Sounded like a home game
BLACKBURN 1, LIVERPOOL 2 by HORACE YATES
It sounded like a home game for Liverpool as they took the field for there was a terrific reception from every corner of the ground.
Thompson was in action from the start, following a clever run by Stevenson who hoodwinked the defence by back-heeling to the winger, Thompson brought St John into play on the left wing and Bray was lucky to clear as Hunt rushed in.
Blackburn were not slow in responding and Yeats tripped Douglas just outside the area. The corner which followed came to nothing.
When St John and Thompson combined cleverly a promising move was stopped by Bray tripping the winger. Douglas sent in an in-swinger corner menacingly towards goal. As the ball threatened to dip under the bar, up went Lawrence to make a fine save.
TAKING NO CHANCES
Bray was taking no chances at all with Thompson and earned the referees rebuke for a wild kick. Liverpool are expecting much from the Thompson signing and if the first minutes were any indication, their hopes will not be misplaced. He flashed around Bray as though the full back was not there and his centre overshot the goal to Callaghan. Again, the splendid positioning of the Blackburn defence came to the Rovers aid and Callaghan’s centre came to nothing.
Clayton received treatment for a knock over the left eye but was able to continue. As well as proving a forceful player, Thompson revealed himself as a veritable box of tricks. As the period of Liverpool pressure was eased, the tall Rovers centre forward, Pickering showed what a menace he can be in front of goal when he rose high in the air to head a Harrison centre narrowly wide of goal.
No praise could be too high for the start Peter Thompson had made. His ability to turn on a sixpence and beat a man was remarkable and Rovers answered the menace he presented with first-time, determined tackles, frequently penalised. Stevenson was losing no opportunity to bring the winger into action – paying tactics indeed and as a variation, Thompson crossed the ball from one side of the field to Callaghan on the other without quite achieving his objective.
Raid after raid Liverpool produced and the most dangerous one of all featuring Melia, St John and Thompson ended this time because for once in a while, Thompson failed to beat Bray.
Clayton knocked out when he got in the way of a Callaghan drive and had to retire momentarily.
Stevenson and Milne were a magnificent pair of wing halves with Stevenson supplying most of the attacking moves and Milne excelling when there was defensive work to be done. Liverpool’s role had been one of almost no-stop aggression for the first 20 minutes and they were worth at least a one goal lead.
Douglas was a tricky customer when opportunity presented itself and although he had the satisfaction of outwitting Stevenson, he reckoned without the Scots powers of recovery as he came along to whip the ball from the surprised wingers toes.
Douglas wandered into the middle in an effort to take a greater share in the attack and he soon had Bryom trying a fruitless long distance shot at goal. Yeats had to head the ball over his own bar to cut out the danger but Lawrence’s handling from the corner kick was very safe.
Callaghan fell and damaged his wrist in a tackle by Newton which earned a free-kick and the referees rebuke for the robust defender. Only first rate defending ability extricated Blackburn from threatening situations.
SUPER SAVE BY ELSE
Over and over again it was a case of everbody back in defence save Pickering and Liverpool crowded on the pressure. Only a super save by Else from Stevenson prevented Liverpool going ahead on 34 minutes. Almost inevitably, the man who created the opportunity was Thompson. He took the ball from Bray and set Stevenson racing towards goal. As the defence moved back, Stevenson chose to go on alone and it was a terrific shot which Else deflected.
Stevenson was brilliant. A real dominating personality as he took the ball from the opposition and then put it to the fullest use like the artist he is.
Another clever Thompson – Hunt link up saw England glad to concede a corner kick and McGrath gave another away immediately afterwards. Blackburn were really on the collar.
As so often happens, the team which had been penned in its own half for so long breaks clear and scores. Ferguson took a corner kick which was deflected to Harrison who steered the ball through a sea of players to score for Blackburn 43 minutes totally against the run of play.
Half time – Blackburn Rovers 1, Liverpool nil
That Blackburn were still in the game was a tribute to the magnificent play of their half back line, particularly McGrath and Clayton.
Just before the second half resumed, one of the spectators was involved in a scuffle with the police and crowds of Liverpool fans gathered round.
Only a minute after the resumption, Hunt had the ball in the net. To his intense disappointment, he turned to find the referee pointing to a free kick for Rovers – the decision being that Hunt had fouled Newton.
Liverpool continued to dominate to an amazing degree and in 65 minutes had their reward. It was a great movement which put the ball to Hunts feet a yard inside the area. As he turned round he had his feet whipped from under him and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty kick. Moran’s shot was saved by Else but he could only parry the ball and up went Moran to tap the ball over the line at his leisure.
Now Liverpool were after the winner with a vengeance. Douglas was felled in a tackle and the referee decided this was the moment to stamp down on over exuberance which was creeping in. he had a world with both skippers. Almost immediately, Pickering was lectured for a foul on Stevenson.
Liverpool went ahead deservedly in 75 minutes and England could not escape a large responsibility for the goal. He was slow to clear and St John was on the ball in a flash. All he could do was tap it forward but it was enough. Hunt leapt forward and drove past Else.
N.B. Roger Hunts goal was later awarded to Ian Callaghan
Copyright - Liverpool Echo - Transcribed by the makers of the "Walk On" film.