Roaring 20s by Wooltonian - part 4

Match 11

1928 Burnley

Headlines of the day
"I nearly lost count of the near misses never mind the goals"
"Boxing Day Bonanza against Burnley"
"Clark's mixture, An Anfield Personality who Lived down 'The Bird'"

Riley, Jackson, Done, Morrison, Davidson, Lindsay,  Edmed,  Hodgson, Salisbury, McDougall, Clark [Image below]

Excellent time Christmas, happy days, happy smiling faces and everything seemingly brand new.
Liverpool’s Christmas present to all their fans? Boxing Day!
It might have been a day late, but I don’t thing any fans would be disappointed with the gift. By the sound of it “Clark’s mixture” may well bring pictures to the minds of older fans of the local aromatic pipe tobacco. But it would be no richer than that served up by an artful mind and quick brain of Clark’s mixture at Anfield yesterday. His performance reminded me of my own words recently and also made me recall the way the spectators treated Clark at a central league game at Anfield. The spectators came to condemn and stayed to praise.

Clark is one of the few footballers who really enjoys his football. He loves to have a lot of the ball, to walk this way and that way, striding of stroking the ball at will. He loves to make a tackle with one foot and, having missed the ball, he completes the boyish trick of putting his other foot out behind foot number one. (very early description of a staggered two footed tackle).

But he is seen at his best, when he is bringing a ball down by a trapping movement. Yesterday against Burnley he got his first goal, through charging Lindsay out of the way and dribbling round one of his own players. That’s Clarky, he would dribble round his own side, the referee and anyone else between him and goal. Dribbling is a joy to watch when Clark is in this mood. Although the crowd at times do not echo my enthusiasm when he goes backward to go around the same player twice or even thrice. He has instilled a working spirit into the forward line, and there was a Newcastle stamp on the Anfield slopes yesterday.

The skillful James Clark

Here was something different from what had gone before. We had become accustomed to effort, determination, obstruction and push and go methods. Changed were the styles in this game. Now we had a swift, good, stylish movement, the ball along the floor and top quality shooting against poor Mr Somerville. Who to be fair had little chance on any of the goals, such was the quality of finishing. The greatest First Division success Liverpool have ever notched in their history. Although they did one win 10-0 in the old second division some twenty years ago.

The wonder of it all was that this victory was NOT double figure strength. It was a game of XXXcellent variety, and when you remember the closeness of the three very dubious offside goal decisions by Mr Roscoe. Add the missing of a penalty kick by Done. The crossbar being hit thrice and the uprights twice each. Then you may appreciate how close the crowd came to seeing an avalanche of goals. 15-0 would not have been beyond imagination. Hodgson’s massive stride and enormously growing stature in the English game is a must see, whether you are a Liverpool fan or not. His presence on any football pitch must in my opinion, be putting another 3000 on the gate.

The great joy of the game was the excellence of the Liverpool half back line. Davidson has never done better. McDougall was without doubt a goliath in the middle. Salisbury completed the trio with a fine performance, which was rewarded by a superb strike. Although the score-line would suggest Riley could have spent the day watching from the stands, I can assure you he made vital saves at vital stages in the game.

But the biggest Christmas box to fans was the play of McDougall as a half back. He rolled up his sleeves and totally negated any advancing movement from Burnley. Whether they came on the right, left or down the centre they stalled when they reached McDougall. They may have stalled, but each time McDougall won the ball another Liverpool play began and on at least seven occasions the result was the ball in the oppositions net. Difficult to imagine how big a performance this was, even more difficult when you consider McDougall was an inside left playing out of position. His game at half back has been a thorough workmanlike effort prior to this game.
Indeed it is just wonderful how Liverpool clad their men in new positions and the red-red robe and get them to adapt themselves to new roles with startling success.

The goals. Clark (two)
Fine dribbling ended with a low drive which left the keeper flat footed. Superbly controlled ball on the chest equalled only by the trap, before he unleashed a screamer with his right boot.

Edmed (two)
Superb wing play ended by cutting inside and thundering a ball into the roof of the net. A sublime volley from a cross from the opposite wing.

Hodgson (hat-trick)
A Bullet header from an Edmed centre. A race with the keeper which Gordon won by at least two yards, the deft chip made the keeper look very foolish. Another thunderclap from the edge of the “D”

Salisbury (one)
Magnificent leap on a corner saw a flicked header go in off the back post.

Done’s penalty, Oh dear.

Clark’s disallowed third, had Edmed retreated from taking the corner it would have been the goal of the game. How Edmed could be considered offside while still touching the corner flag is something that should be looked at.

Hodgson’s disallowed brace. It appears the linesman has his own rule, Gordon should be giving defenders at least a six foot start in any race for the ball. Note to the ground staff. Check over the woodwork boys, they took one hell of a battering yesterday. Tunnel opening pulls bigger crowd than Goodison game.


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