December 8, 1930
Great Gurney hat-trick.
The top figure of the season was registered and there were also other incidents of note at Roker. In the second half the players were like moving spectres in the mist as seen from the Press box, and one had largely to gather the trend of events from the shouts of the spectators. The fog was not so bad when viewed from the level of the playing pitch, and the referee was fully justified in continuing to the end.
No doubt the atmospheric conditions handicapped the defenders, particularly in the case of long shots, but this only served as spice to the contest, and the crowd evidently greatly enjoyed the glut of goals.
The margin, however, was so narrow as to provide some anxious moments in the closing stages, and the final whistle was hailed with delight.
During the first half, when visibility was quite good, Sunderland gave a bright and effective display of quick-moving football. There was no dwelling on the ball. It was booted and followed up with a purpose that betokened a business-like mood.
So well did Sunderland acquit themselves in these raids that they appeared to feel inclined to lapsed from good grace and take things easily. To my mind it was when those moods prevailed that Liverpool came to the fore. They were undoubtedly an alert side and very quick to profit from any easing up, or even a semblance of it.
The weather made it impossible to follow the second half with any degree of accuracy, and as each side scored twice it might be called a square deal.
The home forwards gave their best home display of the season, and at times the quality of their work was distinctly high. I would specially single out Gurney, for his leadership, his judgment and distribution were excellent, and he had the satisfaction not only of exceeding his usual but also accomplishing the hat-trick – his first, I believe, in League football.
Connor’s skill and elusiveness fairly baffled the defenders, and Leonard – a doubtful starter up to the last minute – plied his partner judiciously.
Eden and Urwin did well, the former parting with the ball very cleverly, though he was faul when it came to shooting.
The half-backs were good in a very busy period, the inside work of the opposition calling for the best from McDougall and his partner. A defence that allows five goals to count would not usually be designated first class, but in this case there were extenuating circumstances, and the same remark applies to the visiting defenders, who had certainly the greater task and probably suffered most through the anxiety occasioned by Connor, in particular, among the attackers.
Lucas was unlucky enough to deflect a centre from the extreme wingman into goal, and this happened to be the end of Sunderland’s counting. Even this mishap did not disconcert Liverpool, and their perseverance was rewarded with two more goals.
The visitors’ methods were on similar lines to those of Sunderland, and though clever at it they did not finish so smartly as Sunderland. There could be no mistaking, however, the spirited way they went about their task, and the result was a very enjoyable game.
Hopkin had the misfortune to be rather badly injured after 12 minutes’ play, but he pluckily turned out just after the second half started, and the greeting accorded to him was a pleasure to hear. Hodgson, Smith, and Macpherson were clever schemers of the team type, the first-named fully coming to expectations. McDougall was quite as good as his Wearside brother.
The scoring time-table reads: –
Two minutes: Leonard;
Sixty-nine: Lucas (own goal);
Sunderland: Bob Middleton, Bill Murray, Harry Shaw, Sam Morris, Jack McDougall, Alex Hastings, Billy Eden, Tommy Urwin, Bobby Gurney, Jimmy Leonard, James Connor.
Liverpool: Arthur Riley, James Jackson, Tommy Lucas, Tom Morrison, Tom Bradshaw, Jimmy McDougall, Daniel McRorie, Gordon Hodgson, Jimmy Smith, Archie Macpherson, Fred Hopkin.
Referee: H.H. Heath.
(Athletic News, 08-12-1930)
Bobby Gurney, Sunderland’s hat-trick hero at Roker Park.