1921 Liverpool vs Preston North End
Headline of the Day
"Anfield Players' Awakening"
"A Riot of Goals"
Many things made the Mersey fixture today of unusual interest and drawing power. Preston’s name carries much with it, but this season by common consent, the team is worthy of the name.
There is talent in every line, McCall, Jefferis and Roberts are household names in our city, while Rawlings has made a name and gained fame thus early and Hamilton, not known to us, had been well spoken of..
Liverpool had Chambers and Longworth back to the leading side. Chambers having recovered from injury and Longworth replacing the injured McKinlay. McNab who played at right half for Checkland, is as big as the old X’s man is small. McNab’s physique is tremendous. He has height, weight and determination, and never knows when he is beaten. In addition he has a very strong shot. So Liverpool hoped their side would be good enough to win today, whereas they only drew at Deepdale.
Officials at the club declared that today’s attendance was the best of the season so far, probably exceeding 38,000. It’s worth note that this was mainly due to Liverpool being undefeated since the opening fixture of the season. There was much fraternising between the players and Elisha Scott received a particular enthusiastic welcome from the home crowd.
There was some fine defence from the rival pivots, when Liverpool kicked off. McCall pulling a centre from Lacey and Wadsworth being equally forward. It was bad luck for Liverpool that when the game had been going but a few minutes Chambers pulled up lame. For a time he was in much pain, but after a rest his obvious agony in his left knee muscles appeared to ease.
There was a tendency in the Preston defence to kick the ball far too forward to result in anything favourable and it was from one of these long clearances that Liverpool attacked on the left. Hopkin received the ball in in own half, feigned a moved to the left and moved inside. Duxbury had no option but to pull Hopkins shirt to stop him from advancing. From the resulting free kick Lacey split the Enders defence and it was only a dash across field from Mercer that stopped Chambers from going through on goal. His frantic punt anywhere saved the situation and settled nicely on the back row of the grandstand.
Bromilow saved Longworth's skin a few times in his early encounters with Jefferis but if it wasn’t for Duxbury taking a divot a golfer would have been proud of on one attack, the home side could have gone one down. It was obvious when Duxbury tried to stand up, that he too had damaged his left knee. Play was fast and furious and to this point Liverpool were the more dangerous, although neither keeper had been seriously challenged.
Speed trials between Longworth and Jefferis and Longworth and Rawlings were worth watching.
As was the triangular passing between Hopkin, Forshaw and Beadles. It was one of these moves that led to a cross from Hopkin which Beadles met with a deliberately placed header which went narrowly wide.
Forshaw and Duxbury took turns in handling the ball in the next two moves. There then followed two very useful clearances by Longworth, Roberts being the sufferer. Longworth was not so accurate next time and North End were now putting on pressure in no uncertain manner. The first real sensible and solid shot of the day was made by Forshaw, who had an inspiration to make an instant left footed drive. It was a bonny ball that had the keeper beaten, but it crossed out of the marking.
Play stopped shortly after through Jefferis being body charged by Chambers and pitching heavily on his right shoulder. It was only a moment before, that the former Everton man had to skip over a lunging tackle to escape a trailing foot. So he complained to the referee that he was having a rough passage. A third time when Jefferis was tackled and this time with no ceremony by Wadsworth, the referee ignored his plea for more fairness. From the resulting corner, Lacey controlled the ball on his chest and played a beautiful cross field pass to Bromilow, who went through solo on goal, only to see his shot go narrowly wide.
Quinn was the first to really test Scott, but Elisha defied the brilliance of the shot by not only saving it, but catching it. Beadles brought a great save from Fox minutes later. On the next break Hopkin then screwed a shot until it’s neck was dragged off, so much so in fact, that Lacey collected the ball on the opposite wing. But his cross was too deep for the advancing Forshaw.
It was a good chance that should have been utilised.
After another body check this time from Forshaw, Doolan was left horizontal and the referee had occasion to speak to him, but it was good to note that mainly the game was being played in a perfectly sporting spirit. A break down the left saw Hopkin float a magnificent cross, only for Beadles and Forshaw to get in each others way. Forshaw let Beadles know in no uncertain terms, that the ball was his. Jefferis had continued to be plagued by Bromliow and one tackle saw him retire to the line for a few minutes to recover. In his absence Bromilow gave further evidence that this match was to be his best exhibition of the season so far.
One also had to admire McCall’s methods, whether the ball was in the air or on the ground, he seemed to keep his feet better than most players who were struggling on the slippery surface, after the latest shower. Longworth and Lucas soon warmed to their work and Rawlings and company were hard pressed to make any impression on the game. More of an impression was made by the plate sized divots that were being wrenched from the turf at every tackle. The groundsman would certainly have his work cut out for him at half time. One was beginning to wonder if there would be any turf left by April on today’s show. The latest yard long scar on the Anfield pitch resulted in a corner for Liverpool.
The North End team seemed at sixes and sevens when the cross came in, and when Wadsworth headed into what was believed to be an empty net, only the heroics of Duxbury clearing off the line, saved the break through. Duxbury received his reward shortly before half time, when he was kicked in the chest by Lacey after a Lucas clearance. But unlike Jefferis he did not need the services of an ambulance every tackle.
Half Time:- Liverpool 0 Preston 0
The first half had been capital and unduly long, the referee playing overtime after several injuries to both sides. Not surprisingly he was the last to appear for the second half. Roberts made a fiery beginning to the second half and a nice combination move with McCall saw the latter following up with a well placed shot, which muddied Scott’s playing attire for the first time.
North End had indeed opened the second half in better trim and McNab had to head away a corner which he had conceded through the curiosity of the pitch. Roberts was very near goaling on the next attack and the trouble was not going away for some time. However Liverpool began to redeem themselves, and were encouraged by a swerving shot from Lacey. It seems impossible to have a goal between these teams without a debate.
Then Chambers scored in a remarkable manner. This is how the movement went. W Wadsworth, dribbling well became a forward as he crossed the half way line. He looked very disappointed that a pass he called for was not returned in the one-two manner we have become accustomed to. However the left winger switched the play to the right wing, where Lacey hit the ball so hard that the goalkeeper Fox, appeared stunned. Play went on and one wondered how long the referee would allow before he stopped play. Doolan went into goal and actually saved a shot, having to jump over the body of the true keeper, who in his dazed condition stood up and looked about him in bewildered fashion. Liverpool went on with the game and Chambers headed into the net, which was warmly debated by the Preston players but warmly welcomed by the home support. While Liverpool lined up for the kick off, Preston players were still debating the decision with the referee, somewhat reminiscent of a Debating Society I used to frequent as a youth in college.
From this moment on, Preston seemed not to recover and a riot of goals followed. The second in three minutes. The third in seven minutes and the final goal of four only 12 minutes after the first. Each goal was met by a gathering of the Debating Society, yet again. Preston would have done better to concentrate on what we had come to watch i.e. football, instead they spent seven minutes in between goals debating every decision. The 10 minutes after the first goal is best described thus. Forshaw broke clear after a tackle on the half way line gave Liverpool possession once again. He skipped over the lunging tackle by McCall and fired low into the net. Preston Debate Society: Discuss the imaginary foul on the half way line.
From the next kick off Chambers took the ball off Woodhouse and played it wide to Hopkin, after a marvellous dribbling class by Hopkin saw him enter the box, he was unceremoniously up-ended by Duxbury. Lucas converted the penalty. Preston Debate Society: Was Hopkin over theatrical when he crashed to earth from a height of four feet.
A nonchalant kick off minutes later saw Forshaw nip in and sweep the ball once again to the left. Hopkin collected the ball, feigned right, swept left and crossed a magnificent cross that was headed home by Beadles. As the latest debate was convened, Jefferis decided to call it a day and left the park. Chambers who was obviously now struggling decided to join him in an early bath. The balance of the game saw Doolan, Mercer and Quinn taking turns on up ending Lacey. But none of them, even combined could stop him having three great shots at goal. Each time a tackle went in Lacey refused to stay down. The first saw a bullet hit the post. The second saw him hit the cross bar and the final shot was well saved by the semi conscious Fox.
The referee brought the Preston Debating Society and Liverpool’s Football prowess to a close minutes after the last save.
I am in no doubt that Jefferis took his ball home, when he couldn’t get his own way. He was very reminiscent of a child throwing his rattle out of his pram. If Fox wants to continue his career as a goalkeeper, he should remember that, getting in the way of a Lacey bullet is not the wisest of moves. Duxbury should consider moving his trade to that of a lumberjack, as he appears to enjoy felling everything in sight. Quinn, Mercer and Dolan (the left hand gang) should remember, if they’re not good enough on their own, ambushing a skilful player like Lacey is not in the spirit of the game. Hamilton, never have I seen a professional footballer touch the ball less than the referee over the whole ninety minutes. Suggest you join a real Debating Society.
Today’s game was a very physical game played in the best tradition of top flight football. Liverpool won the game through grit, determination and a refusal to go down. Preston would do very well to learn from this lesson conducted by the Anfielders.