CHELSEA AT GOODISON
December 2, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s Task Will Not Be Easy
Though Chelsea, last season’s champions are not living up to their former standard this campaign and are a long way down the table, they are still only six points behind Blackpool and Manchester United, the present join leaders, and have a game in hand over the latter. The Pensioners’ greatest failing this season has been that which has afflicted Everton –the inability to fully cash in on their approach work because of poor finishing. Unlike the Goodison team however, Chelsea have the rather usual distinction of having scored nearly twice as many goals in away minutes as they have a Stamford Bridge. This may have a certain significance in relation to tomorrow’s game at Goodison Park. At one period last winter Everton were within four points of Chelsea with three less games played. But whereas the Blues at Goodison lost their grip the Blues of Stamford Bridge thereafter went at one way lifted the title for the first time in their history-appropriately enough it was their fiftieth anniversary –and like Everton, had the highest aggregate attendance ever in their history. Chelsea’s away performances this winter have brought them severe points from nine outings. They have defeated Huddersfield, Charlton and Preston drawn with Arsenal and lost to Blackpool, Sunderland, Birmingham, and Manchester United. Away from home they have scored 14 goals –compared with only eight at Stamford Bridge –and have had 19 against them. Until recently they had not lost away by more than a goal margin. Their two last away defeats however, were each by 3-0.
The Chelsea forward line had undergone several changes during the past two months obviously designed to put more punch into it. Roy Bentley who played his 300th game for the club last week has been switched to inside left in the last three matches. His place in the middle has been taken by Ron Tindsall aged 20 who is in his first season in the senior side. Another young player was taken over at inside right in the person of Peter Brabrook. He has been underred in recent games to McNichol the former Brighton player in whom Everton once displayed some interest until they learned what the Southern Section side regarded as a possible transfer fee. Defensively the Pensioners have made few changes. Apart from Robertson taking over in goal from Thomson early in September. Armstrong is the only other one of the first six names on the team sheet to be changed, and he has missed only two engagements. Sillett, Williams, Wicks and Saunders all have an ever-present certificate, Blunstone and Bentley have also appeared in every game, this season with Bentley joint leading scorer on the four goal mark. Smith who has made only six appearances has also got four, while amateur international O’Connell got three in the first five games of the season but has not been in the side since. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington. Chelsea;- Robertson; Sillett, Willemss; Armstrong, Wicks, Saunders, Parsons, Brabrook, Tindall, Bentley, Blunstone.
GRAND EVERTON RALLY AFTER TWO-GOAL DEFICIT
December 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Parsons Hit Equaliser For Chelsea
Everton 3, Chelsea 3
After being two goals down in half an hour, Everton fought back well in the second half to take the lead, but two minutes from the end Parsons leveled the scores. It was a hard game, thought at a very fast pace with both sets of forwards showing an eagerness to shoot and each goal having gone very narrow escapes. Everton’s defence was shaky in the first half, but recovered its confidence later. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Chelsea;- Robertson, goal; Stilett and Willise, backs; Armstrong, Wicks, and Saunders, half-backs; Parsons, Brabrook, Tindall, Bentley (captain), and Blunstone, forwards. Referee; Mr. S.M. Rogers (Shrewsbury). Chelsea almost snatched an early lead when Jones, trying to break a high ball down, 30 yards out saw Tindall hook it away and make a bee-line for goal. Tindall’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was a good one, but had a slight swerve on it which took it outside the far post by a matter of inches only with the diving O’Neill unable to get anywhere near to it. A quick throw-in by Saunders well inside the Chelsea half sent Blunstone away for a 50 yards run at top speed. His pass to Tindall, however was intercepted and cleared by Moore. Chelsea were the quicker and more menacing side for a time and it was Blunstone again who took the eye with another speed, touchline run. Willemse came up to try a 40-yard lob which presented no difficulty to O’Neill and a combined move in which four men took part eventually collapsed through a well-timed headed intervention by Jones.
Wing to Wing
Chelsea were swinging the ball about from wing to wing. One particular instance of this was a pass by Sillett from the right touch line over to Blunstone of the opposite side of the field. Once again Blunstone dashed away at tremendous speed though his final pass, pulled back behind his colleagues was a “gift” for Lello to clear. Two noteworthy Everton shots were by Lello who put the ball just over the bar and McNamara who cleverly tricked his man following a throw-in and tested Robertson from 20 yards. The Blues were now having more of the game and Wainwright delivered a strong shot which Robertson pulled down before clearing. Brabrook had a great chance when Bentley put over a splendid centre, which left the young inside right with only O;Neill to beat from close range. He glided his header a yard wide of the post when they should have had it in the back of the net from such an ideal position. One refreshing aspect of the Everton forward line was that whenever they got within distance each man in the line was prepared to have a shot without wasting time. McNamara twice, Parker and Wainwright in quick succession delivered shots which were either on the target or very close to it all of them powerful drives.
Then came a remarkable incident which almost brought what would have been freak of all freak goals. Following a foul against Harris, Sillett took a free kick fully 20 yards inside the Chelsea half. He hit the ball with terrific power and after bouncing once it almost deceived O’Neill. As it was going over the goalkeeper’s head into the net O’Neill stretched backwards got his finger tips to it and edged on to the underside of the bar from whence it bounced back into play and was cleared. Then came two goals to Chelsea in 60 seconds which stunned the home supporters. The first scored by Tindall at the 30th minute was the result of defensive slackness and an attempted pass back by Jones to O’Neill in an effort to retrieve a dangerous situation. Tindall and Parsons nipped in quickly and it was difficult to say definitely who was the actual scorer, but I think the ball was over the line before Parsons touched it. Within a minute Chelsea were two up when Blunstone who was one of the stars of their attack darted through again and squared the ball neatly so that Brabrook had nothing to do but tap it out of O:Neill’s reach from six yards range. The ball was in the net a third time when it cannoned back beyond O’Neill from the heel of Jones, as he had his back to the goal but fortunately the whistle had gone for an infringement by Chelsea. Everton certainly did not deserve to be two goals down. They had as much of the play as the Pensioners and had delivered more shots. The defence, however, had been anything but confident against the speedy Chelsea forwards. None did better than Blunstone. This was the best display I have ever seen from him, and he was giving Moore many anxious moments. Tansy and Jones had also had their moments of stress, it was rather ironic that on a day when the Everton forward line shed its reluctance to shoot the rear half of the side, hitherto the strongest section should show signs of skakiness. Half-time; Everton nil, Chelsea 2. Within a minute of the restart Everton had reduced the arrears through Harris. Encouraged by a roar from the crowd, the Blues launched an attack which saw the ball confined to the Chelsea penalty area for half a minute or so, before McNamara squared it into the middle for Harris to take a first time shot while on the turn. For a split second those at a distance could not say whether the ball was in the net or out, but when Robertson bent down to pick it up, it could be seen to have crept in a few inches on the right side of the post. Apart from one Chelsea breakaway Everton kept up their attack for the next 10 minutes though all they had to show in the way of anything which looked like producing a goal was a centre by Parker which produced an excellent header by Wainwright, capably disposed of by Robertson.
Still On Top
Wainwright had hard lines when McNamara after a clever run, but him in a good shooting position only for his effort to be tipped over the bar by Robertson. Everton were still main turning the upper hand through they were not getting the same opportunities for first time shots against the consolidated Chelsea defence. The visiting forwards while still looking dangerous whenever they got away had rarely been out of their own territory this half. A grand interception by Lello put paid to an quick Chelsea raid in which Tindall slipped the ball forward for the on running Bentley who had the ball taken right off his toe. Bentley who had been alternating with Tindall at centre forward, ran through the defence in great style beating three men en route before forcing a corner. Blunstone had faded out somewhat, with Parsons now the dominant Chelsea winger. A free kick to the Pensioners taken by Sillett saw the whole Everton defence advance leaving three Chelsea men offside. A centre by McNamara provided a heading opportunity for Harris but Robertson positioned himself so well that he only had to make a simple catch. Harris was now sticking more to the centre forward position than he had done earlier when he had spent as much time on the wings as in the middle.
At the 70th minute when the ball was put in the middle Harris dispossessed Wicks who lost his footing and the centre forward went on to dribble round Robertson. In trying to save Robertson brought Harris to his knees by clutching his ankle but Harris regained his feet and safely slotted the ball into the empty net. To the consternation of the crowd and of the Everton players some of whom protested to the referee Mr. Rogers pointed to the penalty split. Obviously he had blown before Harris netted although in the hubhub the crowd could not hear the whistle. Jones took the spot kick and made no mistake about it, so that justice was done in the end. Everton were now well on top and hammering away as a rather perturbed and anxious Chelsea defence. At the 75th minute the Blues deservedly took the lead, Eglington’s shot from a McNamara centre had so much power behind it that although Robertson had it in both hands the ball spun out of his grasp and over the line. Two more excellent efforts by McNamara were saved and 11 minute from the finish came the first stoppage of the game Wainwright had to receive attention when hit in the face by the ball while helping to repel a Chelsea attack. This had been a great recovery by Everton. Their second half football was more grim and determined than polished but they had fought back like Trojans and well deserved their lead. Wainwright was again injured this time on the right leg. The game was getting a little tough and Armstrong showed his resentment of a decision for a foul against himself for an offence on Eglington in no uncertain fashion. The Everton goal had two escapes first when Brabrook elected to pass instead of goals through and secondly when Jones miskicked and Bentley so taken by surprise did likewise when six yards from goal with only O’Neill to beat. Just when it seemed that Everton had both points in safe keeping the ball came over from the left flank and after Bentley and Brabrook had been able to force it home Parsons whipped it in the net for the equalizer two minutes from the finish. Final; Everton 3, Chelsea 3.
BOLTON RES V EVERTON RES
December 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; Leyland, goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Grant, Woods and Rea, half-backs; Harris, Fielding, Saunders, Lewis, and Vizard, forwards. Referee; Mr. D.W. Goddard (Leyland). Bolton took the lead when Leyland challenge for possession of a corner kick failed to hold the ball, which dropped into the goal mouth and gave Webster an easy shot into the net. Everton’s right wing was the more effective. Lewis heading a centre from Harris just over the bar. Saunders injured his ankle in a great solo effort to break through in the centre and moved out to the left wing and though Everton swung the ball about in an effort to break through the Bolton defence they were given few chances at goal. Half-time; Bolton Wanderers Res 1, Everton Res nil. In the second half Everton were a much more determined team, shots by Saunders and Vizard has the Bolton defence in trouble and through Bolton made a quick raid and Leyland saved well at the feet of the post, the Everton forwards were soon back at the Bolton half. Everton played much better football in the second half and Lewis scored an equalizer.
• Barrow Res 2, Everton “A” 3
• Fleetwood H 5, Everton “B” 1
STORY-TELLER WRIGHT AND FILM-FAN BLANCHFLOWER
December 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Following last Saturday’s game at Wolverhampton I had the pleasure of the company of Billy Wright, Danny Blanchflower and Con Martin along with team mate Tommy Eglington and Eddie Wainwright on the train journey back to Liverpool. Naturally the main topic was football and the methods of training used at Wolverhampton, Villa Park and White Hart Lane in comparison with those at Goodison Park. We had some good laughs as each in turn swapped stories of amusing soccer incidents. The best came from Billy Wright concerning a match in which he played. A goalkeeper was injured during the game and had to be assisted to the back of the goal while a wing half donned his jersey. The side’s well known manager came out to assist the trainer in attending the injured keeper. In the meantime the depleted sides goal underwent a terrific bombardment and a fierce scramble ensued. The manager in his excitement, found himself standing by a goalpost shouting encouragement to his side. The ball suddenly rolled towards the post at which the manager was standing and in his excitement he stuck out his foot and helped the ball over the bye-line. The referee cautioned the manager as a result of which he was eventually fined. Perhaps I haven’t told the story as well as Billy Wright but it just goes to show that even managers can get carried away. Danny Blanchflower told me he was very impressed to read of Manager Cliff Britton’s idea of filming some of the Everton games. Some people when they first heard of this idea seemed to think it a waste of time and money. I feel it is a very progressive step forwards improving football generally as well as from a club point of view. It is often very difficult when a game has finished to recall details but when seen on the screen players can observe their faults both collectively and individually, as well as the good points.
Very often during the course of a match a player’s concentration a centred around a small area of the field, but when he sees the game move on the screen he gets an overall picture of the move and sees clearly the position of the entire team during that particular move. It is rather amazing and a little worrying to all of us concerned how Everton on so many occasions this season have played so well in the first half and so badly in the second, or vice verse. It is a fault which is hard to explain. But one which I hope we will find the answer to in the near future as we realize too many points are being dropped through our inability to maintain the same standard of play for the full 90 minutes.
NO, REFEREE ROGERS WAS RIGHT!
December 5, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton 3, Chelsea 3 (attendance 33,000)
By Leslie Edwards
This game provided three points –one each to the clubs and one to keep spectators talking. This last came when Chelsea led 2-1 in the second half. Harris the Everton centre-forward had beaten Chelsea centre half back Wicks and was successfully rounding goalkeeper Robertson when that player stretched out an arm and half bright him down. Amid the excitement Mr. Rodger whistle went for the penalty Robertson had incurred but few heard, few noticed. Thus when Harris recovered his feet and the ball, and slapped it impudently into the net and turned to receive his side’s acclamation he found lasted the referee pointing at the penalty spot! The crowd were incensed but happily, all was well. Jones scored from the penalty spot; Everton had their equalizing goal –after being two down –and justice was not only done, but seen to be done. What many of the crowd failed to appreciate was that once Mr. Rodgers awarded the penalty the ball was dead. He was not to know that Harris would recover and score; indeed it happened that as Harris shot a Chelsea defender reached the goal-line and might conceivably have made a last minute goal-line save. What then? Would not the Wolves have howled for the penalty the referee had given? All told and including this important decision I thought Shrewsbury could be proud of Referee Rogers. In matters of importance he scarcely ever seemed wrong. He was firm and the game benefited in that it was always hard, always interesting and never out of hand. There are matches so drab one scarcely needs to take a note; this one was so notable its full story would need a chapter not columns. A draw was a good result though there were times after Chelsea had beaten the Everton defence twice in as many minutes at the half-hour when the only logical conclusion seemed likely to be easy victory for Chelsea. Everton shot hard and fairly well in this first half, but not from the ranges at which Robertson might have been defeated.
Not So Gently, Bentley
There was nothing “Gently Bentley” about the Chelsea inside left in this period of Chelsea supremacy. Partnered by the Crewe boy, Bluestone of the hugh thighs and minute feet (Fats Waller could never sing of him” Cos you’re feats too big”). Bentley was a special menace to the defence and seemed likely to continue in that vein. But Everton transformed themselves (or were transformed by managerial advice) in the interval. They began the second half in such storming style, even Chelsea were left in no doubt that they meant to do better this time. And so they did. Harris pivoting quickly after receiving the ball from a McNamara header, caught Robertson unawares and found the few inches of space between the goalkeeper’s hands and the foot of the upright. There followed Jones penalty conversion and better a leading goal by Eglington. I think Robertson was unlucky to concede this Eglington’s shot carried plenty of pace and swerve and though hands reached the ball it spun from them and just over the line, close to the upright. With unsuspected triumph close the Everton crowd roared appreciation and delight but Chelsea were not done. Former Marine Commando back, Willemse swept unfield into Blunstone’s position crossed the ball well and little Parsons, after Everton had crowded out two earlier shots, lashed the ball in from close range. Chelsea’s earlier goals had come from Parsons, who applied a ready boot to the ball when Tindall had done most of the spade-work and, a minute later, from Brabrook who side footed Blunestone’s low centre beyond O’Neill in much less time than it takes me to describe it.
There were two woodwork striking moments first when Sillett, a big, but not very impressive back, hit an immense free-kick from well inside his own half and O’Neill edged it on to the underside of the bar and again when Parker’s header glanced against an upright and so outside. Blunestone was really the man who made the Chelsea line formidable. His speed and strength in possession were usually too much for Moore. Apart from the first half when the rangy Tindall showed promise, and two good shots, Jones qualled him. Chelsea’s football looked impressive until the Everton revivalist meeting –the best since Billy Graham’s –started. Not the least odd thing was the amount of work Robertson had compared with O’Neill. He made many fine saves from shots by Wainwright and Parker and a specially good one at the foot of the post from a quick hard volley by McNamara. By comparison O’Neill scarcely had anything to do. McNamara’s appearance at outside right lent size and weight to an Everton attack which is still not playing as well as many followers of the club expect it to do. But McNamara is one of those rare players who seems to be the “mark” of the crowd to be the start, I counsel him to ignore the foolish who cry “Get rid of it” merely because a player is sizzing up a position before attempting to make a pass, McNamara had a good game. He will have even better if his misguilded spectatorial friends will leave him alone. Harris showed a return to his earlier form, having escaped the clutches of Billy Wright. He will continue to get goals, but with stronger support he might be the game’s best in his position. Everton’s rallying more evident this season, than in any other is one of their strong suits. They were completely shaken by the quickness of Chelsea’s opening goals, but Chelsea, in turn were shaken by the way Everton set about them early in the second half. Chelsea showed one football idea which all clubs could profitably follow –the willingness to take a throw in, if necessary, yards nearer their own goal than where the ball went out of play. That wing-half backs only should make these throws is an indictment of the professional player. Used quickly they can often be used profitably.
EIRE PROTEST ON EVERTON VENUE
December 5, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
League of Ireland players and officials for the game against the Football League at Goodison Park on Wednesday will arrive by boat in Liverpool tomorrow morning. The side will have a work out under team manager Alec Stevenson, the former Everton and Irish international inside forward. Eire League officials hope for a good performance from the Irish side as at the international Football league Board’s meeting in Liverpool on Wednesday morning they will express disapproval of the choice of Goodison Park for this game. Point at issue is the early kick off necessary. The League of Ireland had hoped for a floodlight venue preferably Wolverhampton with the prospect of a larger attendance.
LAW IS NOT AN ASS
December 5, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Debatable Point at Goodison
Though the Dickenson dictum that the law is an ass was not delivered in relation to football, several thousand vociferous Everton supporters made it clear that they entertained similar sentiments when referee Rogers disallowed Harris’s second “goal” for Everton against Chelsea and ordered a penalty kick instead. But the man in the middle was perfectly correct despite the howls of the crowd, the protests of several Everton players and the criticism which I heard from several onlookers after the game was over. For the benefit of those who were not present let me briefly relate the circumstances, Harris had festered on to a ball just inside the penalty area, was fouled by both Wicks and Robertson yet managed to keep his feet after stumbling and ran on to put the ball into the empty net to make the score 2-2. The jubilation of the crowd and home players turned to consternation when it was seen that the referee was pointing to the penalty spot. “Ridiculous shouted somebody just behind the visiting directors box. “What about the advantage rule?” the contention obviously was that in disallowing the goal and giving a spot-kick instead the innocent side had been penalized. But the referee is there to administer the rules not to allow sentiment and apparent justice to sway his decision. He had blown and pointed to the spot as soon as Harris was fouled which was two or three second’s before the ball was safely slotted home. Once having clown all that happens afterwards goes into the discard. The game from that moment is dead. Mr. Rogers had no alternative but to do what he did. Neither can he be blamed for blowing so quickly as some folk contended. Let us look at it another way. Suppose he had said to himself “This lad may score so I won’t pull him up” and Harris had shot outside. He could not then have awarded Everton a penalty.
Justice Was Done
Referee being human haven’t the gift of knowing what is going to happen a couple of seconds later. They must make their decision on the facts at the moment and make them quickly. Fortunately Tommy Jones scored from the spot, so that justice was done and all was well. But the incident made one of the most debatable points of a game which produced much food for thought for the 33,473 spectators. First and foremost was the first-half and last few minutes fell from its former confidence of the home defence. Two of the three Chelsea goals stemmed from defensive slackness. The first followed an error by Tansey and a weak pass back by Jones so that when a characteristic lightning run by Blunstone provided one “on a plate” for Brabrook’s minute later Everton found themselves two down in half an hour. The outlook was decidedly bleak, for though the Blues did not deserve to be feeling by this margin at the interval nothing could after the fact that they were.
Spells of Shakiness
Moore has rarely had so bad a time as he did in first portion against Blunestone who was made to look more like an international than ever I have seen him before. Jones and Tansey also had spells of agitation and shakiness against the silvery and quick interchanging Chelsea forwards and for a time one feared that the home rearguard so long a solid and reliable bulwark was about to crack completely. Fortunately it redeemed itself to a large extent in the second half probably due to the fact that a quick goal by Harris gave the whole side more confidence and that by getting first to the ball they were enabled to wrest the initiative from the opposition for quite long stretches. Then came the penalty to make it all square at the 70th minute, and when Eglington notched a leading goal five minutes later most of the onlookers felt that victory was assured after all. Yet Chelsea always looked menacing when they got away. They moved the ball smartly by long sweeping passes and were always ready for the quickly taken shot.
Two minutes from the end another spot of momentary defensive slackness –the ball might twice have been cleared before it reached the scored – allowed Parsons to level the account. On the whole the result did justice to both side, for while Everton did more shooting than the opposition –I am counting only shots on the target or very close misses-they also had a spot of fortune in that their goal should have been saved. Robertson had the ball in his grasp, but let it drop over the line. Everton earned praise for the magnificent way they set about the task of winning out the two-goals deficit in the second half. Though they did not rate so highly in defence in the first position or in the concluding stages of the second half, the rearguard has played so well in almost all the other games, this season that they may justifiably claim pardon for the comparatively rare lapse. I am fully prepared to grant them that. Once again it was the good work of Lello and Farrell which helped to restore the Blues’ poise and confidence though even their prompting would not have been effective had there not been an equally determined fighting spirit all through the side.
Forwards Fought Well
It was pleasing to see McNamara have a good game on his first appearance of the season. This player has not always had the kindest of treatment from the crowd. They could find little to complain of on Saturday. With luck McNamara might have had one possibly two goals. Wainwright was a great worker and Parker though still not back to his best showed improvement on recent displays. He was robbed of a goal by the woodwork for the third time in the last four matches. Harris seemed a bigger danger to Chelsea when he stuck to his centre-forward berth than when he adopted his rather overdone excursions to the wings, though this seems to be an integral part of the present Everton attacking plan. Chelsea like Everton, were subject to occasional shakiness in defence. Sillett started off with such a succession of miskicks that one wondered how he had come by his representative honours. Blunstone was outstanding in the first half, and Bentley’s experience enabled him to get the best out of Tindall and Brabrook two very promising youngsters. It was a game of constant thrills, many goalmouth incidents several narrow escapes, some chances which were thrown away, and with the forwards on both sides taking the major part of the day’s honours.
December 6, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
I am indebted to Mr. W. Partridge the new publicity secretary of the Everton Supporters Federation, for some interesting information regarding the growth of the organization which has made rapid strides since its formation a few years ago. Membership is now approaching the 4,000 mark, which speaks highly for the work of the general committee and the various sub-committees spread around the city. The latest buttetin circulated to all members –this in itself is a pretty big task for the voluntary envelope addresses –including a cheery letter from James C. Conway, social secretary of the flourishing Dublin branch who extends a cordial invitation to any Merseyside members to visit the Dublin clubroom in Westland Row if ever they in the Eire capital. The Eire members are running a trip from Dublin to Blackpool for this Saturday’s game and have others on the agenda early in the New Year. Several of them will also be at tomorrow’s inter-league match. The various city branches have a number of social functions fixed for the coming winter months. From what I am told these are exceedingly popular. When the federation was first formed I’ll admit quite frankly that I never anticipated, it would grow to such dimensions. That it is still growing is evident from the fact that another new branch is being launched this evening in the south end. There is a meeting for the purpose at the Hut 361 Park Road, starting at 7.45.
EVERTON’S ETERNAL CRITIC
December 9, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
As You See It
“Bluebird” writes;- After watching yet another unsatisfactory home display against another mediocre club I wonder how the Everton management still have the audacity to keep Fielding in the Reserves. If the idea is to sacrifice goal-making for goal-taking the Everton management have done a good job as regards the former, but as usual have made a bash of the latter. With fewer games Fielding has scored as many as either Wainwright or Parker and if we add his Reserves tally he has scored more than either. “The local Press like the Everton management seem quite satisfied with the Chelsea showing. Other daily papers were no so happy and I quote one; “Their attack needs a schemer capable of bringing out the best in that enterprising young centre forward Harris. Rarely did Harris receive a through pass along the ground. All too often the ball was lobbed hopefully down the middle and Harris had little chance in the air against Wicks. “It’s been the same ever since Fielding was shelved and what goals Harris has got have been largely due to his own individual efforts.
“The team are slipping down the table and will slip further this month with better-class teams coming along and most of them away games. The Everton management no doubt consider that changes are not justified until heavy defeats away plus home defeats are suffered that’s if previous experience is any guide. Changes should be made when points are forfeited at home to teams that couldn’t be worse and particularly with left wing weakness blatant. “McNamara played well but he will suffer as he did last season culminating in the Blackpool home defeat, because he rarely offered very good passes. “Good opposition will cash in on team that can only play half a match and that half not always brilliant.
“Still, I suppose we will have no changes yet just as we have no floodlights, no Continental e&c and meanwhile 30,000 will roll up each Saturday until we can stand it no longer and transfer our allegiance to the enemy who can at least score goals. In Fielding we have the football and in Harris the goals.”
EVERTON AT BLACKPOOL
December 9, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s task against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, difficult though it appears, is no harder than some they have already successfully tackled either with complete or partial reward. It used to be Liverpool of whom we said that they rose best to the occasion when the task seemed most formidable. Everton have been doing that on some occasions in their away matches this season, despite their intermittent disappointments at home. Blackpool re one of this winter’s surprise sides. Those pessimistic Bloomfield Road followers who forecast another depressing struggle against relegation have had to eat their words. Instead the Seasiders have tipped the table most of the time, and though now second to Manchester United, are only a point behind with a game in hand. And this despite the fact that injuries have robbed them of full backs Shimwell and Garrett since the early stages of the campaign. Armfield and Wright their successors have been on top of their form as also has centre half Gratrix. Drafted into the side when Johnstone stiffered a pre-season injury he has done so well that Johnston was released to take over the management of Reading. The influx of these three younger men has reduced the average age of a team which was beginning to become somewhat overburdened with veteran performers. Another long service player, who has left Bloomfield Road is centre forward Stanley Mortensen, now with Hull City.
Test For Tansey
Mudie has taken over at centre forward and Allan Brown, although still keen to get away, continues to give of his best in Blackpool’s cause in the absence of a transfer. With evergreen Stanley Matthews and the newly capped Bill Perry on the wings, the Blackpool attack will not be slow to take advantage if there are any weakness in the Blues’ rearguard, such as against Chelsea last week. Tansey’s meeting with Matthews represents the left back’s biggest test since he became a regular member of the Blues senior side. For 20 years full back everywhere have been trying to devise ways and means of putting a stop to Matthews gallop. There is no cast-iron solution if Tansey does his best and tries to get to the ball first he can do no more. Good luck to him. Blackpool’s only home defeat was against Preston on October 29, when goalkeeper Farm injured an arm in the early stages and went centre forward. Farm, Fenton, Gratrix, Kelly, Mudie, Perry and Taylor have appeared in every game. Seven ever-present is good going at this advanced stage, Wright has missed only one game, the first of the season. Perry is leading scorer with 11 goals though he has not found the net since October 1. Mudie is one behind him, and Taylor has four. Matthews obtained one of his rare goals against Wolves on September 17, when a new ground record of 38,098 for Bloomfield Road was established. If Everton play with the fighting spirit that they showed at Charlton, Newcastle, Sunderland and which also characterized their second half revival last week, they will take Blackpool all the way, and might well upset the home side’s expectations of maximum points. Blackpool; Farm; Armfield, Wright; Fenton, Gratrix, Kelly; Matthews, Taylor, Mudie, Brown, Perry. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Parker, Eglington.
MUDIE-MAGNIFICENT FOR BLACKPOOL-MEAN TO EVERTON!
December 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Blackpool 4, Everton 0
Blackpool; Farm, goal; Armfield and Wright, backs; Fenton, Gratrix, and Kelly, half-backs; Matthews, Taylor, Mudie, Brown, and Perry, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. J.C. Clough (Bolton). Blackpool was not on its best behavior today for it was yet and there was a strong wind blowing which was likely to have an effect upon the play. Ball control would not be easy and mistakes would have to be forgiven. Blackpool are riding high in second place to Manchester United and Everton were hoping to improve their position for their away record is quite good. The game was started with the white ball for there was every indication that the light would become poor as the game progressed. Everton made the first real attack through the agency of a free kick but the Blackpool defence was not unduly troubled. A little later, however, a centre by Harris dropped in the waiting hands of Farm who side –stepped a charge by Parker who went sailing into the net.
A nice through pass by Wainwright to Parker was full of possibilities but the Everton inside left shot tamely at Farm who picked up and cleared. So far we had not seen Blackpool in an attacking sense, and when Eglington’s centre to Parker was challenged he shot and the ball passed outside. Farm was again in action retrieving a ball from the right wing. So far Everton had been the more impressive side so far as attack was concerned. Another fast raid by Everton was repelled and then we saw the Blackpool right wing indulging in a spot of loose passing which produced nothing worth worrying about but when Matthews slipped round Tansey there was obvious danger until O’Neill came out and dived on the ball and cleared. Brown tried to open up the Everton defence with a through ball which did not reach its objective. Wainwright was off the mark with a shot and so was Mudie from a Brown pass. This is considered a miss for Mudie was in a good scoring position.
Harris In Hurry
It was now Everton’s turn and Harris finished off a good movement with a fast rising shot that passed over the bar. Even if it had gone under the ban it would not have counted for Harris was offside. The Everton goal had a narrow squeak when Mudie turned inside to Brown who was rather slow in getting the ball under control so that Farrell was able to nip in and concede a corner which was taken care of. Mudie had a chance all his own but he blazed the ball over the bar from more than ten yards out. Matthews had not seen sight of the ball for some minutes and when he got it he did not make his customary use of it for his pass went straight to Moore. If anything Everton were playing slightly the better football, Jones made a highly successful tackle on Brown to prevent him from getting in his shot, but a moment later a terrific drive by Mudie struck the bar and flashed over into the crowd.
The rain was whirling about the field, when Eglington swooped down on the Blackpool goal and gave Farm something to keep him warm. A foul on McNamara produced a free kick but Lello’s shot was well out of line with the goal. The shooting by both sides had not been of the best and when Parker was put through the should have done much better then lash the ball outside. Blackpool took three corners in a row and Mudie had a shot charged down the Tansey a good move between Eglington and Parker looked promising until the former was beaten by Armfield. There was plenty of shooting but it was up to standard for Kelly was nicely placed by Matthews but he crashed the ball behind.
Perry was moving across the held in his endeavour to find an opening but the Everton defence was giving little away Moore’s reading of the play enabled him to cut in and clear a difficult situation. Tansey was working his way to his own goal preparing to make a pass back to O’Neill but Mudie and Matthews were in close attention and things looked desperate until a corner relieved the pressure. The game was 35 minutes old when there was a misunderstanding between Jones and O’Neill and Mudie was able to nip between them and roll the ball into the empty net. Blackpool had been putting on the pressure for some time, but there was an element of good fortune about this goal. Matthews took a corner from Tansey, but his corner kick carried too much length and went right across the field to an Everton man. Corners were frequent in the Everton goal area, and Brown was unlucky to see his close-in shot hit the crossbar and rebound into play. Everton had not been in it for some time other than in a defensive role, and Fenton brought out a good save by O’Neill who fielded the ball close to the upright. Half-time; Blackpool 1, Everton nil. Blackpool went straight into the attack in the second half and O’Neill had to do down on his knees to save a shot from Taylor, Matthews picked up a clearance in the Blackpool goal and raced 20 yards before he pushed the ball out to Perry., whose centre was headed back into the centre by Taylor, but an Everton man collected. Gratrix was responsible for a clearance as Wainwright rushed in. Blackpool were soon back at the other end and a Matthews run and centre terminated in Mudie making a glanding header which passed well out of the reach of O’Neill.
All Blackpool Now
It was now all Blackpool and a tremendous shot by Brown was brilliantly turned over the tangle of the woodwork. Armfield gave away an unnecessary comes which Eglington put outside, Matthews after beating Tansey did something uncommon for him-centred behind. Looking back through my notes I find that Farm had but one shot to deal with which shows the lack of punch there was in the Everton attack. A neat line up between Brown and Taylor resulted in the latter shooting hard and true, but O’Neill saved. Gratrix once gave Harris a perfect dummy and at the other end Berry went over to the right to centre. A long lob by Harris up to Parker looked as though it might produce a goal but Farm took the Everton man’s header. Farm’s work was easy as compared to that of O’Neill who had to bring off another great save from Brown. A pass by Brown to Mudie left the latter with an open goal in front of him. After Brown, had cleverly slipped past Lello, Mudie had time to trap the ball and fix his spot. There was no goalkeeper at home, Brown having drawn the Everton defence right away. This was Mudie’s hat-trick. O’Neill punched away a cross from Matthews followed up and caught his own clearance Everton went to the other end but did not stay there long. Perry scored fourth for Blackpool after 87 minutes. Final; Blackpool 4, Everton nil.
EVERTON RES V CHESTERFIELD RES
December 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Donovan, Woods and Melville, half-backs; Harris (B), Fielding, Lewis, Williams, Vizard, forwards. Chesterfield Res;- Banks, goal; Detchon and Furness, backs; Bannister, Flockett, and Huthcinson, half-backs; McCabe, Keen, Brown, Havenhand, and Williams, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. E. Readie (Streford). The visitors took advantage of a strong diagonal wind and in the first attack scored a surprise goal through Brown who hearted in from a corner by Williams. For a spell Chesterfield forced Everton to concede four corners during this spell. Everton were inclined to over-elaborate and the ineffectiveness of their finishing can be judged by Banks having only one real testing shot although both Fielding and Harris missed responsible chances. Half-time; Everton Res nil, Chesterfield Res 1. After Vizard had shot just wide the Everton goal under-went several lucky escapes during which both Keen and Havenhand missed simple chances. Everton, however, were now shooting more often and accurately and Parkes forced Banks to save by the post while Williams was unlucky not to score with two crashing shots.
GAPS =CAREY’S METHOD AND WRIGHT’S
December 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
In Eire’s recent international at Dublin against Spain, I was a little disappointed in the Spaniards as ball artists in comparison with the Hungarians and other top grade international sides. The fact that we drew 2-2 with Spain was generally recognised as a good performance in view of the Spaniards’ high rating as footballers on the Continent. Our team manager Jackie Carey in his pre-match tactical talk to the Irish side, stressed the importance of moving up and down the field as a unit, thereby quitting down to a minimum the gaps and open spaces in midfield, which it given to a side like Spain, can create so much trouble for the opposition. This plan of campaign was carried out fairly successfully by the Irish sire, and the Spaniards at no stage during the game had either the room or time that all good ball players like a display their skill. As a result of this close marking by the Irish side, the lads were generally in a position to make a tackle before the Spaniards got the ball fully under control. I know there is nothing new in these tactics as they are an old as the game itself but in recent years in a desire to improve the general standard of play we seem t be for getting some if the fundamental principles of the game.
In my experience of previous Irish international sides we seemed to get into an awful lot of trouble due to big gaps between the forwards and the defence both departments being equally guilty in not linking up with one another as they should. Our game against Spain showed how improved it is to have someone like Carey as manager of an international side who knows the game and through his personality and greatness commands respect. I was a very interested television viewer of Spain’s Wembley game against England, to see if Walter Winter bottom and Billy Wright in conjunction with the rest of the England side would adopt similar tactics to Carey’s. Those of you who saw the game may have noticed that the Spanish side, between the two penalty areas had plenty of room to move without being closely marked and they showed how accurately they could pass the ball from man to man. The tactics of Billy Wright and his men seemed to have been to allow the Spaniards to retain possession fill they arrived near the England penalty area, where they usually met a very unsolidated line of defenders, through which they rarely penetrated. Those tactics although totally different to those used by the Irish side proved very successful as the 4-1 victory testified. Some people maintain that pre-match plans are pointless and that the game was far better when players were out and played at they wished and though best. Perhaps it was but, in my opinion a side irrespective of whether it is an international eleven or a league team should benefit by an understanding among themselves but also some have a set plan of campaign to be adhered to as far as possible when they go out on the field.
Point To Chelsea
Our game against the League champions Chelsea was a little disappointing from the point of views of the result to all of us connected with Everton. Having recovered from being two goals down to gain a 3-2 lead only to surrender it with only two minutes to play was heart-breaking. A lot of criticism has been leveled at the Blues forward line this season but last Saturday I think you will agree that the defence must take most of the blame for Everton not having won by a couple of goals. It was rather unfortunate that with the lads up in front shooting on the target perhaps better than in any previous game this season those of us behind should have moments of shadiness which resulted in the opposition scoring three goals which I thought should have been prevented. I as I am sure others do, dislike very much to read in a paper something which we were supposed to say after a game but never in actual fact said. Last Monday I read in a national daily paper a comment concerning last week’s penalty which I was supposed to have made. In truth nobody interviewed me concerning the matter after the game.
BEATING THE DARK
December 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Authority Taking Stock Anew
There has been no more contention subject in post-war football than that of floodlight matches. Those who favour them accuse the League Management Committee of lagging behind the times because they frown on competitive games at night and put their foot down when some English and Scottish clubs had the idea of starting a Floodlit League. During the past fortnight, however, two widely separate developments in connection with flood-lighting have put rather a different aspect on some angles of the problem and the League legislators are to go into the matter again at their meeting in London tomorrow. Contrary to what has been stated in some quarters the Management Committee has given close attention to all aspects of the floodlight business over recent years. As a body they have kept in constant touch with what has been going on, while individual members –some of whom are directors of clubs which are among the floodlighting adherents –have been able to give their colleagues the low-down on their own personal experiences of the advantages and possible snags. From inquiries I have made it seems likely that there may be a change of attitude on the part of the governing body and the possibility of a relaxation on the present partial ban on competitive floodlit games.
The first intimation of this came in the statement on Wednesday after the meeting in Liverpool of the inter-League Board, which comprises the Leagues of the four home countries. It was significant that this statement, after expressing the view that floodlighting could be of benefit to football –which has not previously been conceded in some official quarters – went on to say that the Board had decided that if at any time a floodlit competition is envisaged among its member clubs the sole control of it should be vested in the League. This latter proviso is a wise one, for obvious reasons but the mere fact that the league have laid it down indicates the possibility, if not the probability of further developments. The League, however, moves slowly in matters of vital consequences –as so many of it’s critics have complained –and they will explore all angles before taking any sweeping steps. The first of the two recent incidents which has again brought floodlighting to the fore was the tremendous jump in the taking at the first round flood-lit cup-tie replays between Carlise and Darlington. At Brunton Park, the attendance was double the average Carlise Saturday gate, and far greater than had the replay been on a mid-week afternoon.
An Eye Opener
Their second replay at Newcasle attracted over 34,000 spectators and receipts of £4,500. That two Third Division sides should take the amount non a First Division ground, where there was no great local interest was a real eye-opener to the Management Committee and also to the Football Association who had only yielded to requests fortnight cup-ties after considerable pressure. In view of this starting success the F.A will doubtless be in more sympathetic mood regarding the desires of senior clubs with flood-lighting to stage replays from the third round onwards in the evening. So far permission extends only to the first two rounds before the big clubs come into the reckoning. Providing clubs concerned in later replays are mutually desirous of a might match there seems no reason why all taking part in the competition should not received permission. One point agitating the minds of the League Management Committee has been the possibility of spectators being injured if the lights failed and a large crowd was plunged into darkness. It would seem simple enough to guard against that by alternative lighting in stands and passages. The other development which has caused soccer legislators to revise their views as the use of lights at Wembley towards the end of the England and Spain match. Every football follower has experienced the disappointment and irritation of straining his eyes when falling light has made it almost impossible to clearly see the opposite side of the field in mid-winter. Occasionally, on a dull and overcast day, it has been difficult to follow play comfortably most of the second half. This could be completely eliminated if clubs with lights could switch them on whenever visibility necessitated. We had an example of that at Goodison Park in the inter-League match when the light went so bad for a short spell in the second half that one wondered whether the game would finish. Fortunately the clouds passed over. The Football League and F.A. officials who were present must have realized then the advantage of lights, Mr. Fred Howarth secretary of the League remarked on that fact to me in the boardroom later. Furthermore instead of starting at 2.15, and 2.30kicks-off could be put back with consequent improvement in gates. Throughout the country attendances drop considerably in mid-winter because of the early start. People from a distance cannot get to the ground in time. Another indication of the gradual change in the attitude of the League Management Committee is that this season for the first time in Soccer history clubs will be permitted; - subject to mutual agreement –to play any rearranged League matches due to cup-tie interference under lights. The League will doubtless watch the gates at such games very closely. Hitherto re-arranged on mid-week afternoons have sometimes drawn less than half the usual Saturday average which frequently meant that the club still in the Cup has had to pay heavy compensation. It cost Manchester City close on £2,000 to compensate Everton for a displaced fixture last winter, which was no laughing matter.
Anfield and Goodison and Floodlights
Merseyside football enthusiasts have often wondered why Everton and Liverpool have not had floodlighting installed. The reason is that they have been waiting to see whether it has come to stay or was only a temporary craze. Liverpool actually had tentative plans drawn up and secured estimate nine years ago, following their first American tour in which they were much impressed by the lights in the States. Both clubs have watched developments over recent years very closely, and the matter has been discussed several times by the respective boards. So far it has been felt that they should continue to sit on the fence. The general opinion has been that floodlighting would only pay if outstanding attractive games could be arranged such as Wolves have staged. The avenue for these is not only limited, but may become more difficult as the number of clubs with lights increases. In view of the latest developments outlined on this page, however, and the possibility that in addition to Cup replays and rearranged League games, officials permission may eventually be given to some form of floodlit competitive league, both clubs may find it incumbent to go more fully into the matter again. Although Sheffield Wednesday’s installation cost over £25,000, other clubs have obtained most efficient systems for about half that amount. When Liverpool last went onto the matter a year or so ago they were quoted around £12,000 for a system which was guaranteed to be satisfactory in every way.
EVERTON ATTACK WOULD NOT SHOOT
December 12, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Blackpool 4, Everton 0
There are no excuses to offer for Everton’s defeat other than that they were greatly inferior to the new League leaders, who might well have run up a mammoth score against a truly harassed defence, which had caved in due to the enormous pressure Blackpool put on it by their high-powered attacks. For some weeks now Everton have not been playing well although they have managed to collect a few points, and their football has not been impressive, nor their forward strength punishing enough to beat the most ordinary defence. Manager Mr. Cliff Britton undoubtedly has a problem on his hands and how he is going to solve it without going into the market I just cannot imagine. The side is slipping down the table slowly but surely, and until there is more power in the attack they cannot hope for much success. I know they have pulled off some good wins away from home, but even in their moments of success they could not be rated a really good side. There are palpable weaknesses and until these are eradicated the thought of championship honours must be dismissed. When I say that Farm faced only one real shot –and that not likely to beat him for Parker only half-hit the ball – one can imagine the easy task the Blackpool defence had in governing this array of individualists. It is all very well to say that Everton looked much the better side in the first fifteen minutes, but as they had nothing to show for it, this did not matter. A goal or two then was the great need, but they were not forthcoming because there was no forward who would try a shot. Blackpool had not got together in an attacking sense, although the defence was never in trouble.
Blackpool ultimately showed Everton how to shoot. They did not need to see the whites of O’Neill’s eye before they unleashed their shots. They had only got to be somewhere in the vicinity of the goal. For some time they were off target but they did shoot Everton never did not even during their mastery. I was heartened by their play during the first quarter, although I would have liked to have seen more punch in their attacks. No side can hope to score goals unless they will take a chance. There were one or two opportunities but in Everton’s case there were no takers, and Farm cannot have bad such an easy game for many a month. What made Everton deteriorate so much after that bright opening? It could have been that the Blackpool wing half backs took a stronger grip of things, and from that moment, Everton were heading for defeat. With the subjection of the Everton forwards it was only natural that a heavy burden was placed on the shoulders of the defence, and this eventually gave way under the strain. I am ready to admit that Blackpool’s first goal was due to an error by Jones whose pass back to the out coming O’Neill never reached the Everton goalkeeper, for Mudie nipped between them and sent the ball rolling into the empty net at the 35th minute. That goal in fact was the Blackpool winner, they need not have scored three others, for the Everton forwards did not look capable of mustering every one. Blackpool were a strong side. They went forward with purposeful passes, and they ultimately opened a crack in the Everton defence through which Mudie slipped twice more to complete his “hat-trick” –his second this season. Mudie is only a midget so far as centre forwards go, yet he was able to out head Jones and glide Matthews centre past O’Neill. Brown, who has come back to his best form, despite being on the transfer list, put the ball on a “plate” for Mudie’s “hat-trick” for the Blackpool centre forward had only to smash it into the an empty net. Brown having lured the Everton defence out of position. Perry’s goal was a crack-a-jack shot taken from well out and it was in the net like a flash, yet this same player had been the one weak link in an otherwise strong forward line. I felt sorry for young Jimmy Harris, I cannot recall him ever having a decent pass but through to him. He must have wondered why he could not get such passes as provided Mudie with his trio of goals. Lello had an off day and Farrell strove valiantly to turn the tide, but this Blackpool side would not be held. They scored four goals, they twice hit the woodwork and O’Neill had to make some brilliant saves to prevent the seasiders from turning the game into a rout. It was indeed, a most disheartening Everton, but what Mr. Britton is going to do about it –well that is his concern.
PRIORITY NEED AT GOODISON
December 12, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Forwards Who Know How To Shoot
It is easy to be destructive but that does not help so let us try and see how things can be mended out Goodison Park way. It has been all too obvious for some time that the Everton forward line has not been good enough and goodness knows it has had a fair and lengthy trial. More punch is required but how and where to get it is going to be the problem. There is a real problem the Everton club for the side is gradually slipping down the table and this 0-4 defeat at Blackpool will surely bring them to the realization that something has got to be done in the reserve side capable of doing better or whether they will have to go into the open market I cannot say, but it is obvious that the attack wants gingering up. this was without doubt one of Everton’s worst displays for the Blackpool defence had no trouble in holding down an attack which produced no more than two shots at goal in 90 minutes football.
I told you on Saturday that Everton looked quite capable of extending Blackpool in the first quarter of an hour. Their approach work was smooth and subtle but it lacked the main thing –shots I have not seen the forwards so poor for many a long day in fact, it would be a travesty to call it a forward line on the day’s showing. One had to look to the Blackpool front line to see what a forward should be. Here was power rounded off by a shot. Some missed their mark, but, it is something to have shot and missed rather than not to have shot at all. You may say that Blackpool’s first goal was lucky. Maybe it was but the man was capable of taking the chance? It all came about through a back pass by Jones to the out coming O’Neill. The ball never reached the goalkeeper, for Mudie had sped in collected it, and then ruled it into the empty net. That was the end of Everton’s hopes. Blackpool went from strength to strength and the actual result does not give a complete picture of their domince it would have been six or even more goals in their bag had not the woodwork twice intervened and I have not forgotten some of the grand saves O’Neill made from those goal hungry Blackpool forwards they did not want to walk the ball into the net. All they needed was the sight of goal to bring a shot.
One or two were bound to go in sooner or later and by the end they had collected four, the first three of them to Mudie one of the smallest centre forwards in the game today. What support he reached from his colleagues Matthews gave him one and Brown the other . In the Matthews case Mudie actually out headed Jones head and shoulders taller than him. With no forwards striking the Blackpool wing half backs were able to come through with the ball and ply their attack and once that was accomplished –it had not functioned to well in the first quarter of an hour- Everton’s fate was sealed. The defence battled by but the weight thrown on it was too much to stand and Blackpool cut and carved their way through without and great effort. Not all Everton’s trouble lay with the attack for there were weaknesses further behind Lello for instance did not have his usual good game and Farrell while working like a Trojan had to pay too much attention to defence to think of his forwards requirement. To be perfectly frank “honestly don’t think the Everton forward could have accomplished much even had they had full services from behind too they were never playing as a complete whole.
A silpse here and there of movement of promise but it was always at the back of the mind that once it made contact with the Blackpool defence the latter would come out victorious and it did. It was quite a simple matter for Armfield and Wright and Fenton, Gratrix and Kelly, to subdue a lack lustra Everton attack. Alan Brown is back in his best form, the fact that he is on transfer has not made the slightest difference to him and little Taylor and the income parable Matthews were much too subtle for Everton. Perry was not a great success yet put his name on the score sheet with a terrific shot. If there was only a man in Everton attack who had the same eye for a shot in Perry, Goodison Park would be happy. To get right down to brass tacks let me conclude by saying that this was the poorest display Everton have put up this season. It is sad story but a true one and I for one don’t want it to linger long in the memory.
READERS ON WARPATH
December 15, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
R.E. of Yew Tree Road Ormskirk writes “How much longer have Evertonians to suffer the persistent selection of two inside forwards who do not posses sufficient foot ball craft whilst the only player with the necessary qualifications Wally Fielding plays in the reserves? Not only is the side as a whole suffering as witness their recent decling but that fine centre forward prospect Jimmy Harris is reduced to chasing balls which he has not a hope of catching and is fast burning himself up. Why was Woods dropped so hurriedly after three sterling display? With all respect to T. Jones the recent displays have been below his usual standard. “The manager may have his own ideas but the majority of Evertonians are belogged, and up and bewildered.”
W.D. of Stallsfield Avenue, Liverpool 11 has this to say. “It has been obvious for some time where Everton’s forward weaknesses lie namely in Parker and Eglington. Parker has not played a good game for months. As for Eglington over the past few seasons he has maintained a standard of mediocrity which must be a record even for Everton. “I suggest Everton should recall Fielding and take immediate to sign a trustful winger and an energetic inside forward.”
No Fean on Favour
“Shareholder” says “We have heard much in past years of Everton’s youth policy. It is true that it has produced some first team players but not as many as we had been led to hope. There seems too much reluctance to give the younger professionals a chance in the senior side and too much reliance on past reputations instead of current form I am all for the youth policy but it must be pursued without fear of favour.
Mr. A. Higgins of Kaigh Avenue, Great Crosby, writes; “The prospect of more defeats to come if forward changes are not made has been sticking out a mile since Fielding was dropped despite a few streaky away points. We had exactly the same decline last year, culminating with a succession of defeats. Mr. Britton must go into the transfer market. There should be enough cash for this. “Everton should buy young players not those past their best. He should also use them properly and not keep bringing back the old favourities sometimes out of their normal position. “I sign for a team like Everton had 20 years ago. That was not built upon theory but on hand cash and making the best of players who consistently merited first team places.
EVERTON WIN OVERDUE
December 16, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton will not lack support at Preston where many of their followers will be cheering them on in the hope that they can get “revenge” for the defeat at Goodison in August. Preston have a rather peculiar record. They have taken 50 per cent more points from away games than from those at home. they have the best record, on opposing grounds of any First Division club, and the worst at home of any except Tottenham, whose figures including goals for and against are exactly similar. Preston’s away form would have put them well up the table had they been able to produce comparable performance before their own supporters. For some inexplicable reason which has been bothering Manager Frank Hill quite a bit they have been nothing like the same side at Deepdale. After two home wins and a draw they took only one point from the next six Deepdale fixtures in three of which they failed to get a single goal. A fortnight ago they defeated Wolves 2-0 and are naturally hoping that now they have got over that bad patch things will never more closely to what is regarded as normal home form. One of the biggest Preston problems during the past 18 months has been to fill the centre forward berth satisfactorily following the departure of Wayman to Middlesbrough. They switched players and made numerous experiments trying no fewer than seven of their staff without finding the right solution. Last week Manager Hill signed Eddie Lewis the young Manchester United reserve centre forward, who made his debut against Aston Villa last Saturday and scored a goal. With talented inside men alongside him like Thompson and Baxter to say nothing of Tom Finney and Taylor on the wings. Lewis should not lack for scoring opportunities. Thompson, the former Aston Villa player, who was signed at a fee of around £25,000 last close season is leading marksman with 12 goals. Finney has scored nine and Baxter seven. A little while ago Everton were doing so well away that one always felt hopeful, no matter who they were playing. Latterly they have not been so good and last week’s display at Blackpool was one of their worst. With only two points from the last five matches Everton have been steadily dropping down the table. A win is now overdue. It would be most acceptable at Preston expense.
Preston North End; Thompson (R); Wilson, Walton; Doherty, Mattison, Forbes; Finney, Thompson (T), Lewis, Baxter, Taylor. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Fielding, Eglington.
Don’t forget the youth match at Goodison tomorrow morning, starting a 10.45 when Everton meet Blackpool in the third round of the National Youth Cup. It should be a most entertaining game between the cream of the young talent of both clubs.
December 17, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Fielding’s return to the Everton team at Preston is timely, despite the belief by some that one player, however, good cannot revolutionise a team’s play. I confess to the opinion that Fleming’s appearance is likely to have a far reaching effect not least the effect on the chances enjoyed by Jimmy Harris. Were Everton to fail –but Preston’s poor home record indicates the possibility of Everton escaping defeat –we might see Everton launch, for the first time for years, into the big-money transfer market. The long-term plan for producing their own talent has not been wholly successful, partly I imagine because the world’s of gilded football, youth is peopled by those who are easily tempted to clubs other than those in their own neighborhood. Coincidentally, it was at Preston in 1945 that Fielding made his debut for Everton. Of the players on the pitch that day only two –Fielding and Eddie Wainwright –survive for this 1955 meeting. Preston North End; Thompson (R); Wilson, Walton; Doherty, Mattison, Forbes; Finney, Thompson (T), Lewis, Baxter, Taylor. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Fielding, Eglington.
Preston V. Everton Traffic Plans
Lancashire Constabulary point out that due to extensive road repairs in Preston, traffic using the main roads into the town from the Liverpool and Southport directions today may be delayed. To avoid this, motorists attending the match are asked to use the under mentioned route which will be suitably signed;- The diversion applies to the inward journey to Preston only and is not suitable for double-deck buses. Any such vehicle should travel along the main road through Preston. Route;- From Liverpool-Southport via A59 to Tarleton ad Carr House Lane, B5247 (Bretheron Toll Bar) then along Carr House Lane, South Road, Bretherton Road and Barbers Moor Lane. B5249 to Chorley Road. A581. Along Chorley Road and Dawber’s Lane to the main Wigan-Preston road A49 at Euxton. A49 Euxton Leyland to A6 Bamber Bridge, Walton-le-Dale to Preston.
HARRIS CANCELS OUT RARE PENALTY MISS BY TOMMY JONES
December 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Preston 0, Everton 1
Everton have broken the spell. They had gone five games without a victory so the success at Deepdale was particularly welcome. The goal that gave them their success may have been a little fortunate but every credit must be given to Harris. Everton’s display was much better than we have seen of late and the only disappointed man on the Everton side was Tom Jones who missed a penalty. Preston; Thompson, goal; Wilson and Walton, backs; Docherty, Mattinson and Forbes, half-backs; Finney, Thompson, Lewis, Baxter, and Taylor, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. Black (Kendall). There was not a big crowd at Deepdale today, considering that this at one time used to be a really attractive fixture. The North End had not been doing at all well at home and this no doubt was one of the reasons for the small attendance.
Two Goal Changes
Everton could well have been two goals up in the space of five minutes for they had dominated the game right from the kick-off and within three minutes a run by Harris on the left wing, in which he used his speed to completely outwit the North End defence, and then job a ball into the goalmouth which passed out of reach of any Preston man and also Wainwright. McNamara however, had taken up excellent position and a goal seemed sure but to the disappointment of the Everton followers his side-footed shot passed outside. It could safely be said that this was an open goal missed. A few minutes later Eglington offered a similar sort of centre and this time McNamara decided to use his head and Thompson had to go down smartly to prevent the ball from going over his line. So far we had seen nothing of Preston as an attacking force. It was Everton who were providing the football and the thrills and after Docherty had a long shot blocked by one of his own colleagues, Everton returned to the attack and Farrell, with a hook shot forced Thomson to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.
Preston Hit Back
This was disposed of but it was still Everton who were calling the tune but they were doing it by smooth and fluent football. At long last the North End attack hit back and Finney was only just held up by Tansey but the ball was not completely cleared and Thomson (T.) shot wide from a position almost as good as that from which McNamara had missed. The North End were now getting into some sort of ship=shape and a Baxter centre saw Finney streak through the Everton defence and head the ball against the bar. It came out to Tom Thompson whose shot failed to find a way through the rather cluttered up goalmouth. It was nevertheless a very tense moment or two for Everton. The teams were more balanced just now and Finney who was moving to the centre quite often tried a hard shot which was blocked by Tom Jones and from this Everton went straight to the other end and win a corner. This was taken by Eglington but Fielding’s header was not quite on the mark. The North End certainly had a chance when Baxter broke through and beating Farrell he shot outside from a score able position. It was now end to end football and Harris who lured George Thompson from his lair then tried to hook the ball in from an acute angle but failed in his mission.
Thirty seconds later Harris whose speed, was creating a lot of trouble for the opposition fired in a fierce shot which was too hot for Thompson to hold. The ball seemed to run back towards Harris who, however, had lost his foothold and was unable to accept what would have been an easy goal. Lewis who was making his first home appearance for Preston had an opportunity to put his name on the score sheet when he burst though and delivered a shot of power, which O’Neill thumped away and although the ball came back to the shooter Lewis was terribly wild with his second effort the ball flying yards away from its target.
Plenty of Shots
This was a vastly different Everton to that we saw at Blackpool a week ago. There was more movement about them and they had delivered twice as many shots in the first half hour then they did in the whole game at Bloomfield Road. Eglington put one just over the bar and Docherty had another shot blocked while George Thompson trainaged by some means or other to get his tips of his fingers to a ball to keep it away from Wainwright. Thompson shot outside from close range and this brought the first stoppage while Lello received attention for a blow on the leg. Lello returned but was limping; that was why he was beaten in a tackle which sent North End goalwards, but they were soon driven out. A long ball from the Everton rear sent Harris off on the far wing and after cleverly beating his man, the Everton centre forward whose shot passed harmlessly outside. Finney had a shot and then three corners came in quick succession, one of Everton and two to Preston N.E. This was followed by an Everton raid on the left wing and Eglington’s centre was spooned high up in the air and over the bar. If anything Everton were playing slightly the better football although O’Neill had to save a deflected shot by Taylor. The Irish goalkeeper had a tussle with Baxter and things looked a wee bit desperate until Jones finally clearly the enemy of the penalty area. At this point North End were attacking strongly- and the Everton defence was often hard pressed to prevent them from taking a goal. A one-handed save by O’Neill was one more of the many thrills we had enjoyed this half. Half-time; Preston nil, Everton Nil.
Taylor missed from a lovely position brought his tally of misses up to three Everton were mainly on the defensive although Wainwright picked up a long clearance and tried a shot which passed outside the far post and then Finney cleverly hooked the ball into the Everton goalmouth where there was a not scramble for a few seconds before the danger was cleared.
Lello received another knock on the leg and the game was stopped for a moment but the big thrill of the match so far was when Harris was racing through and goalkeeper Thompson was left to his own resource. He decided to come out and challenge the Everton centre forward but in doing so brought him down and there was no alternative but a penalty. This was taken by Tom Jones, but to the dismay of the crowd this penalty specialist shot well wide. He immediately put his hands to his head with aguish for this was I think his first ever penalty miss for the first eleven. There was a similar sort of incident at the other end but the referee was on the spot and decided that the claim was not jusfied. The North End who were not playing such clever football were cutting through rather easily yet O’Neill was not so busy as he might have been. An Eglington shot whizzed just outside and a cross field movement by Everton ended with a goal-kick.
Harris On Target
Docherty was keen to shoot, but he was not a good marksman to-day, and the next goalkeeping incident was in the Preston goal when Thompson caught a header by Harris. Obstruction on Finney brought considerable pressure to the Everton defence and following a corner Taylor hit a fast and low shot which Moore stopped near the upright. Whether the ball would have gone in or not I am not in a position to say. It was perhaps all against the run of the play in this half when Harris scored for Everton. It was particularly a self-made goal for the Everton centre gave Walton the complete “dummy” and then lobbed the ball into the N.E goalmouth. There seemed no particular danger, but Thompson had obviously misjudged the flight of the ball for it passed him by and dropped into the far side of the net at the 69th minute. It was a just reward for Harris who had been one of the most outstanding men on the field. His vis-à-vis in the Preston side Lewis went close, but the former Manchester United man had not the speed nor fluency of Harris, who was a constant thorn in the side of the Preston defence. A tackle by Fielding on Thompson who was moving in threateningly, did not please the home crowd, but that did not trouble the referee who would not listen to a claim for a penalty. A shot by Lello was deflected for a corner by Watson but McNamara headed Eglington’s flag kick behind. Finney was right through the Everton defence but O’Neill did the only thing possible and that was come out and narrow Finney’s angle. This he did so successfully that Finney’s shot actually struck him and the result ended up in a corner, safely cleared. Final;- Preston nil, Everton 1. Official attendance 21,917.
( Spots Blots)
• Jones, Everton’s centre half, missed a penalty against Preston North End. Woods, Everton’s reserve centre half, missed a penalty against Preston North End Reserves.
PLAYING IN FRONT OF HOME FANS IS AN ADVANTAGE
December 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
When the cup draw was announced last Monday soccer fans throughout the country had but one main concern namely, how their favourites would fare in the third round and their club’s chances of a good cup run. Both Everton and Liverpool have been lucky in being drawn at home and despite the glorious uncertainly of Cup football, playing in front of home fans is always a slight advantage in Cup-ties. What glamour there is attached to the Cup. Week after week sides in every division are engaged in League ties for valuable points from August to May, but when all the big sides enter the fray for the Cup glory in January the one thought uppermost in the minds of players and supporters alike is the possibility however great or small of a Wembley visit as a player or to cheer on one’s favourite team. There is an old saying in football that it takes a good team to win the League and that luck plays only a small part in achieving such a distinction but that good fortune can play a very big part to the free cup-ties that generally lead to Wembley. From my person experience of League and Cup games I would say there is a tremendous difference between the two. In a League game, however, important the result may be there is always the knowledge that if beaten there is usually a chance to make up lost ground in the next match, whereas players go on to the field in a Cup match with the thought uppermost that if beaten there can be no second chance, which tends to keep players on their toes for the full 90- minutes with that little bit more than in league games. The atmosphere among the fans during a Cup-tie is also very different from that of a League game as gally bedecked supporters fully realize that, if their favourities are beaten it means their cup favours must be put among the moth balls for another year. No matter how great the odds look against some sides progressing to the fourth round their fans will flock in thousands to lend their vocal power to the efforts of their favourities. I suppose but many will gave Boston of Redford much chance against Tottenham Hotspur or the mighty Arsenal, yes thousands of these little clubs supporters will go to White Hart Lane and Highbury, not only hopeful that the mighty Londoners will be defeated but also optimistic about their favourities chances. Football fans everywhere will anxiously await the third round results hoping that the giant killers will overshadow the mighty. This glorious uncertainly of Cup ties with the hugh entry of clubs great and small, makes the English Cup competition the greatest knock-out tournament in soccer anywhere in the world.
Breeze Blackpool seems to reserve its gale force winds for Everton’s visits to Bloomfield Road, and last week’s conditions were well on par with every previous visit of mine in a Blue jersey. I am not endeavouring to forward this as an excuse for the Blues’ dismal showing against Blackpool. In the first period and particularly in the first half hour we were well in the game with a chance, but in the second half our play went from bad to worse and I am afraid we were a well beaten side long before the final whistle. The form of the Blues must have been a big disappointment to the bands of supporters who made the journey to Blackpool. Stanley Matthews, yes, that man again had been in the news through his being omitted from the England side and through that I consider a rather stupid newspaper article following his display against Spurs. Matthews on various occasions in recent years has been written off by some as nearing the end of his long reign as the prince of footballers. His display last Saturday despite the fact that Jimmy Tansey played him as well as anyone can play him when he is in form, proved that Stan is still tops at his profession. I am sure the Spaniards and the League of Ireland side were all very glad that they had not Stan to contend with in the recent representative games.
EVERTON RES V PRESTON RES
December 17, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; Dunlop, goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Birch, Woods, and Grant, half-backs; Harris (B), Thomas, Lewis, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Preston N.E. Res;- Else, goal; Bibby ad Enwistle, backs; Evans, Dunn, and Parkinson, half-backs; Campbell, G. Milne, Nattell, Foster and Portwood, forwards. Referee; Mr. A. Hughes (Stoke-on-Trent). Everton dominant the early exchanges with Harris particularly prominent. When the winger backs heeled the ball to Thomas the latter’s shot passed only inches with Else well beaten. Harris forced the Preston goalkeeper to make a point-blank save a few minutes later. The visitors could not get going, but Dunlop was fortunate to see a shot from Portwood strike his leg. After 20 minutes Everton took the lead when Parkinson turned the ball into his own goal. Half-time; Everton Reserves 1, Preston North End Res nil.
Hoylake v Everton “C”
Everton played the better football in a rain-soaked pitch, Davock scored for the visitors after 20 minutes and Mekenan tended a good goal from Gregory’s corner. Half-time; Hoylake Ath nil, Everton “C” 2.
HARRIS BEST AT DEEPDALE
December 19, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Preston N.E. 0, Everton 1
Everton’s poor display at Blackpool was wiped out of memory at Deepdale where Everton won a narrow victory in one of the most interesting games I have seen for weeks. The goal margin does not tell the full story of the thrills of a fluctuating game which could have produced stacks of goals had all chances been taken. One would not have recognised Everton as the side which crashed at Bloomfield Road. Everton played like a First Division team should against a side with a reputation for good football. There was no weak link, although there was only one change (Fielding for Parker) and precision passing made North End’s more thrustful type of game look only moderate. That is not to say, that Preston were not dangerous yet they could have been two goals down in a matter of minutes. McNamara will still be wondering how he came to miss that chance in the opening minutes. It was an open goal yet the Everton winger made a poor effort to put the ball into the net. Perhaps he was too anxious and too quick taking his shot. Even when Preston hit back it was not by the sort of combination Everton had produced and continued to produce until well into the second half. The Everton attack often had the North End defence floundering, yet goals would not come because chances were wasted. This also applied to Preston. The score could well have been 3-3 at the interval and no one would have quibbled. Some of Preston’s misses were as bad as Everton’s. There was a ray of hope that an Everton goal would be placed on the agenda when Harris was brought down by goalkeeper Thompson with only a penalty to fit the case. Tom Jones, who had never missed a spot kick for Everton took the kick, but in trying to placed the ball wide of the goalkeeper he shot it two yards outside the upright. No wonder he, put his hands to his head in aguish.
Harris covered up his colleague with a goal fifteen minutes later when he “dummied” Mattison and then from an angle centred into goal. There seemed no danger, but Thompson had come too far out of goal and the ball passed him by and dropped in at the far side of the goal. It was a bad piece of goalkeeping for an experienced First Division goalkeeper Thompson is only human, but his error was a calamity. Preston spurted an effort to retrieve their position. It was then that we saw the fighting quality of Everton – every man jack of them. Lello was limping around with a twisted ankle and Wainwright was playing with a painful calf injury, but none shirked the issue. It was tough going, but Everton covered well, fought a magnificent rear-guard action and eventually returned to the attack to indulge again in some near misses. There was such a lot of action in this game anyone who was satisfied with what they saw should stay away from football. I enjoyed every minute and so did most of the 29,000 people present. Preston never gave up trying for that equalizer. It was Everton’s first win in half a dozen matches and a most welcome one, for their supporters were getting worried. It was accomplished by team work and team work alone. There was not a weak cog in the machine but I must pay special tribute to two of the youngster members of the side –Harris and Tansey. This was Harris’s best so far as I am concerned. He was much too slick for Preston while his “killing” of the ball and the control of it was masterly. Tansy had a different mission to perform to look after Finney and right well he did it. Finney was more often than not forced to go inside, for Tansey barred his way on the outside. The England winger made some fine openings for his colleagues and one headed on to the crossbar.
EVERTON RES V PRESTON RES
December 19, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
In a moderate game Everton deserved to win though both goals came from defensive errors. Preston were weak in attack and Dunlop the Everton goalkeeper was virtually unemployment. Else, his opposite number was almost continually in action. The Everton attack, in which Harris (B) starred, sported much approach work through over eagerness. Parkes and Woods despite a penalty miss shone in defence scores were Parkinson (own goal) and Lewis.
ANOTHER FINE HARRIS DISPLAY
December 19, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Maybe it was a fluky goal which brought about another home defeat for Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday but on balance of play Everton were fully entitled to their success, for the team as a whole played exceptionally fine football against a side which built up its name, “Proud Preston,” by football’s arts and crafts. What a difference to what I saw the week previous, when Everton touched about their lowest form against Blackpool. At Bloomfield Road there was no movement worthy the name and no shots capable-of causing Blackpool’s Farm any worries. Everton had “clicked” and that meant a whole lot for it enabled them to out-maneuver the Preston defence which should have fallen twice in the first five minutes. Preston who had been slow to start –Everton were responsible for that to a great extent – gradually came into the game as an attacking force and then we saw a great battle. Finney headed up against the crossbar, and a shot by Thompson flicked the edge of the woodwork and went right into O’Neill’s hands, while a Farrell hook shot was cleverly slipped over the bar by George Thompson. Things like this were happening every minute. The flow of the game was forever changing. Everton were producing the better movements, with passes going right, where at Preston made ground more by thrustful football, with Finney the spearhead.
First Penalty Miss
But it wanted a goal to round off the play. Who would get the first one –probably the winner for it did not look as though it was going to be a high scoring match? Had the game had gone without a goal on the score sheet but nine minute after the interval. Harris was speeding through when he was brought down by goalkeeper. Thompson and a penalty award was automatic. There was no question as to who should take it. Tom Jones is the Everton penalty king and had never missed one in his career. Up he strode confidently but he did not even put the ball between the “ticket” It bounced its way about two yards outside the upright. I would like to wager that Jones wished the ground had opened and swallowed him up. He put his hands to his head in shame whereas Thompson shot his arms above his head in relief. Jones however, is entitled to a miss having scored all others. It is generally accepted in football circles that if you cannot score from the penalty spot you do not deserve to score at all. Everton’s prospects were reduced when Lello twisted his ankle and was hobbling about, but 15 minutes after Jones’s fateful miss Harris got a ball in the middle gave a perfect “dummy” to Mattison and from an acute angle centred into the goalmouth. There seemed to be no immediate danger for there was no Everton man up to receive the ball but then entered the human element Thompson had come just a shade too far out and the ball passed over his head and dropped in the net.
I was glad Harris had scored for he had played brilliantly throughout. This was quite his best display when I have been “viewing” for he did everything so correctly –“Killed” the ball, passed it wall, and his control and speed, had to be seen to be believed. Mattinson the North End centre half never really mastered him. Preston fought hard for the equalizer, but Everton were in fighting mood on Saturday. Even the cripples, Lello and Wainwright (a calf injury) would not be kept out of it, despite their path. The defence stood solidly against some heavy pressure and it held out to the bitter end. Another young Everton member, Tansey must come in for special mention for his task was to curb. Tom Finney. That takes some doing, but Tansey can claim that he came out on a fifty-fifty basis. He forced the England winger to come inside for he mastered him when Tom tried to go out the outside. I have only mentioned these two because they are the young members of the side, but it was team work which made this victory possible. Mr. Britton was not there to see it for he was running the rule over Everton’s cup opponents Bristol City at Swansea, should think that Preston would like to play all their games away from Deepdale, for their home record makes appalling reading. Three victories out of eleven games. This by the way was Everton’s first win at Preston since the war.
Yorkshire Post -Tuesday 20 December 1955
Dave Hickson, Huddersfield Town’s centre-forward, formerly with Everton, was married at St, Paul’s Church, Hooton, Cheshire, yesterday, to Miss Irene Felicia Jones, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Jones, of Overpool, Ellesmere Port. Several Everton players attended the ceremony. The best man was Mr. William Henshaw, organist at Whitby Congregational Church, Ellesmere Port, and a former well-known local footballer. After the reception, Hickson and his bride drove to Huddersfield, where the club has provided them with a house.
December 20, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Eglington’s 350th Game, Moore Reaches 150
One of the outstanding features of Everton during the past few years has been the excellent team work and firm loyalty to the club of the vast majority of their players. Now and again there has been an odd one with a grouse. No club on earth can hope to be completely devoid of that. But taken by and large I doubt whether there is a club in the country which has so contented a start as that at Goodison. The “veterans” of the side, Farrell and Eglington have never given a moments anxiety to anyone since they signed on the dotted line nearly ten years ago. The game can be said for most of the others on the pay roll. Mention of Eglington reminds me that last Friday I omitted to mention a rather important aspect of the Preston game, and also that of the same match in relation to Moore for it marked the establishment of “milestone” in their careeres. In the case of Tommy Eglington it was his 350th Football League game for the Blues. For Eric Moore it marked his 150th outing for Everton under auspices. Here is the full record of the appearances of these two players for Everton since they joined the club including F.A. Cup outing as well as League matches.
Season League Games League Goals Cup Games Cup Goals
1946-47 34 5 2 0
1947-48 29 3 5 1
1948-49 34 7 2 0
1949-50 34 1 5 0
1950-51 39 8 1 0
1951-52 38 8 2 0
1952-53 39 14 5 2
1953-54 41 11 3 1
1954-55 41 8 2 0
1855-56 21 5 0 0
Total 350 70 27 4
1949-50 22 0 5 0
1950-51 37 0 10 0
1951-52 5 0 0 0
1952-53 14 0 0 0
1953-54 9 0 0 0
1954-55 41 0 2 0
1955-56 22 0 0 0
Total 150 0 8 0
Lello’s Long Run
In addition to these two landmarks in the career of Eglington and Moore, Cyril Lello is also approaching one which is achieved will be out standing in Everton’s post-war records. It is hat of making 150 consecutive appearances in League and Cup. Lello has not missed any game for Everton since December 11 1952, when he was in the side which defeated Bury 5-nil at gig Lane. From that point onwards until the end of 1952-53 he played in 23 League and five Cup games. In the two following writers he put in the maximum 42 League appearances and five in the Cup and up to the present has figured in all 22 First Division fixtures of the current campaign. This makes a total of 139 consecutive first-team games. Providing he steers clear of injury he should reach the 150 mark all right, for he has been in splendid form in practically every game this season. All his 139 games have been at left except one, when he figured at left full back against Leicester City at Goodison on March 7, 1953. Yet Lello did not come to Everton as a wing half. He was signed from Shrewsbury in 1947 as an inside left made his debut in that berth on February 21, 1948 against Wolves at Molineux and played his first eleven senior games for the Blues in the attack, figuring at inside right and centre forward as well as inside left. It was a few months after Mr. Britton took over the managership of the club in October, 1948 that he decided Lello might prove a better asset at half back than in the front line. He was accordingly given a trial in that position in the fourth round cup-tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after several outings in private trail game. So well did he perform that he has remained there, except for two insolated games at full back and inside left ever since. Altogether Lello has now made 231 League and Cup appearances for the club. That total would be nearer 300 but for the fact that a bad knee injury kept him out of football for 18 months. He did not play at all in he did not play at all in 1950-51 season and at one time it was feared his career might come to a premature close. Special rehabilitation treatment, however allied to his own determination to make a come-back, saw him in harness half-way through the following winter since when he has been a model of solid consistency and effectiveness.
DEEP AND CRISP AND EVEN…
December 22, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Kill Atyeo Transfer Rumour
By Leslie Edwards
Now is the winter of the groundsman’s discontent. Nothing can be done, yet to counter the ravages of the deep freeze. You have to wait until twenty-four hours or so before kick-off time; then make up your mind whether you will shift snow, leave it where it lies, or press it down gently until it offers reasonably sure foothold. Whatever course is taken is not bound to be right. Further freezing or even a sudden thaw can undo everything. I suppose are fortunate to be on terrain so flat and so near the sea that our falls of snow are far less heavy than those in places nearer the Pennies, where snow a foot deep covers pitches but groundsmanship here as there, is still a worrying business. Everton’s use of a weighted piece of corrugated iron, drawn across the pitch in swatches for the purpose of crushing snow to stud-holding depth, may not be as effective as usual this time. This treatment made no impression on the practice ground yesterday, manager Cliff Britton told me last night, because the severity of the previous night’s frost had formed a hard crust to the snow which had fallen on Tuesday. Whether the Burnley match on Saturday is on or not depends on how playable the ground staff can make the ground and finally on the state, of the weather tomorrow evening and on Saturday morning. Meantime squads of workmen have been busy clearing the terraces. It is as important to have underfoot conditions comfortable for spectators and for players.
News that Mr. Britton for sook his team at Preston last Saturday and went, instead, to see the game at Swansea between Swansea and Everton’s Cup opponents of January 7. Bristol City, created rumours in the city that Everton were about to sign John Atyeo Bristol City’s international inside forward. When I mentioned this to Mr. Britton he could not stifle a chuckle “Nothing in it at all,” he said then asked “Do you think a club like Bristol City at the head of Division 2 would part with Atyeo. “Why they would not let him go to Liverpool a season or two ago –and Liverpool’s offer was a hugh one in the neighoudood of £35,000. I gathered that the Britton view of Bristol City was favourable to Bristol City. I also gathered that if Bristol asked £35,000 for Atyeo it would not necessarily mean that he was worth it, but that Bristol would insist on that sum before they would allow him to go. Manager Britton’s father, one of the best preserved seventy four-year-old I know, had not given his son any information about the team all Bristol describes as Atyeo City. “Enough for one member of the family to have football responsibity said the Everton manager. Everyone hopes the Burnley are plainly one of the best sides of the season and because their small forward line travelling the famous Scots who beat England so easily at Wemley in Jimmy Dunn’s time, includes Leslie Shannon whose form has been a revelation since he left Anfield. Cyril Lello is back in training and it seems certain he will be fit.
December 22, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have undoubtedly found a star in Jimmy Harris, their present centre forward who may one day wear an England jersey, I know one football authority who thinks a great deal of Harris. He is no other than Mr. Charnley the secretary of the Football League.
After Everton’s victory at Preston last Saturday he was greatly impressed with Harris’s display. He made the newly signed Lewis from Manchester United look an ordinary player. He is a good one, said Mr. Howarth. “He is a footballer from tip to toe.” Such praise from the League secretary is praise indeed, yet it only coincided with what I said about Harris in my notes on the game on Monday. There were some who amended the going of Dave Hickson “who is going to replace him?” was the question o frequently fired at me after Dave had left for the Villa. Mr. Cliff Britton apparently knew who was going to fill that vacant spot and Harris has not let his manager down. In fact, Harris has never looked back since he joined his senior colleagues. He gets better and better with each match, but I though last Saturday’s display his best to date. Tansey is another of the Everton youngsters who has come to stay. In his last two games Tansey has been faced by the two greatest wing forwards in the game. Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney and he came out of his ordeal with distinct credit on each occasion.
Unchanged for the Visit of Burnley
With Cyril Lello reporting fully fit, Everton will field an unchanged side for Burnley’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday, Lello this preserves his long unbeaten run in the senior side. The reserves eleven at Burnley is also unchanged with Alec Farrell again on duty after his long lay-off. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Fielding, Eglington. Everton reserves; Dunlop; Parkes, Rankin; Birch, Woods, Grant; Harris (B), Thomas, Lewis, Farrell, Vizard.
December 23, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
This is one of the most vital week-ends for football clubs throughout the whole of the season, for it embraces three games in four days. Everton’s programme on paper looks particularly heavy for they have to meet Birmingham twice and Burnley at Goodison Park tomorrow. Burnley are well in the running for the championship being only two points behind Manchester United the leaders with a game in hand. They are always a hard nut to crack being particularly strong in defence. They have had only 23 goals scored against them but they are not recognised as heavy scores. They have chalked up 32 goals from their 21 games which is not a bad average. Everton stopped the rot by their win at Preston last Saturday a victory that was a big relief to all at Goodison Park, for the Blues had gone five matches without success, which is anything but championship form. A sequence of losing games can have serious effects upon a side. It loses confidence in itself, and in its eagerness to lay the “bogey” finds the ball does not run for them. That they got over that Blackpool debacle so quickly is to their credit for that thrashing –and thrashing it was –could have done; untold damage to the players confidence I went to Preston with them wondering what fate awaited them at Deepdale. I was soon put at ease for Everton started off as through that Blackpool affair had not happened. They played excellent football to beat North End and their victory would have been much more convincing had they taken the two goals offered to them in the first five minutes. If they can produce the same quality of football against Burnley tomorrow I could be a great game, for Burnley can pull out some good stuff when they are in the mood. Birmingham are a strong side and have knocked up 41 goals this term as against Everton’s 29 but their defence has yielded 33 goals to opponents as compared to Everton’s 31. Two points separate them in the table with the balance in Everton’s favour. Everton will play the same team as that which beat Preston, for Lello has fully recovered from his ankle injury and providing there are no injuries against Burnley the same side will do duty at St. Andrew’s on Monday.
The Burnley team is lucky in that it has suffered very little from injuries and there are several ever-presents in the side. This is a great asset to any club for to keep on chopping and changing is a great draw-back. The former Liverpool player, Leslie Shannon who has turned out one of the best wing half backs in the game since he left Anfield is one of the ever-presents and last week he scored a great goal to give his side a win. It is strange how a footballer who has been discarded by one club can turn out an ace for another. Is it a question of contentment or is it that he fits in with his new colleagues more than he did well with his old club? I can well recall the case of Tommy Gardner, who seemed all arms and legs but eventually went on to win many England caps. There are many other such cases and no doubt there well be many more, but it must be vexing to a club who have parted with a player to find him hitting the highlights with his new matter. Burnley have had many fine teams in the past I remember them meeting Liverpool in the final in 1914, but they were the luckiest team in the world to beat the Anfielders that day at Crystal Palace. Burnley have the distinction of holding the longest unbeaten record in the history of the game, for they played 30 games without defeat in the 1920’s. Bill Holden their centre forward has several times asked to be placed on the transfer list. He is a grand footballer though some say he is too dainty for the position of leader. He is out of the team at the moment and his successor McKay who must be one of the smallest centre-forwards in the game has scored 17 goals since taking over. Burnley bring in Winton at left back in place of Smith, who broke a leg in a mid-week Lancashire Cup game. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; McNamara, Wanwright, Harris, Fielding, Eglington. Burnley; McDonald; Rudman, Winton; Seith, Cummings, Shannon; Gray, Burks, McKay, Cheeseborough, Pilkington.
EARLY GOODISON SHINE FADES IN THE FOG
December 24, 1955. Liverpool Echo
McNamara’s Goal Prior To Injury
Everton 1, Burnley 1
A reasonably good first half in difficult light and a totally undistinguished second half in visibility in which football was only just possible. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; McNamara, Wainwright, Harris, Fielding, and Eglington, forwards. Burnley; McDonald, goal; Rudman and Winston, back’s Seith, Cummings, and Shannon, half-backs; Gray, Burke, McKay, Cheeseborough, and Pilkington, forwards. Referee; Mr. J.W. Hunt (Matlock). The threat to the game at Goodison was that a mist fairly thick at the star, might come down and blot out play completely. The ground was “dead” following the thaw. The game’s first real attack and a first rate one, was that in which Moore succeeded in making a long pass down the right wing which arrived at Harris’s feet despite being deflected Harris beat Cummings with a feint and went to the goal line before attempting to pull the ball back for McNamara but he stubbed his centre and Burnely stepped in to ease a difficult situation. For a moment or two it was all Everton and the Burnley defence was inclined to panic. Farrell in the centre half position raised a let to a swinging centre by Pilkington and only succeeding in turning the ball towards his own goal. Fortunately O’Neill was prepared.
Farrell and Lello worked the ball far up field in determined but laborious style, and Eglington finally headed narrowly wide from McNamara’s long distance centre. At the moment the mist was worsening and there seemed little chance of the game lasting 90 minutes. Following a right wing Burnley corner, Pilkington gave Burnley the lead, after 13 minutes Gray started the movement and there was an Everton blunder which led to the ball being crossed to Pilkington in front of goal. He brought the ball down transferred it to his left foot and scored almost as he pleased. Burnley were now on top. A lovely feint by Shannon led to Pilkington beating Moore with no difficulty at all and streaking almost half the length of the field to produce a dangerous centre after being chased all the way by Wainwright. Burnley seemed a compact aide with good understanding and now that they had overcome their early troubles in defence they were playing impressively. Everton were rather sluggish in defence but Harris was in confident vein and won a corner after again beating Cummings in a brilliant sun. Burnley were brilliant with some fine short passing and the crowd murmured approval though when Gray centred fast and low and Burke hooked it in Everton escaped only at the expense of a corner, and were fortunate to do that. The tackling now became severe, with Everton coming to life in face of Burnley’s smoother movements and more accurate passing. The small Burnley forward line was the best seen on the ground for a long time. Everton were in danger of giving an own goal for when Farrell hooked the ball back as he thought to O’Neill, the ball rolled wide of the goalkeeper, who did some earnest scrambling in the mud to collect it within a yard or two of the post. Visibility though still bad, was not deteriorating a great deal. Burnley’s goal packing pro penalty was effective and enormous numbers of Everton passes went astray at the critical moment. Burnley were a little unlucky not to score after Jones had blundered with a clearance by McDonald McKay’s shot hit O’Neill when all the odds were on Burnley going two up. Everton tried to catch Burke in the offside trap, but the referee waved him on and his centre from inside left was only cleared with difficulty. The visiting defence had not been too impressive with long punts into the goalmouth and when one from Tansey arrived in the Burnley goalmouth it was only partly cleared and McNamara hitting the ball on the volley found the net through his shot was slightly deflected on route. This goal came at 37 minutes, and with it came another wave of murk to make the play and the ball, even more difficult to discern. The standard of play, had deteriorated a good deal in the last quarters of an hour of the first half in which Harris several times had opportunity to show what he could do, but made little progress. Half-time; Everton 1, Burnley 1.
Everton started the second half with a flourish following a spectacular diving header by Fielding which gave Wainwright a shooting chance McDonald made a fine save from low down from Wainwright solidity hit shot. The light had taken the turn for the better but even so it was still poor. Burnley who indulged in some hair-raising passing in defence did it so surely and well that they involved no penalty.
The best shot and save of the day came when Tansey hit the ball truly and everyone was sure it had found its mark until McDonald emerged from the mist with a leap and a flick of the hand to turn the ball for a corner. Everton had taken a grip on the game now after a long spell of Burnley supremacy in the first half. The first stoppage was a short one for an injury to McNamara. The game was now as dull as the weather and neither attack seemed to be able to make any impression on good defences.
McKay Shoot’s Wide
Burnley were allowed to go on from what appeared to be an offside decision in spite of some flag-wagging by a linesman. All was well when McKay shot very wide from a good position. Pilkingston’s weaving runs was not always effective and when he crossed the ball to the other wing, Gray in attempting a shot, completely mistimed his effort and was not within a yard of connecting. McNamara returned after having his right knee trapped. The fact that Everton were at full complement after a five minutes spell minus their winger seemed to make no difference. The game was still ragged. It burst into life with a splendid driving save by McDonald from a fierce drive by Fielding. Jones was always doing good work in the Everton half back line and after starting indifferently Lello and Farrell were now right on top of their job. O’Neill had to go to the far side of goal, to another a Burke sot and Moore with an ever-ready forehead denied Cheeseborough a goal after Burnley had worked a clever left wing corner flag ruse and opened up an avenue in the Everton defence.
McNamara was virtually a passenger on the right wing and Burnley now came into the game more through the match was developing a rougher side and the referee had a word with Moore following an incident near the corner flag. Burnley were in Everton’s half for minutes on end and only rarely had the crowd anything to become enthusiastic about. Burnley were wild in much of their finishing but Cheeseborough was not far off the mark with a good cross shot, which O’Neill must have found difficulty in seeing. A through pass to Cheeseborough should have produced a goal. After going on to shoot as he pleased the Burnley forward found O’Neill smothering his drive when coming far out. Many of referee Hunt’s decisions displeased the crowd, but in such conditions with the light desperately had one could be sure that the referee was seeing a good deal more than spectators 30,40 and 50 yards further than he from May. It was a minor miracle that the game continued especially as the white ball was not in use. Seith all but put through his own goal when clearing a centre from the right but Burnley covered up for the corner. A more ragged and unconvincing game could scarcely be imagined. Final; Everton 1, Everton 1, Official attendance 35,406.
BURNLEY RES V EVERTON RES
December 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Burnley Res; Blacklaw, goal; Marshall and Scoutar, backs; Wilson, Miller, and Joyce, half-backs; Newlands, Watson, Holden, Appleton, and Cardiff, forwards. Everton Res; Dunlop, goal; Parkes and Rankin, backs; Birch, Wood, and Grant, half-backs; Harris (B), Thomas, Lewis, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Referee; Mr. H. Freeman (Preston). Transfer-listed Bill Holden walked in Burnley’s first goal from a four minute free kick Everton’s defence had their hands full trying to stop the nippy Burnley attack, and the home goal was only threatened by occasional breakaway movements. Half-time; Burnley Res 1, Everton Res nil. Everton equalized after 56 minutes through Farrell and just after this Harris went near with a high shot. In a terrific Parkes saved a goal by blocking a pile-driver from Walton. Lewis (64th minute) put Everton ahead.
Everton “A” v Blackpool “A”
Blackpool scored through Hawser in the 26th minute after some early Everton attacks had been resulted but in the 38th minute Blackpool scored again through Smith. Half-time Everton “A” nil, Blackpool “A” 2.
Prescot B.I. v. Everton “B”
Llewellyn put Everton ahead after 10 minutes. Later Shuttleworth leveled the scores Everton regained the lead the at the 30th minute when Quayle scored from short range. Cartwright brought of many good saves in the Prescot goal. Half-time Prescot B.I 1, Everton B” 2. Final; Prescot 3, Everton “B” 2
BIRMINGHAM CITY 6 EVERTON 2
December 28, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
At Birmingham Parker had replaced Eglington on the left wing. Now Harris (B) took over from McNamara on the right and Rankin came in for the injured Tansey at left back. Everton wanted these points urgently in view of their League position and the nearness of that vital tie against Bristol City. For a third game in four days yesterday’s was as good as one could expect. Hard, fast , entertaining and fuller of football than the Saturday match against Burnley –one much of which was lost in a mist so thick the wonder was the game was completed. Encouraging points from Everton’s viewpoint are that Wainwright is playing really well; that Fielding is getting back to form and that Harris (B) shows such good football sense and a ready shot on the right wing. There were times yesterday when Lello and Farrell seemed completely out of touch with their opponents and their own game but Wainwright’s inspired play and the way the game swung chaged everything. In the end Everton looked as though they could have stood up to a further ninety minutes grueling. If I were looking for Cup outsiders I would place Birmingham high on the list. They do not stand on ceremony, but they are workmanlike and they should rarely fail to get goals. Smith, as fair a player as one could wish to see, strikes me as being one of the nicest centre-halves I have seen this season. With a Merrick and Boyd returned –neither played yesterday –Birmingham might well go far in the knock out journey.
Everton’s defence was over-run in the early stages of the match at Birmingham on Monday and Kinsey put Birmingham two up in the first seven minutes with headers from corner kicks. Kinsey went on to complete a first half hat-trick in the 35th minute. Birmingham went further ahead through Brown two minutes after the interval but then the Everton attack which lacked the services of McNamara and Eglington both of whom suffered leg injuries in Saturday’s match, began to function more smoothly. In the 55th minute Fielding robbed Watts and passed inside to J. Harris who scored with a first time shot. Ten minutes later a speculative drive by B. Harris found the net but Birmingham were still the livelier attacking force and added two further goals through brown and Govan in the last quarter of an hour.
NO SUCH THING AS FORM IN THESE MATCHES
December 28, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 5, Birmingham City 1
By Leslie Edwards
Holiday football form? No such thing. Here we had Everton winning by five goals to one against the side which had beaten them 6-2 twenty-four hours previously. Such a swing is as unaccountable as some in politics. But this sort of reserve of form is typical of holiday matches, the third day of which was particularly testing this time because most pitches were of plum-pudding consistency. Everton certainly sent 42,326 people home happy where little more than an hour earlier they must have feared that Everton’s bag over the week-end would be confined to the point they picked up on Saturday against Burnley. Birmingham, full of 6-2 spirit began so well yesterday even hardened Everton followers could see no chance of their side winning much less by five goals to one. Within seven minutes Everton were a goal down to Astall who drove home centre forward Brown’s left wing centre for a lead well deserved. Everton played so badly from that minutes until the 28th the crowd could not contain their exasperation. It was then Wainwright lit and fanned the spark of Everton revival. He beat that large and excellent tempered Smith and was in flight for goal when Smith brought him down inches outside the penalty area. Everton argued demonstratively that only a penalty would be justice. Referee Topliss of Grimsby, thought otherwise and I agreed. That Wainwright pitched into the penalty area was definite; but the trip was made outside the line.
Dissent Then Joy
In a few seconds dissent was lost in the joy of a finely headed goal from the free kick by Fielding. First Fielding shaped to aim his kick one way, and then as he reached the ball he lobbed it instead to the far post where Harris’ head (so a neck that was almost arched to make contact) guilded the ball over the line. From that moment Everton were twice the team. Wainwright and Harris (who had just picked himself up from a painful landing on the red shale surround) conceived a slim chance for Eglington and Eglington’s drive was hot so true and fast, the Merrick deputy Scholfield had little chance. Four minutes later Wainwright still leading the revival had the ball in after Harris (J) had done nobly on the right wing. An interval ticket of 3-1 was far more then most of us dared hope for. Where Everton had been sluggish and tried and Birmingham smart and fresh we now had Everton in riotous ,good and prepared to go all out to rub out the indignities of the previous day. Oddly, Birmingham continued to play smoothly and impressively though they went further and further behind. Harris was quick to profit from a serious Birmingham blunder when he was presented with the ball fourteen minutes after the second half began. That was 4-1. Wainwright came along with a goal seven minutes later his chance being due solely to the lovely hooked pass by Harris on the right. This was a wonderful goal with as much credit in the making as the taking.
Not So Penetrating
Everton might well have been forced to give way to Birmingham two or three times in the second half, mainly through defensive blunders and indecision on a pitch covered by thick gluey mud, but Birmingham were not so penetrative as they had been and this and one or two first class saves by O’Neill meant that the goals continued to come one-way. O’Neill’s save too from Govan in the opening minutes was the best of all.
December 28, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Apparently the Everton Burnley game was a good one, but the Blues’ crash at Birmingham was a bit of a blow. St. Andrews is not an easy ground for visitors for Birmingham hit you hard at St. Andrews. Everton have crashed there before. At first I thought someone had been seriously hurt but that was not quite right, although Tansey received a calf injury which impaired his effectiveness. I understand three of Birmingham goals were scored from corner kicks. Now, this is unusual for not one in ten corner kicks are turned into goals. It suggests a little slackness in defence somewhere –Brian Harris deputises for the injured McNamara and joined his namesake in scoring Everton’s two goals. The boot was on the other leg in the return encounter at Goodison Park. Although for 15 minutes Birmingham shaped up as though they were going to give us a repeat performance, for they played some top-class football and scored in seven minutes. Everton seem to have become slow starters these days, and when Astall drove in a fierce shot to beat O’Neill so early in the game it certainly appeared that Everton were in for another heating. The trouble was that they were not going for the ball with the same speed and determination as the Midlanders and until they realized their mistake the City were likely to remain on top. Fortunately, the boys in blue soon saw the folly of their ways and changed their tactics and with it they completely changed the outlook. Prior to Astall’s goal. O’Neill had brought off a miraculous save from Govan’s header, which was Dean-like in that the ball flashed from his forehead like a bullet yet O’Neill, with cat-like agility kept the ball out. It was without doubt the save of the day. I though the marking of the Birmingham defence when Fielding took his free kick, was sadly at fault for Jimmy Harris was standing close in to goal with no one to hammer him, and he calmly nodded the ball into the net. That goal came at the half hour and I came because the wing half backs had come into Everton inside forwards and the game with a top class service. Birmingham deteriorated. Their wing half backs were forced on to defence so the attack suffered and was eventually snuffed out, so much so that one wondered how this forward line had whipped Everton 6-2 the previous day. It was one of the most amazing turn-rounds I have seen for some time. Everton took complete charge and playing good football had the Birmingham defence bothered and bewildered I am told the difference between the two games was as chalk from cheese. It must have been for the Midlanders did not look capable of scoring again, whereas Everton always gave the impression that they would top Birmingham’s six goals. They went very close to doing it, for they simple cut through the Brums defence like a hot knife goes through butter.
Everton may have started slowly, but they finished like lions, making Birmingham really crestfallen side – a side with little heart and not nearly so much football ability. They had flattered to deceive, for it is only truth to say that in those first fifteen minutes they appeared quite capable of administering a second over-whelming defeat of Everton. For quite a few games recently Everton have come from behind to win through. It was half-back power that did it for apart from Farrell and Lello, Jones had one of his best games. He kept Brown down to one and shot. Another one of Everton’s “greats” was Moore. If there is a better right back in the game today I don’t know of him. Hall was not to be compared to him, and don’t forget he is an England player. Moore read the play so well that his interventions were beautifully timed and his tackling deadly. For your record book the other Everton scores were Harris, Wainwright (two), and Eglington.
EVERTON MEET THE HATTERS
December 30, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Luton Town have made such great problem during the last few visit that they are being hailed of a championship side. It could be of course but my reflection for honours in preference to the Hatters, who were only a Second Division side last year, is Manchester United. There can be no arguing that Luton are making a name for themselves as a really top-class football side, and their jump into third place behind the United and Blackpool, has not been won by luck but rather by sound football ethos. It is apparent that Luton are well worth their blame in the top grade and it seems they are there to stay for some time to come. Everton will hard to be on the top of their form if they are to bring anything back from Luton, for the former Derby County winger Dally Duncan, has built up a most attractive side both brilliance in defence. On looking through their record I find that only Bolton Wanderers have fewer goals scored against them than the Southerners while their attack has piled up 46 goals to Everton know full well what 14 in front of them. They cannot afford to give teams a lead as they have been doping for some time. I just cannot understand why Everton have become slow starters, but it has been the case, in a number of their games, this season. It was so against Birmingham at Goodison Park on Tuesday,
They seem to need the incentive before they really get going. It is a dangerous procedure and one I do not commend. It must not happen at Luton for the Town are quick to take advantage of any openings. The visit to Luton will enable Everton’s Irish members to renew acquaintance with their former colleague, George Cummins. Cummins has fitted in nicely with his Town colleagues and he will be all out to show that Everton made a mistake in letting him go. He was in the side which visited Goodison Park earlier in the season which they won both points by the only goal scored. Everton have got to wipe that out. They were not slow to hit back against Birmingham but I doubt whether they will find the same defensive weakness in the Luton team as they did in the Midlanders defence. Mr. Cliff Britton had had to make a change in the team which trounced Birmingham for Wally Fielding who strained a groin in Tuesday’s game has not made the necessary improvement so that John Willie Parker, will resume at inside left. He was at outside left at Birmingham. Brian Harris retains his place at outside right, where he gave an impressive display on Tuesday while the previous day he scored his first League goal and Rankin at left back full back, as Tansey has not recovered from his calf injury. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Rankin; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
EVERTON AT LUTON
December 31, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By John Peel
With Parker returning to the inside left position in place of the injured Fielding, the Everton team journey to Luton hoping to gain the distinction of being the second side to beat the Town before their own supporters this season. The Goodison Park boys will not find this an easy task however, for Luton have only dropped three of a possible 22 home points this season and have scored 31 goals against 12 by opponents in games at Luton. Luton; Baynham; Dunne, Aherne; Pemberton, Owen, Shanks; Cullen, Turner, Morton, Cummins, Adam. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Rankin; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
TWO-GOALS LEAD IS WIPED OUT AS EVERTON BOG DOWN IN MUD AT LUTON
December 31, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Luton 2, Everton 2
An Everton victory looked highly probable at the interval, but Luton staged a gallant fight-back to save a point. It was tough going for ground conditions were very bad, the pitch being inches deep in mud. Everton took their chances well in the first half, but Luton were definitely on top afterwards. Still a point against the greatly improved Luton was distinctly creditable. Luton; Baynham, goal; Dunne and Aherne, backs; Pemberton, Owen, and Shanks, half-backs; Cullen, Turner, Morton, Cummins, and Adams, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Rankin, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. F.L. Overton (Derby). Luton Town are riding the crest of the wave at the moment and Everton’s task was one of the greatest magnitude. However, in view of their form against Birmingham on Tuesday they were hopeful. Ground conditions were very bad; the centre of the pitch was a mud patch. Nevertheless Everton started off full of promise and Jimmy Harris centred from the right across the Town goal but their was no one up to take a possible chance. The first few minutes belonged to the Blues but there was danger to the Everton goal when Morton chased a ball through the middle. He was only stopped in the nick of time. The same player picked up a pass from Cummins, but shot over. Everton were not making the mistake they did against Birmingham in the first 20 minutes for they tackled quickly and keenly. Nevertheless Adams centred low across the Everton goal, but it was too fast for anyone to collect.
The players found it necessary to plug the ball hard when play was in midfield yet there was plenty of good football despite the conditions. Brian Harris had a great opportunity of opening the score for Everton when Jimmy Harris slipped the ball across. Aherne was challenging but not tackling and to me the outside right should have scored instead of slipping the ball outside the upright. Cummins, who started his English football with Everton, made one glorious dribble to beat Moore and then centred across the Everton goalmouth. O’Neill sweeping the ball away with outstretched hands. This was the second time the Everton goalkeeper had brought off a good save. The Town went into arrears at the eight minute when a really clever bit of combination outwitted the Town defence, which could do nothing to prevent this goal. The movement involved Brian Harris, Wainwright and Parker. The last two interpassed so quickly that when the ball came back to Parker he swiftly headed into the Luton net. Luton were not slow to reply and O’Neill made a capital one-handed save from Morton. At this point, Luton were testing the Everton defence and when O’Neill ran out to make a pick up the ball slipped through his hands and matters looked serious. He scampered back to his goalmouth and when Turner shot he had the misfortune to strike the Everton goalkeeper who had raced back into position. Morton ended by firing outside.
The game was held up for a moment while Lello received attention. The Everton defence had to deal with one or two trickery problems close to their goal but they covered well although O’Neill showed wonderful handling power in dealing with centres from the wings. The movement between Lello and Eglington opened the way for Brian Harris and the young winger made a great effort to nod the ball just inside the upright. It went just outside. It was end-to-end football and Wainwright almost caught Owen napping when Owen was about to pass to his goalkeeper it was a near thing. So far the game had been quite entertaining, but some of the players were going to feel very leg-weary from their efforts of ploughing through the mud. Luton had two shots cannoned away, and then Cullen had a fierce shot which Turner, who was standing close to goal, scooped over the bar. Cummins was doing very well against his former team, some of his passes opening the way for colleagues, who were willing to shoot. They were not always on the mark and when they were O’Neill barred the way.
It was Cummins who provided Cullen with the opportunity to put the Everton goal in danger, but the centre was cleared. There was no doubt that Luton are a very capable lot, but they had nothing on Everton when it came to football movements. They had perhaps the greater number of scoring chances, put if they were not taken it was their own fault to some extent. Luton pressed hard and Cummins again slipped one nicely through the Everton defence. Once again O’Neill was there to deal with the situation. It had been some time since Baynham had any calls made upon him and when Jim Harris did some following an excellent movement, it was not the type of shot to cause the England goalkeeper any real trouble. There was another short stoppage for a slight injury to Parker, but he was soon back in the fray. The difficulties of the players can well be imagined when I tell you that once under way there was little chance of them checking themselves owing to the thick mud. Moore the Everton right back, who is making a habit of moving up and providing chances for his forwards did so once again and Jim Harris had an excellent opportunity of chalking up goal No. 2. He could not get the ball under control before shooting. A throw-in on the Luton left flank culminated in half-back Pemberton making a shot of power, but it was all wrong in direction. Rankin stepped in once to hold the fort, but Everton were soon back again in the Luton half and Eglington centred to Brian Harris, whose first centre was headed back to him. His second proved much more successful for Jimmy Harris moved in and calmly headed the ball beyond Baynham at the 41st minute. This was a bit of a blow to the Town, who did not look two goals inferior.
Half-time; Luton Town nil, Everton 2.
After Cullen had tested O’Neill with a cross-shot in the first half-minute of the second half, Luton went all out and the Everton defence had all it could do to retain their lead. Luton might have scored when Cullen made a second shot and O’Neill unable to hold the ball, simply checked its progress. It was fortunate that Lello was standing by to complete the clearance. Adam tried a long shot and Cullen came along with a centre which O’Neill dealt with. During this short period Everton were planned in their own penalty area. They broke away at last and Wainwright shot but a much better Everton effort came from Parker whose shot was tipped over the bar by Baynham. It was right after this that Luton reduced the lead through Turner. Actually the chance was made possible from an Lello clearing which went to half-back Pemberton. He pushed the ball forward and Turner although slightly angled shot wide of O’Neill into the far side of the net at 54 minutes.
Hot On Trail
Luton were how hot on the trail of an equalizer and for some time they had Everton fighting a desperate defensive battle. A corner kick to Luton caused some anxious to Everton, but their stern lacking got them out of their difficulties on this occasion at least. Rankin was spoken to for a foul on Cummins and it had to be admitted that Town were putting up a bonny fight to save the game. They should, however, have gone further into arrears when B. Harris swept over a ball to Eglington who decided to act quickly and perhaps, mistakenly for he had plenty of time to have got the ball under control. He decided a header was the thing and although it was on the target it was no trouble to Baynham. Luton returned to the attack and it was desperate defence that was needed have the confident Town side. At the 77th minutes the scores were level. A fast centre by Cullen right across field to Adams saw the latter in a perfect scoring position and he managed the ball into the net. Everton’s attack this half had been the most infrequent and Luton had to be given credit for pulling back two goals in a further raid by Everton J. Harris shot wide, and Luton were soon back with football which fitted the occasion and a lot finesse gave way to more direct play.
Rankin on Attack
Everton had to get rid of the ball quickly and that meant a little accuracy. Mainly through Rankin they carried play into the Luton penalty area, but the ball did not stay there long. Town were just as anxious to get the ball away from their own goal. Cullen slammed the ball into the Everton net, but he was obviously offside and that was practically the last important incident of the game. Final; Everton 2, Luton Town 2.
EVERTON RES V LEEDS RES
December 31, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Res; Dunlop, goal; Parkes and Donovan, backs; Rea, Woods and Melville, half-backs; Tomlinson, Thomas, Kirby, Farrell, and Vizard, forwards. Leeds Utd Res;- Scott, goal; Lawton and Astall, backs; Nightingale, Maridge, Jones, half-backs; Woodhouse, Rigsby, Forrest, Henderson, and Mock, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. Ollerton. After hesitancy in the Everton defence had almost resulted in a Leeds goal. Kirby was brought down when making a bee-line for goal. Everton gradually got on top and on the heavy ground kept their wingers employed but the inside forwards could not finish. A long spell of Everton pressure was relieved when Leeds made the best move of the match and Dunlop had to save full length from Forest, who gave Leeds the lead after 43 minutes play. Half-time; Everton Res nil, Leeds United Res 1. Everton bombarded the Leeds goal and three minutes after the restart Farrell headed a good equalizer form Tomlinson centre. Although Everton were still pressing hard, Dunlop luckily saved from Henderson in a Leeds breakaway. Everton forced a succession of corners but despite several narrow escapes, the Leeds goals somehow remained impact. After 70 minutes play Forrest wormed his way through the middle to restore the visitors lead.
THESE GAMES WERE MEMORABLE
December 31, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Through Blue Glasses –
By Peter Farrell
It is generally accepted that points either won or lost over the Christmas glut of fixtures have an important bearing on promotion and relegation issues. Looking at the League tables following last Tuesday’s game, there seemed to be no great difference in the placing of the sides involved in the race for championships, but when the day of reckoning comes around at the end of April it may well be that results over the hectic Christmas period will have played a big part in deciding the various champions and less fortunate clubs who will descend to the lower sphere for the following season. Last Sunday, Christmas Day, it was a very welcome change to enjoy one’s Christmas dinner with the family and also the evening meal, without having to play, before leaving on the seven o’clock train to Birmingham. On Monday, before our game with Birmingham, both Tommy Jones and Tommy Eglington had a try-out at St. Andrews, both having sustained backs in the Burnley game on the Saturday. Tommy Jones was declared fit, but Everton’s Irish international winger failed to pass a fitness test. On Tuesday morning, prior to our home game with Birmingham, the Everton treatment room was a busy scene as the training staff worked hard on Jimmy Tansey, Eglington and myself, following which we had a try-out but Jimmy Tansey’s injury was more serious than ours as a result of which he was unable to play. So I am sure you will agree that despite the satisfaction of our Christmas dinner at home we had quite a busy Christmas with three games, travelling and try-out thrown in for good measure. Today being the last day of 1955 I should like to look back through blue glasses and pick out what I consider were the high-lights of the year just finished from an Everton viewpoint. One match stands out above all others in my memory; namely our 4-2 victory over the present leaders Manchester United at Goodison Park. It is always sweet to come from behind to win and you may remember the Busby Babes were leading 2-1 at half-time before a sparkling display by the Blues in the second half gave us a very convincing victory. And it was not so much the score as the manner in which it was achieved that pleased not only us but also the Blues supporters so much. The Old Trafford side has since proved that not many sides can give them a goal lead at the interval and a beating. Among our away games two which have most charmised memories for me are our victory over the Cup-holders, at St. James’s Park and our 0-0 draw at Roker Park against Sunderland. To some, our away wins at Burnley and Preston may recall joyful memories but to me our performances in the North-East were the most meritorious, because in my opinion the Blues on these occasions displayed such team spirit and ability that they rarely looked like losing. Finally my memory book, of 1955 will always be remarkable four our home game of the year against Birmingham last Tuesday. On the previous day the Blues had suffered the humility of our worst defeat of the year to the tune of 6-2. The Birmingham side were in rampage mood and were obviously enjoying themselves near the end of the game and striving very hard to deepen our misery in a natural desire to add to their tally. And who could blame them? Our boys looked very dejected in the bath after the game. You can imagine our feelings when in the early stages at Goodison the following day, we found ourselves a goal behind in too frequent occurrence at Goodison in recent games. What a joy it was to all of us therefore, to see the Blues goal tally mounting. It was a lovely sight for us to see the boot on the other feet as compared with the previous day, and to be able to give our opponents a taste of their own medicine. These, than, are my most memorable games as captain of the Blues for the year 1955. What has 1956 in store for us? The pessimists will have a ready answer for that, but we have proved them wrong before and who knows? Well, let’s leave it at that, and a very happy New Year to you all.