Headline of the Day
"Manchester for Skill - Liverpool for Goals"
1925 Liverpool vs Manchester United
A Big gate was expected today as the Manchester United fans arrived in force. Arriving at 1.30pm they had lots of time to enjoy an aperitif in The Arkles.
Liverpool Team: Scott, Lucas, MacKinlay, MacNabb, Cockburn, Bromilow, Rawlings, Walsh, Forshaw, Chambers and Hopkin
The filthy day prevented a huge crowd today and the Spion Kop has rarely looked so deserted.
Fortunately, when the game started the conditions did improve a little and with the Manchester crowd present, producing some enthusiasm for their side, there was plenty of promise of sparkle and a joyful game.
Frank Barson dominated the early portion of play, and, like Tommy Boyle in his prime days at Burnley, he showed that he could engineer a throw-in with success. Every time he got a throw in he made use of the ball. It was he, too, who brought a surprise packet to the home goalkeeper by making an up-the-middle pass that Bromilow caught and passed back quickly when only two yards away from Scott. The wet ball eluded Scott at the first time of asking, but he then produced his customary “dummy” move and cleared.
Smith, in the Manchester forwards, was clever, but rather overworked the dribble. There would have been a stoppage for a “windy” affair in which McKinlay was concerned, but he very decently waved referee Haworth, of Blackburn, to play on. Later, the same player came in for further applause by the cunning way he got his body in the way of Spence, and by the way he stabbed the ball back to prevent what was a possible goal. Apart from Spence, who was quite close with a highish drive, the shooting was not so clever from the East Lanc’s team. Hopkin sent one ball outside and after there had been rather too many fouls for hands to count, Walsh did well hitting the target from an oblique angle, from the resulting free kick.
Chambers did even better on the next Liverpool attack. Controlling the ball on his chest with his back to the goal, he turned an hit a scorcher that must have warmed Stewards hands. On the next foray, Chambers ran a half of the length of the field, with Barson and two others snapping at his heels, without being able to catch the wiry man. And when the ball the ball was pushed through to Rawlings, who had moved into the centre forwards position, a goal seemed the most certain outcome. That is, until Steward dived at his feet and smothered the ball. It was a lovely interlude.
Play became very lively from this point onwards, Manchester’s right winger Spence, being very useful and intertwining in position with Hilditch, in excellent manner. They both made admirable responses to clever Barson’s passes with the outside of the foot. Lockhead on a through pass from Mann, made a drive that Scott handled securely and well in his usual manner. At the other end, Steward had no work to attend to for some time, until his captain passed back in no uncertain manner, more resembling a shot than a pass. Steward calmly made the save as though they were used to doing this sort of thing as a defensive measure every week. A second shot from Lockhead was registered moments later, but in reverse, this looked more like a pass back to Scott, rather than a shot.
Suddenly a quick throw by Scott found Chambers on the right wing, with Walsh the most prominent player. No one seemed to know the reason of Chambers appearance on the right, except that he had drifted over that way in the ordinary course of play. But it so happened that he stayed there long enough to see a goal scored, before he returned to his true position.
“Smiler” on receipt of the quick throw, played an immediate ball down the middle, which Forshaw controlled in a single movement. As the ball dropped Forshaw unleashed a ferocious right footed drive that fizzed low across the Anfield turf and into the right hand side of the net. Steward was so caught unawares, he didn’t move. It didn’t just surprise Steward, it surprised everyone and to be candid, it was not on the run of play. A lead that Liverpool could only justify by saying “Manchester’s failings in front of goal are no concerns of ours” The goal was scored in the 21st minute.
Manchester had certainly been the cleverer side so far, their methods were prompt, pretty and scooped up the ground in no uncertain manner, but all movements were void of a clinical finish.
In the second portion of the first half, United had not so much of the game. But there was an occasion when McPherson centred so well that it looked odds on a goal. Lockhead however made a pigs ear of his drag shot and the ball simply drifted wide of the left hand post.
Nothing was better in the first half than the positional play of McKinlay, who sized up two moves ahead and was able to intercept balls to Spence time after time. Also noteworthy was Lucas’s new style of defence, where he lay full length on the ball, which is all very well, so long as you don’t get a good kicking while your there. Admitting that the ball was hard to time, because it was running badly and allowing for other circumstance. Liverpool had shown more decision in front of goal than their rivals. For instance, Forshaw had a further snap chance, and had he caught the ball just a little more fully, he would have gained his second point.
Approaching the interval, Walsh delivered a shot which cannoned off Moore for a corner.
This corner led to an immediate other from the opposite side, when Steward saved from Walsh.
The third corner of the trot saw Walsh block attempted clearances four times, the last with his knees stretched apart, prevented Manchester defenders clearing, but at a personal cost. I don’t know about him, but it brought tears to my eyes and all those around me. Never has the magic sponge been required to work miracles so much.
The half ended on a good note for the home fans. Chambers unleashed a monster drive, which was saved by the fists of Steward. No goalkeeper could have caught it, it was travelling so fast it would have passed a model ‘t’. Manchester was proving to be a very solid defensive line, if only they had been as good in front of goal as at the back and in the middle, they would have been a very awkward side to hold. But the half ended with Liverpool a goal to the good and opportunities galore to be further ahead.
Half Time :- Liverpool 1 Manchester United nil
No sooner had the second half started, United showed the same failings as in the first half.
McPherson was clear, but he delayed his shot long enough for McKinlay to slide in and cut off his drive. Just after Spence, the most dangerous of the United forwards, went close, but again he was stopped by McKinlay. Lucas blocked a Rennox shot minutes later that was heading goal bound. For all the attacks United were throwing at Liverpool, Scott had seen no action due to his stalwart defensive line.
Then came a break, Forshaw controlled the ball in the centre and swept right. Rawlings reading the play moved inside. Forshaw feigned inside but overtook Silcock down the flank. Forshaw offered a nice centre to the middle of the goal, where Rawlings had anticipated the cross. His downward header caused Steward all sorts of problems, but somehow the keeper held on.
Steward had performed miracles last week at Maine Road, but today he was looking decidedly dodgy. Rawlings went quite close again shortly after and in doing so gave a perfect impression of Steward, who at every save puffed out his cheeks.
He was puffing out quite a bit over the next few minutes having to make saves from a Chambers lob, A Forshaw bullet and a well placed effort from Walsh which saw the keeper diving full stretch to his right. The ever increasing numbers on the Spion Kop, probably due to the half time gate, began to smell blood and the famous “Kop Roar” reached deafening proportions. Spence conjured up a little piece of magic in the next play, when he tried to chip Scott from the wing, but a backward dive by Scott finger tipped the ball over the bar for a corner. When Lockhead met the corner with a powerful header, all assembled thought it was destined to be the equaliser, but Scott, not only saved the incoming cannon-ball, he held it. You had to laugh, even when United did beat the defenders, there was little hope of them beating the brick-wall goalkeeping, being shown by Scott. He was simply magnificent, not just this week, every week.
Yet another quick throw by Scott saw Forshaw racing forward, who having gathered three men on him, elected to shoot, but found the ball clogged in the treacle like surface that was now forming.
The ball came back to him of a defenders heel and he neatly slipped the ball to Chambers who had continued his run, with one momentary glance up, Chambers released a thunderbolt, which never rose above six inched from the turf. Which Steward only fingered, without being able to do as much as the firm of Barkers. (make your own minds up on that one, it lost me) Chambers goal was a highly popular one and was celebrated rather over zealously, by the now, near bursting kop.
Little did the half timers realise that Liverpool were still scoring against the balance of the whole game play. In fact, the Liverpool half backs as a line were still being totally outplayed, and in truth they were far from impressive.
A peculiar incident followed next and this will take some following. Liverpool attacked through Hopkin, his cross was hit on the volley by Chambers, who completely mis-timed his effort. His effort was met by Rawlings who headed on goal. His header was punched away by the keeper, which fell at the feet of Cockburn. Cockburn made a strong drive, which rebounded of a defender to Forshaw. Forshaw appeared to head toward an empty goal, but up like a jack-in-the-box came Steward from an earlier dive. He palmed away the header to the feet of Chambers, whose first time shot was caught by Steward. Five minutes? No the entire episode was complete in five seconds. It was like watching a steely in a bagatelle board.
Liverpool were now growing in confidence and were in ascendancy, spurred on by United’s ineptness at the other end. Ever pushing forward, Manchester had no option but to go in full retreat. Liverpool were not content with a two goal margin and after fine individual skills by Chambers, Forshaw hit one of his heartiest and best which flew into the net from all of thirty yards. Eleven goal keepers would not have kept that one out, let alone Steward.
The whole ground stood, and applauded an effort which must be one of the best ever seen. As the players all shook hands returning to the half way line, a feeling was going around the ground, that this game was about to ignite.
The game changed totally. Liverpool half backs seemed to find a new confidence, spurred on by McKinlay increasing their numbers. Rawlings went close, but a one handed punch by Steward saved the blushes. Bromilow fired a rocket, which came back off the upright. McKinlay, always one who wants to get involved in attack, fired one that could have ended up at the Pier Head. At least the ball was never to be seen again.
The “Boys from the Village” on the Bullens-road side began their chant of “One, two, three, four, five” when after Hopkin and Rawlings supplied the fuel, Forshaw lit the taper of his latest rocket.
Whoosh, I swear it was harder than the last one. If the goal had been bricked-up it would still have hit the net. Four nil to Liverpool and Forshaw had once again secured his hat-trick of the afternoons proceedings.
Surely it doesn’t get much better than this. The Bullens Road side boys kicked the kop into gear.
One Two, One Two Three, One Two Three Four, One Two Three Four Five, Five-Nil. Prior to today, the song had found little occasion to be aired, as Liverpool had only scored four goals in four games. Today however they had equalled that and there was still twenty minutes to go.
The famous “Kop roar” that greeted the latest and lets hope not the final kick off of the game was just simply amazing. If there had been any glass in the ground, I assure you it would have cracked.
The Manchester United line up for the kick off was a beaten side and what’s more, they knew it.
Wave after wave of Liverpool attacks battered against the shore of the Manchester defence.
The crowd of the Kop in unison were holding up a hand indicating the five, that not so much they wanted, they demanded. A Chambers volley nearly met there demands, but Moore blocked it in his midriff and he doubled up like a closing book. But this book had not reached it’s epilogue.
Rawlings collected the ball five yards into his own half, he turned and left Mann motionless, he pushed the ball forward, avoided the lunging tackle of Barson and fired one from outside the box. The ball ended up in the net by where you would place a postage stamp. Absolutely stunning, the Kop went wild, The Village Boys in the Bullens Road side were dancing and even the directors box stood up and clapped. As Rawlings received his thanks from virtually ever player on the Liverpool team, the whole ground applauded.
As the Boys from the Bullens Road Side started chanting for SIX, the Referee decided to call a halt to proceedings, to the relief of the travelling fans and the disgust of the home fans.
There would be singing in the street tonight, even from those who didn’t take libation.
Liverpool’s finishing was truly awesome today, and I guess most people in time, will forget the early balance of play. But as I said earlier “Manchester’s failings in front of goal are no concerns of Ours” !!
Special Note to the Echo Editor
I’d be thinking of printing extra copies of tonight’s issue if I were you, they will be taken up quicker than the press can print them.
Special Note to the Spectators
There are no bookings for next Saturdays Local derby. Get there Early and avoid disappointment, Liverpool in this mode are well capable of scoring another five. ((Quite prophetic really))
I was most confused by certain phrases used in this part.
“Boys from the Village”
“Boys from The Bullens Road Side”
“Kop half empty“, and “Half-timers”
But I assure you they are all documented facts and terms used by The Football Echo.
© Wooltonian 2005