In spite of the thaw and heavy rain, the ground looked in reasonable condition, though there were worn patches in several places. Liverpool had Hobson in goal, and Balmer was the ultimate choice as partner to Liddell at inside-right. Liverpool had a good following in the crowd, for when Fagan led his men out Liverpool received a great cheer. The visitors began in confident mood and Bolton were hard-pressed. Balmer, Fagan and Liddell combined well up to the edge of the area, but the final pass was always absent. Nieuwenhuys then sent Balmer on his way, and Fagan added his contribution with a back-heel pass which left Balmer unmarked sixteen yards from goal. His shot was weak, and passed wide of the post. Kaye then had a long-range effort which passed wide of the post.
Bolton then attacked for the first time in the game, and Geldard produced a pinpoint centre which Lofthouse got his head to, but Hobson saved comfortably. Liverpool enjoyed the greater share of possession and the Bolton defence was over-worked to deny the wiles of Fagan and the swift thrusts of Liddell. Fagan took a free-kick just on the edge of the area, and his powerful shot was brilliantly saved by Hanson just below the angle of the upright and crossbar. From a Liverpool corner, Hanson was forced to save from Fagan’s header. Balmer was robbed by Hamlett, who set Bolton on the attack, but Hughes cleared the danger in great style. At the other end, Balmer was sent on his way with an inimitable pass from Fagan, but he elected to shoot instead of passing to Priday, in an unmarked position, and Balmer sliced his shot.
Bolton then produced a spell of attacking football and took the lead through Lofthouse. The ball had come up from a Bolton clearance after Balmer’s miss, and there did not appear to be any danger until Howe cleverly headed the ball over the head of Hughes, who tried desperately to retrieve the situation, but Lofthouse was too quick, and the Bolton centre dashed in to head down towards the foot of the post. Hobson managed to get to it, but could not grasp it properly and it trickled over the line with 20 minutes gone.
From the kick-off Hanson stopped a shot from Fagan on the line, and Hamlett kicked away to safety before a Liverpool player could tap the ball home. Fagan and Liddell spearheaded the Liverpool attack, but ineffectiveness in front of goal proved their downfall.
Hamlett was injured following a tackle on Priday, with whom the referee had a word. With 40 minutes gone, Lofthouse increased the score for Bolton. Woodward began the move on the left and passed to Westwood, and after rounding Harley, the inside man offered Lofthouse an easy opening, from which the Bolton forward made no mistake. Moments later Geldard shout outside as he was challenged by Balmer. With 43 minutes gone, Westwood picked up a pass from Lofthouse and beat Hobson with a fine effort. Liverpool’s defence began to show signs of nerves, while the attack lost all its former fire and understanding.
Liverpool began the second half in command, and they stretched the Bolton defence for several moments. Hamlett was laid out when he was struck by a poweful shot from Nieuwenhuys. Hamlett was forced to leave the pitch for treatement, and he looked groggy when he resumed. A cross from Woodward was headed down by Geldard to the feet of Lofthouse, and a well-timed tackle by Hughes denied the Bolton centre. Bolton progressed with long passes, the odeal method for the heavy ground, and Liddell and Fagan attempted to inject some virility into the Liverpool forward line.
With 55 minutes gone, Lofthouse let the ball run between his legs from a Geldard pass to Westwood, and the Bolton inside-left scored. After 60 minutes, Westwood beat hughes to connect with a Geldard cross.
Liverpool looked tired and dejected and Bolton eased off the pressure. Balmer was put through by Fagan, and when Hanson came out Balmer ran around him and had an open goal to aim at, but he took a fraction too long to net the ball, and Hanson recovered to take the ball off the forward’s toes. Lofthouse shot over the bar as he was challenged by Hughes.
The crowd laughed when Woodward, who had sent a message for tape to tie up his shorts, made a run along the wing, holding them up with one hand. Bolton re-arranged their attack near the end, following an injury to Hurst.