Headline of the Day
"Forshaw Performs The Hat-trick"
Liverpool vs Sheffield United
Team: Scott, Lucas, McKinlay, McNabb, Wadsworth, Bromilow, Rawlings, McDevitt, Forshaw, Shone and Hopkin.
Blades fans who crossed the Pennines today, came in style.
Wouldn't fancy the uphill journey going home though, would you?
Sadly Johnson was absent today because of a cold and Chambers was unable to recover full fitness in time. So the experiment of playing Forshaw at centre forward was one more novelty in Liverpool’s endeavours in the matter of changing positions.
Sheffield began with a very emphatic mis-kick on the part of Harris, and it was lucky for United that it didn’t cost them a goal. His slice fell straight into the path of Shone, who immediately fired a cannon ball just over the bar and into the crowd. Afterwards United began to show their true worth, Gillespie being the dominant force. Sampy and Mercer both came near a goal and the 35,000 spectators, who had risked the foggy conditions breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
Minutes later it was the United faithful who breathed heavily as Forshaw, playing in his new position went close, forcing a corner. Sadly like most Liverpool corners nowadays there was no tangible result. It really was becoming an area of concern, I cannot see why more effort is not made on the training ground to improve corner kicks.
There followed six minutes of very dour play, both teams appeared to be struggling to settle. That was until Rawlings broke with pace down the Liverpool right, his out-swinging cross was met by Forshaw. The defence was pretty well open and Forshaw had found enough space, to bring the ball down to earth. Before he shot he seemed to have all the time in the world and one could see a goal sticking out as a certainty. Young Sutcliffe was at the right hand side of goal, and he could only stand and watch as the ball flew past, at a pace that was far to much for him. It was good to see Forshaw break a barren spell because he has been out of luck lately, yet he has been the most persistent shooter in our side.
Hopkin nearly followed up with the second shortly after, but Sutcliffe, reminded one of his Father’s days, when he made a lovely one-handed punch, the sort of clearance that one does not see these days. Sheffield United had a good innings now. Green had made a drive from inside the box which Scott saved but could not hold, the rebound went to Tunstall who could not help but score, that is until Scott once again pulled off an instinctive save with his chest. The ball fell nicely to Sampy surely he had to score, but again Scott pushed his effort onto the bar. As the ball was cleared, Scott brushed off the dirt, as he did. The next United attack saw a swinging centre from Mercer, which Boyle met with a full blooded header from close range, but the crossbar came to Liverpool’s defence once again.
Liverpool were certainly under the cosh at this stage and when Waugh broke clear all Shone could do was pull his shirt and a free kick was awarded. The free kick proved to be fatal, because Gillespie got hold of the ball, and after beating his back, Lucas missed the tackle, the Irishman drove in a splendid shot to the left hand side of the goal. A valiant effort by Scott in this instance was not enough, it nestled into the corner of the net.
As always though in difficult times, Liverpool adopted the right attitude and they fought their way back into the game, when Forshaw hit a brilliant first time shot that just cleared the bar. Liverpool dominated the following spell that lasted over five minutes, but for all their effort they only had one chance to go in front, which was wasted by McDevitt.
United have been a big disappointment so far this season, but a chance of taking a point or two on this, their favourite ground, led them to make a very hearty effort. McDevitt and Rawlings were making a fine job of tripping over each others laces in this half and they must endeavour to give each other more space. Either could have scored, but neither did. Milton the United back must have been amused at them getting in each others way. Saved him doing his job.
There was a joyful shout amongst the amassed locals when McKinlay took a free kick just outside the penalty box. McAttack hit one of his usual thunderbolts, it was travelling so fast the eye was struggling. Sampy’s eyes were anyway, it knocked him absolutely senseless. He had saved a certain goal, but that was not going to be any compensation. As all the players surrounded the horizontal player who was obviously seeing stars, McKinlay, chose rather to speak to the referee, after all it was a corner. As Sampy was still dazed and walking around like a three string puppet, the corner came in. Milton rose magnificently on the back post and it was only a tremendous save from his own keeper that kept the scores level.
Sampy was curiously uneven. He could not make the most trivial of passes. I can only assume he was playing with 20 players on his side, due to double vision, as he kept passing the ball into open spaces. Both Mercer’s drew this to the two referee’s attention and Sampy was asked to sit down off the pitch and receive more attention from the magic sponges and buckets. After a short spell on the sidelines he returned, and in this brief spell on the pitch he passed to the twins Gillespie, who was unlucky with his first time effort.
For the spell that followed Liverpool were working heavily in defence. Some of them seemed to show signs of the wear and tear of last Wednesday’s fast match. The crowd seemed to enjoy Sheffield’s rally late in the first half, especially the stern defence that was being shown by McKinlay. Donald, on one occasion, had to lie down to head away the danger that had been created through the superlative play of Gillespie, who worked Tunstall to an inch. Scott had to punch away one cross, and Liverpool had only themselves to blame for not taking the chances. Mainly offered by Harris who was having a nightmare. Once this United full back completely missed his kick and Hopkin was able to run close in, but then he elected to shoot against the side netting. The glare from Forshaw was all too obvious in it’s intent. In addition to that moments later, Hopkin had twice passed his marker, only to twice over-hit his centres. The glare from Forshaw increased in it’s intensity.
The danger of the home team not taking their chances, was made plainer when Tunstall broke down the left and swung in a long cross to the back post, only for the St Helens boy, Mercer, to miss his opportunity when it screwed off the outside of his boot. On my left, The Lord mayor and the Liberal member for West Derby, Mr Sydney Jones, together with Mr W B Stoddart, could almost be heard sighing with relief when it cleared the crossbar. That’s the difference between the snob-box and the general crowd, they expel sighs, we release a gust of profanities.
Just before the interval whistle, Forshaw came close yet again with a very fast shot, to which Sutcliffe got down sharp and good. It had been a hard half “and a half” was an equitable figure at the interval.
Half time:- Liverpool 1, Sheffield United 1
There was a startling resumption to the second half, when McDevitt offered Forshaw a half chance. He took it instantly and well from close range. Sheffield may well have took to the field, but their minds were still enjoying a cuppa, in the dressing room
One would have thought this was enough to wake them up, but from the kick off Liverpool broke again through Hopkin and Forshaw came so close to his hat-trick, but couldn’t cover the ground quick enough. Rawlings on the far side could however and his shot went inches over the bar.
During this spell, which I think Sheffield were under, Wadsworth decided it was his time for a dribble up the park in his customary fashion. His pass to an open Hopkin, gave the winger all the time he needed to put in a really accurate cross. Forshaw met it with a typical full blooded header to achieve the hat-trick he so deserved. Amid all the felicitations and celebrations a thought crossed my mind. Had I not forecasted on the eve of the game that, Forshaw had only need to have a bit of luck in his shooting to run riot. I smiled.
Waugh relieved the trouble in which United had found themselves by a splendid piece of tackling, and the crowd was not slow to show their appreciation of good work on the part of any player. Anfield was like that. Gillespie got a Print on his chest of McNabb’s studs shortly after, which was quickly followed by International team mates, Lucas and Tunstall coming together. But the latter pair shook hands as friends often do. Liverpool were now playing hot and almost looked like they would catch fire, when a splendid move by Rawlings gave Shone a peach of a chance, but Sutcliffe saved well. Moments later the favour was returned when Shone put Rawlings through, but once again Sutcliffe came to the rescue.
At the other end, there was a comic interlude, when a crossed ball by Mercer was allowed to bounce on top of the bar twice, McNabb dashed in and headed it away, while Scott just stood and watched. Scott appeared to shrug his shoulders at McNabb as if to say what’s the panic? It wasn’t going in. Shame really because Mercer was having one of his poorest days, perhaps Elisha was trying to cheer him up, being a local lad.
As the game ebbed away, Forshaw scored his FOURTH for Liverpool from a Hopkin Centre.
As the ball came across Forshaw, Milton and McDevitt all went up for the centre. Milton and McDevitt were both flattened as the strong striker powered home yet another header. As the Liverpool players celebrated, both Milton and McDevitt had to be carried off the park. Both semi conscious, but McDevitt also having a nasty cut above his eye. Milton was suffering from concussion we were later informed. When people say Forshaw would run through a brick wall to score for Liverpool, it is not always in jest.
As the chant boys started to sing their now familiar “one two three four five” Rawlings let them down badly when his hesitancy cost him an open goal. I swear as he left the field, the boys were having a joke at his expense.
Final score:- Liverpool 4, Sheffield United 1
Perhaps the score should read Forshaw 4, Sheffield 1, but that would take away some fine performances from the Liverpool lads. When Hopkin finally found his range on crosses Liverpool had numerous chances to score. McKinlay, once again was McKinlay, he was masterly in defence and is becoming a handful in the middle, when allowed. It was announced after the game that Tom Bromilow had been rewarded for his recent performances, with a reserve spot for the up and coming international between England and Ireland. To be played at Goodison Park on Wednesday. Good luck Tom, you’ve earned it on merit.
Sheffield would do well to find themselves two new full backs after today’s performance, they were abysmal. Sampy obviously never recovered from his blow, he was always yards short in his passing today. But surely he will do better than this at the return at Bramall lane, where they do not know the colour of grass. It was great to see Liverpool shooting more earnestly and insistently than usual today. Forshaw as a centre forward was aggressive and successful with both shot and dribble.