October 5, 1942
As I anticipated Liverpool duly preserved their unbeaten record and completed their “double” by beating Bury at Anfield. The Reds won 5-2, but the score was not a true reflection of the game. Give each club another five goals apiece and you would be nearer the mark. Not for long time have I seen a game with so much goalmouth incident and excitement.
It was a long succession of thrills served up at a pace almost hectic. Liverpool thoroughly deserved to keep up their remarkable run of successes against Bury in wartime football, but this was the brightest Anfield show we have seen from Bury since ersatz football came into being. Had ordinary luck favoured some of the Bury efforts they would have had a few more goals. Still, that also goes for Liverpool to a certain extent.
One may argue that luck was with the Reds in the scoring of their first two goals – in nine minutes – for each shot went in off an opponent, but those “cannons” were only incidental to the actual expert play which led to the goals – first Billy Liddell’s corkscrew run through, then Cyril Done’s knife-like dash down the centre. It was the perfection of approach which made these goals.
Honours to Bury for their fight back, which was rewarded by Carter’s goal born of some delicate approach work. In fact, Bury’s approach was generally of high order because their half backs served the attack with greater effect than did the Liverpool trio. Bury were always game fighters, but Michael Hulligan dashed in to put them two in arrears at the interval, and George Mills contributed one of his “walk-‘em-in” goals right after the interval. Then Done crowned one of the game’s best concerted movements with number five.
It seemed all over Bury but they had a “life” when the Reds conceded a penalty. Alf Hobson, however, once again proved he is getting an adept at penalty-stopping for he saved Davies’s effort. Davies atoned just after, but that was all, for whereas Bury continued to fully extend the Liverpool defence it was the Reds who looked more likely to hit the net again.
The real Mills.
The game rammed home the fact that George Mills, the Chelsea leader has now reached the form which brought him England honours and which made him one of the most-feared leaders in the land. I shall never forget his cracking home four against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge one day. Well, Mills took some time to settle down to his best form with the Reds, but Saturday proved that we now have the real Mills in our midst.
Mills is a leader who relies far more on skill than dash. On Saturday he gave a delightful display of considered leadership in which the brain played as important a part as the foot. His control and smooth way in which he moved to position were the fundamentals of a fine show.
Jack Balmer came back to apply characteristic touches, although he was a bit crowded out of the close work – due to that recent injury. Done was his usual bluff, go-ahead self, and I like Hulligan better than against Everton. Well-nursed he should make the grade. Liddell, of course, was Liddell at his brightest and best, and that is saying a lot.
This attack was good, and father back young Fred Finney, ably advised by Eric Keen, took my eyes. Not many players of his small experience can get up to a ball like this Prescot boy. Roy Guttridge was the best defender afield – a clubman if ever there were one.
Bury’s 16-year-old right winger, Potts made an instant appeal to me, and there is no denying the value of 18-year-old outside left, Carter.
The visiting folk under Messrs. Prestwich and Duckworth went home well satisfied, for had they not shared in receipts representing 8,362 spectators? A distinguished gathering included Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the Solicitor General, whose duties prevent his enjoying more of his favourite week-end sport diversion.
(Evening Express, 05-10-1942)
One of the spectators, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe.