Liverpool’s forward failings

April 30, 1945
Reason for Liverpool s surprising defeat at Chesterfield can be traced to forward failing. Had the attack functioned with the same accuracy as  the defence the Reds would still be in the Cup. I say this while appreciating that in the first half the Reds’ forwards served up the best football of the day, and dominated the proceedings that they should have had it all tied up by half time.

The approach at that time, definitely, was of a high standard, but there was not sufficient punch, and the line sadly missed a real connecting link at inside-right. Berry Nieuwenhuys tried to divide his attentions between inside-right and half-back-cum-back with the result that he became neither and even when Nieuwenhuys went to outside-right he failed to settle.

The swapping of forward positions in the second half did not improve matters at a time when Chesterfield struck their brightest patch and smote Liverpool hard and long with their full-blooded, pace-laden attacks.

Harry Eastham, a master ball-player early on, became a neglected unit, and Willie Fagan was too cumbersome, so that only the willing Jim Harley and the always brilliant Phil Taylor brought any danger to bear on the Town goal.

I thought Taylor easily the best forward of the game, and the Reds’ four-point line moved well early on when the half-backs served them so judiciously. Luck was not with Liverpool in front of goal, however, and the Chesterfield people admitted to me at half-time that they were fortunate not to be two goals down.

Afterwards it was an entirely different story, and with Liverpool having “bellows” to mend at the mend at the end of an hour the Derbyshire boys went through to a well-earned win.

There was touch of luck about the deciding goal for Billy Linacre bad his back to the goal when he hooked the ball to the goalmouth more in hope than in earnest and Des Collins managed to turn it through from one yard.

Matt Busby. Laurie Hughes and Harry Kaye were grand all through with Alf Hobson, Jack Westby and Jeff Gulliver constituting a strong defensive barrier. Hughes, I thought the mightiest of all in this excellent defence which stood up so bravely against this high-powered Chesterfield and the elements during testing second-half moments.

The men Liverpool missed more than any others were Billy Lidded and Don Welsh.

Liverpool had 135 minutes in which to win the tie and failed. Chesterfield had 45 minutes on top and succeeded. That is the curious feature the tie. Apart from the result the trip was a huge success under the leadership of Vice-Chairman Mr. Stanley Ronald Williams, supported by Directors Messrs. William Harvey Webb, Walter Henry Cartwright. William John Harrop, James Troop. George Alfred Richards and Ralph Knowles Milne. Manager Mr. George Kay, and Mr. John Charles Rouse, leader of the glee party.
(Evening Express: April 30, 1945)


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