Hickson again Liverpool's main hope

The deciding issue of this match came in the 37th minute when a combination of mistake and opportunism gave Lincoln a leading goal and set them on the road to victory, which illustrated once more that directness in football is often more important than pretty midfield tip-tapping.

Liverpool had pulled back an eighth minute goal from Lincoln centre forward Graver with one from Hickson twenty minutes later, and with the Anfield side having more of the play there was the prospect that they could go through to a win providing they realised that you cannot beat a defence packing system by a policy of crossfield approach play.

It was a close passing interlude between Molyneux and Wheeler inside their own half which broke down that led to Lincoln going in front in that thirty-seventh minute. The ball was pushed through the middle with wandering right winger McClelland in pursuit.

Even then it seemed likely that the outcoming of Rudham would win the race and it was a surprise when McClelland managed to push the ball under the goalkeeper's body into the net.

Win deserved

In the end Lincoln deserved to win because they cut out the frills and used the ball while Liverpool played so negatively in midfield that the Lincoln defence always had time to fall back and find the ideal position to counter a policy which scorned the first time pass.

Lincoln's third goal in 62 minutes was the direct result of Melia's failure to move the ball with speed, for he was robbed in midfield and in three passes the opening was made for Linnecor to hit a shot which came back to him from a defender, and the next time his drive flashed to the top corner of the net.

Graver's last goal at 75 minutes was another instance of the through ball, a headed flick on by Harbertson and the drive past Rudham. Although Liverpool did profit from the lesson when Hunt scored their second goal six minutes from time when Harrower, for once, whipped the ball ahead first time, they left it much too late.

For most of the time the spectacle was of a solid barrier of Lincoln defenders, having their job made easy.

They also tackled and covered well and this, allied to a second half spell when Liverpool's passing broke down made certain that the recent revival of the City team was in little danger of being halted.

Lincoln have a good centre half in Gratton, a dangerous winger in McClelland and Graver, at centre forward, produced the finishing power which made him an expensive buy in the past.

Insipid Liverpool

White looked the best of the Liverpool defence although Moran and Molyneux fought hard, but where the drive was lacking was at wing half. Wheeler and Wilkinson can play clever football and did so, but the ground covering movement is not there, especially when speedy recovery was the demand. This must be Liverpool's next signing task, although one could not be happy about the attack.

The experiment of playing Harrower on the right wing must end. A winger's job is to go forward with speed and Harrower has not got this, so that he looks plainly unhappy in the role.

Hunt did not really come into the game until the later stages, so we were left with Hickson and A'Court as the only forwards to emerge with credit.

Hickson, I think, satisfied the Liverpool party that he can do the centre forward job competently if he gets the right kind of backing.

Conduct exemplary

For me he had a good game and his goal was brilliantly taken from one of the three chances he had. The cool way he dribbles around Heath and then picked his spot was one of the very few classic moments.

If Hickson had scored three it would not have been out of place, because he was thwarted when a shot struck Gratton on the line and in the second half Heath somehow got his hands to a close range drive which would have scored if it had been a little to one side.

Add to this a chance Hickson made for Melia and his contribution far outstripped that of anyone else. That he was booed by some Lincoln supporters was a little unjust because until he was penalised for an offence on Middleton in the last minute and, in my view, accidentally came in contact with the referee as he came away with the ball, his conduct was exemplary.

Copyright - Liverpool Daily Post

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