Southport’s errors at Anfield

March 4, 1940
Liverpool won their way to the Liverpool Senior Cup final by a victory over Southport, at Anfield, by 5 goals to 1. Among those present were chairman of the Liverpool club, Mr. William John Harrop, fresh from his grand work at the Leeds conference, ex-Anfielders Alex Raisbeck, Len Carney now fit after a troublesome ankle injury, and newly-married Mr. and Mrs. Tom Bush.

Tom had been made captain for the day, to mark his wedding and to substitute for Tommy Cooper, who found himself at Manchester when he should have been in the dressing-room at Anfield. Travelling difficulties are not the least worrying part of war-time football, and with so many men in the Army, Liverpool have had more than their fair share of uncertainty.

It is well to remember when watching the team these days that the Army lads have to be up at six to get to the match in time, and afterwards they dash back, doing the last part of their trip to the station on foot, starting at 11 p.m. Who said they were well paid at 30s a game?

All such matters considered, we can thank our stars we have any worthwhile football. This latest victory was pleasing, but the second half was not quite so interesting as it might have been. Certainly Southport had themselves to blame for most of their troubles. They recovered to 2-1 after being 2-0 down, and then missed a gilt-edged chance to draw level.

Having survived the threat, Liverpool, always the better finishers, piled on the goals. Harry Stevenson had to play well to keep the margin to five – a good goalkeeper, this – and Southport as a whole played well enough until they reached the shooting-box. Here they were wild, woolly, and wayward.

Jack Balmer’s return showed him to be not so fot as he might be after a lengthy absence, but still the magnificent juggler of a ball. He scored twice, as did Willie Fagan, whose play nowadays is about the best he has ever put forward in Liverpool colours. I think he will make his mark on the same ground in the Red Cross match next week. I only hope that that last-minute changes will give the authorities the chance to remedy their omission of Matt Busby, who had a grand game at Bradford.

Billy Liddell had yet another good match, with a “planted” goal for Fagan as the start of it, but he had not nearly so much work as he might have had. Bernard Ramsden did particularly well at full back and the half-back line was earnest and successful in all its endeavours.

Southport, who have brought back Jack Little, a full-back who played for them many seasons ago, have a forward of great promise in Teddy Rothwell, but they will have to score from such easy chances as they had here if they want to be classes as a good side.
(Liverpool Echo: March 4, 1940)

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