January 3, 1939
Conditions beat Reds at Middlesbrough.
Liverpool went to Cleveleys today to have a tonic for Saturday’s FA Cup-tie against Luton Town at Anfield. The trip was not in the nature of special training, but more for a rest after their strenuous holiday programme in which they have played five matches in ten days.
There is little doubt but that Jim Harley will be fit, and Arthur Riley and Tommy Cooper will in all probability be available. All these players were in the Cleveleys party with Mr. William Harvey Webb, Mr. Stanley Ronald Williams and the manager, Mr. George Kay.
Willie Fagan and Matt Busby both suffered from ankle knocks, but they are not serious.
Golf will be the chief recreation, with plenty of long sea walks.
Liverpool needed the rest after the gruelling they received at Ayresome Park yesterday, when Middlesbrough beat them 3-0 on a ground which was a positive quagmire.
In the opening half, Liverpool more than held their own, but they lacked the finishing quality. Jack Balmer missed two glorious openings – one when he had only Nash to beat.
The ground became churned up, and in the second half Middlesbrough had it all their own way. They pressed almost continuously, and might have added to the goals taken by Milne and Fenton (2) had there been more team thought near goal.
Peter’s good debut.
There was one gratifying point so far as the Reds were concerned. This was that Keith Peters, the young Port Sunlight boy proved himself a useful deputy at full-back. He was one of the few players to succeed.
He was often beaten in the close tackle, but his positional play was good, and he used the ball as well as any player on the field.
Bernard Ramsden, too, did well, but Tom Bush, after a fine first half was too often drawn into a false position later on, and being unable to turn in the mud, Fenton had a royal time.
All four wing half-backs were excellent, in fact, it was they who dictated the way the game should run. Matt Busby and James McInnes were always working to a definite end, but the forwards did not respond well. Fagan was a worker, but Phil Taylor faded out after being a real menace in the early stages. Balmer had one of his poorest days.
It was staying power as much as anything else which enabled a clever ‘Borough to enhance their home record.
While the grounds remain as they are, it is incumbent on the Liverpool players to keep the ball moving about. It is the easiest and most effective way. Middlesbrough did it.
(Evening Express: January 3, 1939)