominant factor. All the artistry of the visiting forwards did not overcome the stern defensive methods of Scott, Lucas and Mackinlay, though in the closing minutes, when Dimmock became a potent factor, Scott had a big task.
The Clay, though he so frequently resorted to exploiting offside tactics, was the master mind in the visitors’ defence, his positional play being such that Hopkin had a lean time. Forster, too, was a stalwart, and Smith completed a strong trio.
Half-back play was up to a good standard, with Skitt, in the first half, a real craftsman, in addition to testing Scott with a long shot which was topped over the post.
Play opened at a brisk pace, and Liverpool might have thought themselves unlucky when, after four minutes, Forshaw, from two yards out, drove against the goalkeeper’s face for the ball to cannon off the post out of play. Hodgson also came near shortly afterwards, and then Osborne paid the penalty by delaying his shot.
Smith’s daring saves.
Shortly after the interval Hopkin eluded Clay and placed a high dropping centre. The ball looked like finding its way to the foot of Hodgson, who was unmarked, when Smith leaped to securely hold the ball and clear. It was a clever feat.
The feeling I have referred to began to assert itself after 20 minutes, and for 10 minutes there were repeated stoppages. The closing stages were contested in a better spirit, and the outstanding incident in this period was one in which Forshaw and Smith (J.) were concerned.
The former, by wonderful ball control, wended his way through the defence, and a goal looked imminent when Smith came out at the right moment to fling himself forward and deflect the ball outside. Shooting in the later stages was monopolised by Dimmock, when, however, cold not master Scott.
Thompson and Seed, in the first half, did good work, but little was seen of them later. Osborne was well held by Cockburn, and the same may be said of Forshaw, but it took more than Skitt to arrest his progress. Hodgson, in his first game at Anfield, showed resource, and with a little speeding up he should prove a reliable partner to Oxley.
Liverpool: Elisha Scott, Tommy Lucas, Donald Mackinlay, John McNab, William Cockburn, David Pratt, Cyril Oxley, Gordon Hodgson, Dick Forshaw, Harry Chambers, Fred Hopkin.
Tottenham Hotspur: Jimmy Smith, Tommy Clay, Matt Forster, Bert Smith, Harry Skitt, Sid White, Andy Thompson, Jimmy Seed, Frank Osborne, Jack Elkes, Jimmy Dimmock.
Referee: Mr. A. Scholey, Sheffield.
(Athletic News: March 8, 1926)