November 1, 1940. Evening Express.
If Everton succeeded at Bury, they will not only record their first “double,” but one for Merseyside, because Liverpool won at Gigg Lane 3-0. Particular interest will centre on the goalkeepers. Lovett, who was secured by Everton from a Shrewsbury amateur team three seasons ago, and who showed excellent form with the Central League side, will be making his senior team debut, while his vis-a-vis will be George Bradshaw, who went to the Goodison club from New Brighton and then to Arsenal. It will be the first appearance this season of Bradshaw, who is in the Army. There will be another debutant in the Everton side –H. Finnis, who has been doing well with the “A” team. He is chosen at left half. Everton may also have the services of Wally Boyes. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, H. Finnis; Bentham, S. Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Watson. Bury; Bradshaw; Robinson, Hubbick; Griffths, Athkinson, Watson; Jones, Burdett, Davies, Livingstone, Cater.
Rootes Athletic (v. Everton “A” at Goodison Park tomorrow); Wilcox; Rawthorne, Edwards, Chapman, Platt; Menard, Kilshaw, Mangan, Clough, Dowker, Referee S. Roberts.
November 1, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
While Everton have some way to go yet to overhaul Manchester City’s goal average they may improve, their position tomorrow at Bury’s expense, particularly if Walter Boyes is able to play. At the moment he is in the “hopeful” class, but as he is now within fairly easy travelling distance, the clubs should at any rate have his services on occasions, which would help to solve one of their perplexing wing problems. One enforced change in the side has been caused by Ted Sagar’s entry into the Army, which gives Lovatt’s chance to make his mark in senior circles. If Boyes is not available, Gordon Watson will play at outside left, and Finnis a second team player, will get his chance at left half. Bentham has another run at outside right. Though Bury’s home record thus far is not particularly impressive, the Gigg Lane side has been drawing quite good crowds for these times, and they are looking to Everton’s visit to produce the season’s record. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Finnis (or Watson); Bentham, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, and Watson (or Boyes). Bury; Bradshaw; Robinson, Hubbick; Griffiths, Athkinson, Watson; Jones, Burnett, Davies, Livingstone, Carter.
BURY TEST EVERTON
November 27, 1940. The Evening Express
Take Lead After 27 Minutes
Everton were compelled to make team changes for the match with Bury at Gigg-lane. Bentham moved from right wing to right half, and Hill came in to take his position in the forward line. Two new comers figured in the side in Finnis at left half-back and Lovatt in goal. Both were making their debut in the side. Bury: - Bradshaw, goal; Robinson and Hubbick, backs; Griffths, Atkinson and Watson, half-backs; Jones, Davies, Burdett, Livingstone and Carter, forwards. Everton: - Lovatt, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones and Finnis, half-backs; Hill, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles, forwards. Referee Mr. W. Baker (Manchester). Everton were early aggressive, and when Hill went along the right wing his low centre was cleared in the Bury goalmouth by Atkinson. Carter forced Lovatt to clear a high shot. Shortly afterwards Davies hit the bar with Lovatt beaten. The rebound was headed outside. The Bury forwards severely tested the Everton defence at this stage. Greenhalgh had to concede a corner but it was easily cleared. A few moments later Jones tested Lovatt. The goalkeeper flung himself full length at a low shot and managed to scramble the ball away. Everton were not idle, although there was little menace in their attacks. Bradshaw had not as yet been called upon a save a shot of any consequence. Lovatt showed marked ability in the Everton goal, handling a greasy ball with commendable skill. The Bury forwards were giving the Everton defence an uncomfortable time, Lovatt was acquitting himself well. Atkinson was allowing Lawton little scope at centre forward. It was no surprise when Bury opened their account in the27th minute through Davies. The inside right scored while Lovatt was lying on the ground after having beaten out two shots. Five minutes later Bury increased their lead when Lovatt took a goal kick, the ball striking Burdett, the Bury centre half, who nodded it into the untenanted goal.
BURY SET PACE.
November 2, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Wingmen Give Everton Trouble.
Bury: - Bradshaw, goal; Robinson and Hubbick, backs; Griffths, Atkinson and Watson, half-backs; Jones, Davies, Burdett, Livingstone and Carter, forwards. Everton: - Lovatt, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones and Finnis, half-backs; Hill, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles, forwards. Referee Mr. W. Baker (Manchester). Everton had to make late changes for their game with Bury at Gigg-Lane. Mercer did not join the party, and as a result Bentham moved from outside right to right half, Hill coming in on the wing. Lovatt and Finnis were making their debut, while Bury made two changes from last week. Bradshaw and Burdett being included for the first time this season. There was only a small crowd to see Bury start against the wind. Everton were quickly attacking, but raids by Hill and Lawton were beaten off. Bury responded with two corners, the resulting shot being sent just wide. Bury kept the ball going at quick pace. Carter made a quick run through to drive just over. Luck was with Everton when Burdett hit the crossbar and Livingstone headed wide from the rebound. Finnis was having trouble in holding the Bury right flank, and more pressure was put on the Everton goal, Lovatt saving finely from Jones. Everton were finding the wind a big handicap and many passes went to Bradshaw. Indeed, the Everton attack was a poor affair and little cohesion was achieved. Stevenson was applauded for next footwork, but there was far more threat in the work of the home forwards, Jones worked one grand opportunity when Davies sent him just past Greenhalgh. Then Cook intervened when Carter was running through and Lovatt saved under the crossbar from Burdett. Everton’s form was much below their usual, and so far Lawton had not had usual, and so far Lawton had not had an opportunity to shine. Twenty-six minutes after the start Bury deservedly took the lead, Davies shooting through following a scramble in the goalmouth. At thirty-three minutes Bury increased their lead with a remarkable goal. Lovatt took a free kick and sent the ball direct on the back of Burdett’s head, from which it rebounded into an empty net.
A REMARKABLE GOAL.
November 4, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Bury 2, Everton 1.
Bury Defeat Everton.
Everton and Bury provided 1,719 spectators with excellent fare at Gigg Lane. Everton, however, were unable to strike their form, and were well beaten, even though the margin in favour of Bury was only 2-1. Bury did far more attacking. In contrast to Everton’s short-passing game they kept the ball moving bringing their wingers into operation at every possible opportunity. Had Lovatt not revealed exceptional ability Bury’s score would have been much greater. The goalkeeper was always in the right spot at the right moment, and his handling was exceptionally sound. It was, therefore a little ironic that he should have contributed to Bury’s second goal, one of the most remarkable ever seen on the ground. Taking a goal kick, Lovatt sent the ball hard against the back of the head of Burdett, the Bury centre forward, who was standing on the edge of the penalty area, and to everyone’s surprise, including the scorer, the ball rebounded into the net. This was a stroke of luck for Bury, but they had many other opportunities to increase their score, particularly in the second half, when their lively attack greatly troubled a defence which did not get the requisite support from the wing half backs. Finnis’s lack of experience resulted in Bury’s right flank having too much room in which to work. Jones played well at centre half, but the Everton attack was in one of its least efficient moods, despite useful midfield play by Simmons and Stevenson. Davies scored Bury’s first goal and Simmons was Everton’s marksman. Bury: - Bradshaw, goal; Robinson and Hubbick, backs; Griffths, Atkinson and Watson, half-backs; Jones, Davies, Burdett, Livingstone and Carter, forwards. Everton: - Lovatt, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones and Finnis, half-backs; Hill, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles, forwards. Referee Mr. W. Baker (Manchester).
DEBUTANT’S FINE DISPLAY
November 4, 1940. The Evening Express.
Splendid goalkeeper by Lovatt, who was making his debut in the Everton goal, prevented the Goodison Park team sustaining a heavier defeat than 2-1 at Bury. The Shakers did 75 per cent of the attacking. Compared with the previous week’s game, Bury were a much improved combination. There was not the needed link up between the wing half-backs and forwards of Everton and the efforts to do most of the raiding down the middle were checked by a steady defence which gave Lawton little chance. To a great extent, Everton were victims of their own tactics, for they kept the ball too close on the heavy turf, but the enforced changes disturbed the happy working of the team, although Simmons fully justified his inclusion at inside left. Davies and Burdett scored for Bury and Simmons for Everton. Burdett’s goal was the most remarkable ever seen at Bury. Standing on the penalty area line, he was struck on the back of the head from a goal kick taken by Lovatt and before the goalkeeper could get back the ball had rebounded into the net.
November 4, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Everton just could not get going in their game against Bury at Gigg Lane, on Saturday. Bury did seven-tenths of the attacking, and contrived to keep Everton mainly on the defensive. The heavy pitch made close dribbling a hazardous business, and as Everton resolutely refused to copy Bury in their more open style of play, they paid the inevitable penalty. The defence struggled gamely against an attack which revealed a splendid understanding. But had Lovatt not made a brilliant debut Bury’s score would have been much bigger. Particularly in the second half, when he was repeatedly in action, did Lovatt show really promising form. Jones was again the mainstay of the defence, for the full backs were not always able to counter the quick wing-to-wing raids of the home forwards. There was not the usual resource at wing half, and Finnis had an arduous match at left half. Bury scored both their goals in the first half, Davies getting the first and Burdett the second. Burdett’s was a remarkable goal, for a goalkick by Lovatt struck him on the head and rebounded into the net! Simmons’s goal for Everton came midway through the second half. There were 1,719 spectators. Bury’s smallest gate of the season.
EVERTON’S CHANGES FOR MANCHESTER UNITED’S VISIT
November 6, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Boyes May Ply
Everton resume rivalry with former First Division members on Saturday when they are at home to Manchester United (k.o. p.m). There will be several changes in the Everton side owing to some of the Army players being unavailable which means that some of the younger end of the professional staff will get further opportunities of winning their spurs. Lovett who made such a grand debut at Bury last week again figure in goal, while Bentham once more goes to right half, where he is happier than on the wing. Catterick is likely to be recalled from Southport to lead the attack, and there is a chance that Walter Boyes, who so far has not played this season will be able to assist the club once more. The team will be chosen from the following;- Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Watson; forwards from Hill, Simmon, Catterick, Stevenson, Boyes, Finnis, and Wyles.
November 8, 1940, The Evening Express.
The Blues opponents will be Manchester United, whose five away games have provided them with two victories. Will Everton retain their certificate? Should they do so they will also complete a “double” over teams from Cottonopolis, for at Goodison Park they inflicted the only defeat suffered so far by the section leaders, Manchester City. Lawton and Mercer will now be available for Everton, and consequently alterations have been made in the list of players originally chosen. The defence and intermediate lines have been decided on, but the final choice of the attack will be made from seven players. Manchester United have decided on their team, with the exception of the centre-half position. Here the choice rests between Vose and Brown. The leader of the attack will be Dodds, the Blackpool club’s centre forward. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; (from) Arthur, Bentham, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes, Wyles. Manchester United; Breedon; Redwood, Roughton; Warner, Vose or Brown, McKay; Byant, Smith, Dodds, Carey, Mitten. Everton “A” (v. Randle away); O’Hara; Ireland, Dugdale; Sherrett, Finnis, Athkins; Sumner, Owen, Williams, Lyon, Bailey.
MERCER AND LAWTON IN EVERTON SIDE.
November 8, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
A win for Everton would regain some of the leeway in the League chart that they lost through their defeat at Bury. The Blues will be stronger than the original team-sheet suggested, for Mercer and Lawton are now available after all, which means that the team will include eight of the championship side for certain, and possibly a ninth in Walter Boyes. If the latter plays we shall see the old firm of Stevenson and Boyes in action again for the first time this season. Lovett earned much praise for his work at Bury last week. He will long remember his first team debut, if only for a freaky goal which gave Bury the victory. Now the home crowd get a chance to see the former Shrewsbury lad step in senior company. It is no small test to follow in the footsteps of such a master of goalkeeping arts as Sagar, for comparisons in such cases are apt to overlook the difference in age and experience, but from what I have seen of Lovett on previous occasions he will more than hold his own. Manchester United are bringing a strong side, including Dodds, the Blackpool player, at centre forward. In the opinion of many good judges Dodds is not far behind or Westwood as a leader. You can make your own comparisons tomorrow. Mitten, who helped Tranmere earlier in the season, is at outside left. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; forwards from Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes and Wykes. Manchester United; Breddon; Redwood, Roughton; Warner, Vose (or Brown), McKay; Bryant, Smith, Dodds, Carey, and Mitten.
MERCER OPENS SCORING
November 9, 1940. The Evening Express.
First Minute Goal For Everton
Everton had team changes for their game with Manchester United at Goodison Park today. Everton; Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones, and Mercer, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles. Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Brown and Roughton, backs; Warner, Vose, and McKay, backs; Bryant, Smith, Dodds, Carey, and Mitten, forwards. Referee Mr. H. Hartles (Runcorn). Everton took the lead in the first minute. When a Manchester attack was beaten back by Bentham, Stevenson gained possession to send in a good centre, which Mercer, with a first-time shot, converted. It was a great goal. Everton were playing splendid football, and their forwards were giving the Manchester United defence a lot of trouble. The United gained a corner, and Lovett came out to fist away. With Lovett out of goal, Warner had a chance, but he skied the ball over the bar. Carey then tried a shot from a long distance but was wide of the mark. The United was soon back in their own area, and a determined raid by Lawton ended in the ball going behind.
The Everton goal had a narrow escape when Smith headed a centre from Bryant just wide of the post. There was now improvement in the Manchester forward play, and the Everton defence were finding their raids hard to beat back. Wyles was shaping well on the Everton left wing, and two delightful movements almost brought success. From one of them Lawton tried to break through, but he was crowded out by Roughton and Brown about five yards from the goal. Jones came to Everton’s rescue when he intercepted a perfect centre by Mitten, which was meant for Dodds standing unchallenged in front of the Everton goal. At this stage there was little to choose between the teams, each side playing really clever football. Mitten came again, but this time the ball was deflected the wrong way when Dodds tried another header. Lovett made a great save for Everton, when he caught a terrific drive from Carey. The shot was dead on the target. Lovett again came into the picture when he went down to save from Smith. Stevenson almost added a second goal for Everton.
MERCER PASS OF QUALITY
November 9, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Gave Stevenson an early Goal
Everton; Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones, and Mercer, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles. Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Brown and Roughton, backs; Warner, Vose, and McKay, backs; Bryant, Smith, Dodds, Carey, and Mitten, forwards. Referee Mr. H. Hartles (Runcorn). There was only a small attendance for Manchester United’s visit to Goodison Park. Everton got off to a god start, for within two minutes they had taken a goal through Stevenson. Lawton and Mercer made the opening, Mercer’s final pass being of such quality that Stevenson had only to move up a step or two to deliver his final blow at the Manchester goal. Lovett was able to show his ability in a corner clearance which stamped him as top class. Stevenson was in one of his brilliant moods, and showed his wise old head when a simple pass which outwitted the whole of the Manchester defence, but unfortunately it was not accepted as it should have been. Dodds, who is known for his hustling tactics, tried to rush his way through the Everton defence but found Jones and others a rare stumbling blocks. Lawton and Simmons linked up in an effort to break down the United defence, but found themselves out-numbered. One save in particular by the Everton keeper was that made from Carey, who smashed in a terrific drive which Lovett caught in safe and sure hands.
FOUR GOALS FOR LAWTON.
November 11, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 5, Manchester United 2
Fine Goal-Keeping by Lovett
While Sergeant Lawton was crashing in four goals against Manchester United at Goodison Park on Saturday, young Lovett, the goalkeeper who has taken the place of Sagar, was keeping shots out, and I don’t know to whom the greatest praise is due for Everton’s 5-2 victory of the United.
The score somewhat flattered Everton, for Manchester United were not three goals behind their opponents on point of football ability. Lovett was at his best at the right time, for the United, although a goal in arrear in two minutes from the start, were playing smart football and always promising to get on terms. They gave the impression that they would take the lead, and had it not been for the magnificent work of Lovett they would have done so. It was as good a display of goalkeeping as I have seen for an age, and Sagar has put up some brilliant exhibition in his time, but none of them outshone that of Lovett. He was beaten by smith after he had brought off two uncanny saves from Bryant and Carey and was unable to get back into position for the scorer’s shot. He had no chance with the United’s second goal, for Dodds had brushed his way through all opposition before he shot beyond the youthful keeper.
Manchester Utd, had given the Everton defence a hard time by their fast moving and accurate combination, but Lawton’s shooting proved too much for them. Lawton had many worthy efforts before he finally found the mark, but having done so he shot with amazing power and direction to beat Breedon four times (including a hat-trick). Stevenson took the first goal from a perfect pass by Mercer and then followed Lawton’s shots, all good lengthy drives. Lawton got his first from thirty yards, his second after he had shaken off a stiff challenge by Brown just outside the penalty area, and his third from a shot after Breedon had punched out, Lawton getting at the ball before it touched the ground and he flashed it into the net. His fiercest goal, however, was the fourth. Stevenson by a cute back heel left the ball beautifully placed for Lawton, who drove it through at great speed. Manchester United had met craft with craft and made the more powerful and concerted attack, but Everton’s defence was solid. Dodds, Carey and Smith of the United were extremely forceful forwards. Jones kept a watchful eye on the bustling Dodds, and he had able assistants in Mercer and Bentham. While Cook and Greenhalgh kept the wingers comparatively quiet. It was a good match. Dodds and Smith were the Manchester scorers. Boyes was unable to get the necessary leave, so that there was a reshuffling in the Everton ranks. Everton; Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones, and Mercer, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson and Wyles. Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Brown and Roughton, backs; Warner, Vose, and McKay, backs; Bryant, Smith, Dodds, Carey, and Mitten, forwards. Referee Mr. H. Hartles (Runcorn).
LAWTON, LOVETT EVERTON STARS.
November 11, 1940. The Evening Express.
Four great goals by Sergeant Tom Lawton was the highlight of Everton’s 5-2 victory over Manchester United, at Goodison Park on Saturday. All the goals followed brilliant forward work by the Everton front line. Great goalkeeping by Lovett, deputising for Sagar in the Everton goal, was also a feature.
Blues’ Brilliant Forwards.
Everton’s brilliant forward work sealed Manchester United’s defeat in the second half of the game at Goodison, when the United did more of the attacking. In fact, throughout the game, Lovett, the Everton goalkeeper, had much more to do than Breedon. Some of Lovett’s saves were thrilling efforts. Everton’s defence came through a gruelling afternoon with honours. It was Stevenson, the “terror” of Everton’s attack, who scored a sensational first minute goal after a Mercer thrust, and he, too, had a share in at least three of Lawton’s successes.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
November 11, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s Youngsters Impress
What sort of a show would Everton have made in the immediate seasons, after the championship if war had not come along the knock the bottom out of League football? That question was put to me at Goodison on Saturday. An idle speculation, may be, but an interesting one, through with so many ifs and buts that a dogmatic opinion would be foolish. There are times such as after the game with Chester, when I think they would have had to struggle to keep in the top fights, and there are others when they gave the impression they would have carried everything before them for some seasons. Saturday’s game against Manchester United left me with the latter feeling, despite the fact that United had as much of the game as the home side. Where I looked on Lawton in his real championship form, when I saw Jones bottle up Dodds that burly centre has rarely been bottled before, and Lovett fill Sagar’s showed in such admirable fashion, when I perceived in Simmons the artistry and brains of a real Evertonian, to say nothing of Mercer, Stevenson, and the backs, and then through of others who would have been available like Gillick, Caskie, Boyes, Watson and company –then I felt that had the world gone on normally we should have seen Everton top of the tree for some time.
But to get back to Saturday’s game, Everton’s 5-2 victory, under atrocious conditions, was notable for some grand goalkeeping by Lovett, clever work by Simmons and Lawton’s quartette of goals. Lovett confirmed the faith I had in him. I like the way he gets his body squarely behind his save whenever possible; he has a strong kick, he handled the greasy ball confidently and surely, and will go far. Lawton got only four real chances, and cracked on four of the real old-time Lawton goals, everyone a beauty which left Breedon, good as he is absolutely helpless. Simmons I have already mentioned. He improves with every game, and when he has had a little more experience and filled out physically he will be up to the best Everton standard. Speaking to me of Dodds recently a First Division manager reckoned him the best centre forward in the country today. It was his misfortune on Saturday to come up against the best centre half since Charlie Roberts. Only once did Dodds get the better of Jones, and that was when the Everton man slipped on the treacherous surface. Dodds took the chance well, to add a second goal to the one previously scored by Smith. Everton’s first which came inside two minutes, was scored by Stevenson.
ANOTHER EVERTON STAR JOINING UP.
November 14, 1940. The Evening Express.
Alex Stevenson, Everton’s brilliant Irish international inside-forward, expects to join the R.A.F, any day now, and consequently may not be available as regularly as hitherto. This will increase the team selection difficulties of Mr. Theo Kelly, the Everton secretary, who, however, hopes Stevenson will be able to carry on a great run of unbroken services with the Blues’ first team. I doubt whether Everton ever made a better bargain than when they signed Stevenson from Glasgow Rangers about six seasons ago. That deal testified to the business acumen of the Everton directorate. It was reported that they had secured another £6,000 sale. As a matter of fact, they paid only in the region of £2,000, but had they paid £10,000 they would still have secured a bargin, for Stevenson has proved not only a brilliant player, but a wonderful clubmate. In addition to his services at Goodison Park, he has been a regular player for Ireland –and deservedly so. Now one of the finest inside-forwards football has seen in a decade goes to do his bit, I wish him the best of luck –and many more games with his beloved Everton.
Everton At Old Trafford.
Everton, for their match with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, have decided on their eleven to do duty, with the exception of the outside left berth. Here the choice is between Boyes and Wyles. If Wyles again occupies the position the Blues will field the side that defeated the United at Goodison Park last week. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes of Wyles.
Everton “A” at Goodison Park, entertain M.S. Randle, and hope to complete a “double.” Everton “A” (V. M.S. Randle, at Goodison Park on Saturday). Tyrer; Ireland, Dugdale; Sherrett, Atkins, Hankin; Sumner, Linderman, Williams, Owen, Bailey.
EVERTON UNCHANGED FOR OLD TRAFFORD VISIT.
November 14, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton make no change in their side to meet Manchester United in the return game at Old Trafford on Saturday. Boyes is again included as a probable partner for Stevenson, but if he is unable to get leave Wyles will take his place, Simmons has earned a permanent place at inside right so long as Bentham is required for the half back line, and Arthur partners him. Lovett, who made a grand entry in his first senior home game, is again in goal; Team: Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes of Wyles.
Everton “A” are home to M.S. Randle, to Runcorn newcomers to the Liverpool County Combination, who put up a good show against Everton in their first game last week. Everton team (kick off 3 p.m). Tyrer; Ireland, Dugdale; Sherrett, Atkins, Hankin; Sumner, Linderman, Williams, Owen, Bailey.
November 15, 1940. The Evening Express.
Wally Boyes Everton’s international outside left, will make his first appearance of the season for the Goodison club in the return game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Thus there is one change from the side that beat United at Goodison Park. Everton have only succeeded in winning one of their five away games to date –that at Southport at the beginning of October. The last two have been lost –at Chester and Bury. If they are successful at Old Trafford they will achieve their first “double.” Manchester United have won two of their five home fixtures. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes. Manchester United: - Breedon; Redwood, Roughton; Warner, Brown, McKay; Bryant, Buchan, Smith, Carey, Mitten.
November 15, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Manchester United put up a fine show at Goodison Park last week, although beaten 5-2, so I am looking forward to a good game at Old Trafford tomorrow. The United ate keen to prove that Everton’s big victory flattered them, and I must agree that it was only because of Lawton’s magnificent shooting and Lovett’s superlative display in goal which enabled Everton to win so handsomely. Manchester met Everton’s skilful play by equally clever football and the “return” tomorrow should be well worth seeing. The United have an exceptionally smart forward line and on their own ground should be difficult to held. Cook, Greenhalgh, and Jones will have to keep a stern eye on that fast-moving attack, but I think we can safely depended on them. Lovett has only to maintain the brilliance form of his Bury and United game to become one of many stars of the team. The “Lads” have always held a big opinion of this tell, rangy keeper, for whom Everton had to sign practically the whole of his former club to obtain his transfer. Walter Boyes, who is now somewhere in England, will definitely play at Manchester. He will, of course, link up with his old colleagues Stevenson on the left wing, Wyles standing down to accommodate him. It will be good to see these two clever little men doing their stuff again, and the pairing will not help the United’s cause. Watson’s ankle is still troublesome, so that Mercer continues on the left, I do not anticipate many changes at the United side. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
LIVELY RAIDS BY UNITED
November 16, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton take Time To Settle
The absence of Simmons, from Everton’s selected side caused two positional changes, Bentham moving into the forwards and Mercer crossing over to right half to allow Watson to take the left-half position. The home side had several changes from the team beaten at Goodison last week, the chief one being the introduction of Asquith at centre forward. Smith came in at inside-right. Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Redwood and Roughton, backs; Warner, Brown and McKay, half-backs; Bryant, Smith, Asquith, Carey and Mitten, forwards. Everton; - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Everton were soon defending, Carey putting in a cross shot, which passed just over the bar. Manchester came again, but this time, Lovett had to go down to a low drive by McKay. Everton were taking time in settling down, and when the left wing broke through, Boyes placed the ball behind. A neat pass by Bentham gave Arthur the chance, but his centre was cleared. The Manchester wingers were lively and Mitten, who has been doing great work on the Tranmere wing, shot for goal, Greenhalgh clearing splendidly. A free kick for a foul on Bentham took the play to the United goal, but Arthur, with a good chance, shot over.
Everton ‘A’ v. M.S. Randle.
The visitors were soon on the attack, the home defence being heavily pressed, A nice movement on the home right was cleverly intercepted by Gutteridge, the visitors left back. Fletcher opened the score for the visitors after five minutes.
MANCHESTER UTED V EVERTON.
November 16, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Redwood and Roughton, backs; Warner, Brown and McKay, half-backs; Bryant, Smith, Asquith, Carey and Mitten, forwards. Everton; - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. H. Hartles (Runcorn). Everton played nine of their championship side against Manchester United at Old Trafford today. Walter Boyes made his first appearance of the season in partnership with Stevenson. There was only a moderate attendance and the people who were to time saw the United make an attack and Carey shoot over the crossbar. For the first few minutes it was all Manchester, who by progressive football, worked through the Everton defence until they got to the penalty area. Lovett showed that his form in the last two games was no mere “flash” in the pan,” for his save from McKay would have been a credit to any goalkeeper in the land. Everton’s only shot at the Manchester goal thus far was made by Arthur, who scooped the ball over the crossbar. Greenhalgh saved what looked to be a certain goal when he rushed across to stop Asquith, who had beaten Cook and Jones and seemed to be heading for a certain goal. The United were playing good open football, and the Everton defence had much running about to do.
LOVETT BARS THE WAY
November 18, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Manchester United 0, Everton 0
Defences Supreme at Old Trafford.
Manchester United and Everton put up a fine display at Old Trafford. This result was a goalless draw. A week previously Everton had defeated the United by a score which had flattered them but they found that the United were a very capable lot on their own ground, but once again their young goalkeeper, Lovett, displayed grand form at a moment when the United were piling on all they knew to get a substantial lead Lovett stood in their path, and once again demonstrated that he is a worthy successor to Sagar. For 20 minutes the Everton defence was run around in a manner which has been uncommon for them for some time, and Lovett had to make mighty saves from McKay, Smith, Asquith, and others, and it was due to his brilliance and confident display that Everton were able to be on level terms at the interval. In then became their turn to do some attacking on their own behalf, and Lawton with the magic foot of his almost brought about the defeat of the United. He swung round as the ball, and with Breedon out of position a goal seemed assured, but by a piece of fortune the goalkeeper flung himself headlong across the goal and the ball struck his body. For some time after this Everton promised a victory. They seemed to have the measure of their opponents and were playing with better swing and combination than hitherto, but the United defence was just as adamant as Everton’s refusing to yield a goal at any point. Towards the end Manchester staged a revival but again the Everton defence stood its ground and best back every attack levelled at it. It was a grand display of defensive football by both teams, and the attacks also were good in combination and progress. The pity was there was only 2,000 people to see this fine game. Manchester United: - Breedon, goal; Redwood and Roughton, backs; Warner, Brown and McKay, half-backs; Bryant, Smith, Asquith, Carey and Mitten, forwards. Everton; - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. Referee Mr. H. Hartles (Runcorn).
November 18, 1940. The Evening Express.
Indifferent shooting cost Everton the “double” over Manchester United. Though grand midfield work of Watson and Mercer in co-operation with Stevenson was wasted, strangely enough, by Stevenson himself, who fired two grand chances high over the bar at a time when Everton had the home side on the run, Lawton and Boyes drove hard without much success. The defence had a busy time in the first half, but they always gave the impression of playing well within themselves, Jones and Cook being the stars. Jones was outstanding in the hard game giving nothing away to the lively United inside trio. Bentham added balance to the attack at inside right, but like the rest of the forwards he could not get his shot in the right place.
November 18, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Manchester United, and Everton strove might and main for a goal in their return game at Old Trafford, but at the end of 90 minute the rival goalkeepers stood undefeated. Lawton, a week previously, had hit in four smashing goals. He got ever chances to do so at Manchester, yet one of his big, true drives almost won Everton the match, for Breedon was the luckiest man on earth to get in the way of it, so that the ball hit his body and was deflected out. But prior to that young Lovett had stamped himself first-class with several magnificent saves when the United were calling a pretty tune and racing the Everton defence about as it has not been run about for some time. His best was a glorious dive to turn around the post a fast drive by Mckay. It was a save worthy of an international goalkeeper. Everton at last struck back and Boyes had desperate luck with a header, and then came Lawton’s bombshell of which I have told you. Both sides played smart, progressive football, Everton replying on the close game in answer to Manchester’s more open methods. Thrust was met by thrust, defensive skill by defensive skill, and so the battle raged until the end, with the defences standing supreme. Manchester staged a fighting finish and plastered the Everton goal, but they could not find a hole in it.
FORMER ARSENAL STAR KILLED
November 20, 1940. The Dundee Courier
“Tim” Coleman, one of the best-known Arsenal players in their old Manor Field days, has died as a result of an accident while at work. He resided in Fulham, and received fatal injuries when he fell off a roof. An side-right, Coleman, also played for Sunderland, Fulham, and Notts Forest. Until the war broke out he was acting as a coach in Holland. He was “capped” by England against Ireland in 1907.
EVERTON AT TRANMERE
November 20, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton also make one change for their trip over the river to Prenton Park (kick-off 3.15) Simmons appearing at right inside in place of Bentham, Boyes once more partners Stevenson, and Arthur retains his place on the right wing; Teams; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Arthur, Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes. Everton “A” have a visit from Marine at Goodison Park on Saturday (kick-off 3 p.m) and field the following. Tyer; Ireland, Dugdale; Miller, Finnis, Atkins; Sumner, Lindeman, Williams, Owen, and Bailey.
EVERTON AT PRENTON.
November 22, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton will be in opposition to Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. The Goodison park club have not been victorious in an away game since the first week in October, when they succeeded by the only goal of the match at Southport. On the other hand, the Rovers have been defeated in their last two home matches after a run of three successive. The Rovers will meet powerful opposition, for the Everton team will include six internationals –three English, two Irish and one Welsh –in Lawton, Mercer, Boyes, Cook, Stevenson and Jones. Nevertheless, they hope to prevent the Blues adding to their “away” wins. The Rovers will include Patterson, the Strathclyde inside forward, at inside right, Patterson, who was signed on professional forms by Mr. R.S. Trueman, the Rovers ‘ chairman, yesterday, joins the permanent playing staff at Prenton. The Rovers have made a good capture. Mr. Trueman tells me that but for the war Patterson would have joined Glasgow Rangers. W.R. Teasdale will be in goal, B.T. Simpson who played against New Brighton, broke a finger during the match. Tranmere Rovers; W.R. Teasdale; A. Wishart, Owen; Anderson (E), W.B. Price, Coley; L.L. Ashcroft, Davies, T.B. Jones, Patterson, Anderson (A.J). Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, S. Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
November 22, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Prenton Park is likely to house the biggest gate this season for Everton’s visit particularly as the latter are taking over eight of their championship side. Tranmere have struck a bad patch lately. The heavy defeat at Rake Lane will not have done their confidence’s much good, and –on paper, at any rate –they do not seem to have an earthly. Candidly, I cannot visualise the possibility of any reversal of the form back tomorrow. While the Rovers have been doing well up to a point this season, it has to be remembered that they have not hitherto come up against senior opposition. They have some grand amateurs on their books, one of two of whom are capable of keeping their end up in the best company, but I am afraid they are “in for it” this time. Tranmere Rovers; W.R. Teasdale; A. Wishart, Owen; Anderson (E), W.B. Price, Coley; L.L. Ashcroft, Davies, T.B. Jones, Patterson, Anderson (A.J). Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Mercer; Arthur, S. Simmons, Lawton, Stevenson, Boyes.
EVERTON AT PRENTON
November 23, 1940. The Evening Express.
There was a crowd of about 1,000 at Prenton Park for the meeting of Tranmere Rovers and Everton. Tranmere had to make a late change, T.B. Jones was unable to get leave, and R. Hodgson was introduced in the attack. Tranmere Rovers:- W.R. Teadale, goal; A. Wishart, and Owen, backs; Anderson (E), Price (W.B), and Coley, half-backs; L.L. Ashcroft, Davies, R. Hodgson, Patterson, Anderson (A.J), forwards. Everton: - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons (S), Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. Lawton opened for Everton and Simmons attempted to get Arthur away, but Coley intercepted and this led to a Tranmere attack, which ended in Greenhalgh heading away a sweeping pass to the right by Davies. An Everton left wing movement was checked by Wishart, who put back for Teasdale to clear. Boyes tried to improve Everton’s position when he dribbled into the middle, but held on too long and was finally dispossessed. Within a couple of minutes, however, Everton had taken the lead, and it was a picture goal. Arthur swinging the ball well into the middle for Lawton to volley it through at close range. Ashcroft cleverly rounded Greenhalgh’s but his forward pass was too strong for Hodgson and the ball went behind. A moment later Ashcroft was again given possession, but this time Greenhalgh checked him, with a resolute tackle.
TRANMERE V EVERTON.
November 23, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Tranmere Rovers:- W.R. Teadale, goal; A. Wishart, and Owen, backs; Anderson (E), Price (W.B), and Coley, half-backs; L.L. Ashcroft, Davies, R. Hodgson, Patterson, Anderson (A.J), forwards. Everton: - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons (S), Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards. There was not a very big crowd for this attractive game, at Prenton Park, although the Rovers have usually put up a good show against Everton. Everton stayed in bright style and to relieve pressure, Wishart had to pass back to save the lines. Within two minutes Lawton had opened the scoring, Simmons and Arthur made the play, Lawton catching Arthur’s centre first time, and sending it into the net. Teasdale did get his hand to the ball but was unable to stay its progress. It was a goal which one could visualise almost from the moment the ball left Arthur’s toe, Lawton was in an unassailable position. So far Tranmere had done little but and when they did attempt an attack they found the Everton half backs very secure.
EVERTON SCORE NINE GOALS
November 25, 1940. The Liverpool Daily Post
Tranmere Rovers 0, Everton 9
Tranmere ‘Again Meet Heavy Defeat.
Tranmere Rovers in the early part of the season were getting high praise for their fine performance with their local talent. They were determined to use their own players rather than go into the market for “guest” artists and for a time it seemed that their decision was a sound one, for they sat in high places in the section and, naturally, were proud of their distinction. Then came the day when they had to call in outside aid, and from the moment their star has dimmed. They have lost four games in succession, and in their last two games they have dropped nineteen goals, ten to New Brighton a week ago and nine to Everton on Saturday at Prenton. Everton scored six goals in twenty-seven minutes, four of them in fifteen minutes. All Tranmere could do was to try to keep the score down, but the visiting forwards were in rampant mood.
Trying Time For Goalkeeper
The Rovers amateur goalkeeper, Teasdale, had an unenviable task just as young Simpson experienced at New Brighton. He made some grand save slate on, one particularly hot shot from Lawton stamping him high-class, but in the main he had no chance for the defence in front of him could not tone down the spirited Everton forward line. Lawton scored three goals, Stevenson three, Simmons two, and Arthur one, but they also missed several chances. Tranmere missed their way on the few occasions they got through the Everton defence. Hodgson once hit the woodwork with all the goal at his mercy, and almost immediately afterwards shot straight at Lovett from a similar position. Ashcroft on occasions displayed attacking ideas, but his inside men were too carefully handled by the Everton defence to respond to his promptings. With an interval lead of six goals, Everton did not press their case to the full in the second half. Nevertheless they scored a further three goals. Teasdale saving many other shots of merit, Everton’s scoring orgy started in two minutes and went on merrily throughout. I was disappointed in the play of Anderson the former Bolton and Scottish left winger, but liked the play of Davies and Patterson but the Rovers were completely out shadowed by a team which was much too clever for them. Here is the order of scoring; Lawton 2 minutes, Stevenson 6, Lawton 12, Simmons 15, Arthur 22, Lawton 27, Simmons 58, Stevenson 75, Stevenson 80 minutes. Tranmere Rovers:- W.R. Teadale, goal; A. Wishart, and Owen, backs; Anderson (E), Price (W.B), and Coley, half-backs; L.L. Ashcroft, Davies, R. Hodgson, Patterson, Anderson (A.J), forwards. Everton: - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones, and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, Simmons (S), Lawton, Stevenson, and Boyes, forwards.
EVERTON SECOND IN LEAGUE RACE.
November 25, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton have jumped into second place in the race for the leadership of the North Regional soccer competition, and are now within an ace of overtaking Manchester City, the leaders, who have a 31 goal average advantage. The full might of Everton was revealed against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, where they won by nine clear goals. Everton took command from the outset, with Mercer, Jones, and Watson holding such a grip that the home attack was completely subdued, while that of the visitors was given such support that goal scoring was made easy. Stevenson was the schemer-in-chief in the Everton attack and Lawton was a very thrustful leader, Boyes was the best wingman on view. For Tranmere over strove hard at back, and in the attack only Ashcroft accomplished anything of note, although Tranmere’s newcomer, Patterson, the former Strathclyde player, showed promise of proving a clever schemer. Lawton (3), Stevenson (3), Simmons (2), and Arthur were the marksmen.
EVERTON TAKE IT EASY
November 25, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Those who did drop in at Prenton Park, on Saturday, saw Everton canter home easy 9-0 victory, with three goals each to Lawton and Stevenson, two for Simmons, and one to Arthur. It might have been more had Everton really exerted themselves, but after popping on six in the first half-hour, they contented themselves with giving the Tranmere followers an object lesson in the finer arts of the game. It was too one-sided to be interesting, yet, in spite of the deficit, the game showed up one or two of the home players in favourable light, notably Patterson, the Scottish player from Strathclyde, whose dribbling ball control and accurate passing were outstanding attributes, and Ashcroft, who was Tranmere’s most dangerous forward. Undismayed by the obvious hopelessness of their task, the Rovers never gave in, but they were weak in front of goal, and missed what few opportunities came their way. The most solid performance of all was put in by the Tranmere supporters. Whenever the home side was within striking distance of the Everton goal they yelled them on unceasingly. Typical of their spirit was the performance of one paddock enthusiast, who cheered so lustily when Tranmere were attacking that he blow out his upper dentures on the touchline. Undismayed and unembarrassed, he leaped over the rallying, rammed em back quickly and continued his nonstop encouragement.
EVERTON MAKE TWO FORCED CHANGES
November 27, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
Everton a have two forced changes in their side to meet New Brighton at Goodison Park on Saturday, owing to Mercer and Lawton being required for an Army representative match. Bentham, who asked for a rest last week, takes over at right half, and Catterick is recalled from Stockport to lead the attack, the team thus reading:- Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Watson; Arthur, Simmons, Catterick, Stevenson, Boyes.
November 29, 1940. The Evening Express.
Everton will be playing at home, they will enter the struggle in the knowledge that no club has so far even shared the honours in a Goodison Park game this season, but they will also enter it knowing that the opposition is a club which has made wonderful progress after a weak start, has become the leading Regional scorers, and has won seven of its last eight game. It is New Brighton. Everton will be without Lawton and Mercer, who will be engaged in an Army match in Scotland, but their places will be strongly filled, Bentham being at half back for Mercer, and Catterick leader of the attack in place of Lawton. The Rakers will not only field the side that has scored 14 goals in their last two games, but also an attack which has been unchanged all season. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Watson; Arthur, S. Simmons, Catterick, Stevenson, Boyes. New Brighton; Hawthorn; Cook, Morris; Rawcliffe, Longdon, Davis; Dellow, Waring, Frost, Malam, Hanson.
EVERTON’S CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES
November 29, 1940. The Liverpool Echo
With three of our clubs in the first eight in the League table, Everton second, on the list, are gradually creeping up to Manchester City, whose goal-average lead was much diminished through Everton’s big win at Tranmere. Tomorrow the Blues are home to New Brighton. Earlier in the season this might have looked a good thing for Everton for the Rakers started badly, but latterly their forward line has been rampaging through all opposition and running up a big bag of goals. At the moment they have scored more than any other side in the country, and only the fact that they have been generous in giving them away as well has begged them back. So far, however, New Brighton’s fixtures, apart from one game with Manchester City, have been against former Third Division sides. The visit to Goodison constitutes their stiffest task to date. Fortunately for them, Everton will be rather below strength, owing to the absence of Lawton and Mercer on Army soccer duty, and while I still fancy Everton to win, if the ball runs kindly for the Rakers they may spring a surprise. The Stevenson-Boyes pairing of happy memories makes its first appearance this season before Goodison spectators. If I might be permitted a word of advice to Simmons on the other wing, It would be to cut out over-elaboration. Simmons has served up some grand football in the last few games. He is a canny dribbler with fine ball control, but now and again be spoils his good work by trying to do too much. New Brighton are at full strength and once again turn out of the same forward line, which has not been changed since the season began. Everton; Lovett; Cook, Greenhalgh; Bentham, Jones, Watson; Arthur, S. Simmons, Catterick, Stevenson, Boyes. New Brighton; Hawthorn; Cook, Morris; Rawcliffe, Longdon, Davis; Dellow, Waring, Frost, Malam, Hanson.
EVERTON RAKERS DUEL
November 30, 1940. The Evening Express.
Fast Game At Goodison Park
Everton and New Brighton met in the North region at Goodison Park today. Everton: - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, S. Simmons, Catterick, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. New Brighton: - Hawthorn, goal; Cook, and Morris, backs; Rawcliffe, Longdon, and Davis, half-backs; Dellow, Waring, Frost, Malam, and Hanson, forwards. Referee Mr. W.H. E Evans (Liverpool). Everton gained a corner from the kick off but New Brighton drove them back and Hanson made way on the left. He was, however, cleverly checked by Jones, and Everton again returned to the attack. Good defensive work sent play back to the Everton end, where Hanson just shot wide. The New Brighton goal had two escapes –first when a shot by Catterick struck the foot of the post, and again when a well-directed shot by Boyes was cleverly saved by Hawthorn. Waring was in the picture when he led a New Brighton forward movement, which ended in Dellow taking a shot from an awkward angle. It was in the right spot, but it lacked force, and Lovett cleared. Hawthorn was twice called on to beat out Everton raids. He fisted out one shot from Arthur and then went down to a difficult shot by another Everton attacker. Following go work between the New Brighton halves, and forwards, a grand centre by Dellow gave Frost a chance. The New Brighton centre forward got his head to the ball, but Lovett cleared. Bentham made a good position for Simmons, but the Everton forward hesitated and the chance went begging. At the other end Waring slipped the ball through to Malam, and there was prospect of a score until Cook nipped in to save.
RAKER PLAY THE OPEN GAME.
November 30, 1940. The Liverpool Echo.
Goodison Park Features
Everton: - Lovett, goal; Cook (captain) and Greenhalgh, backs; Bentham, Jones and Watson, half-backs; Arthur, S. Simmons, Catterick, Stevenson and Boyes, forwards. New Brighton: - Hawthorn, goal; Cook, and Morris, backs; Rawcliffe, Longdon, and Davis, half-backs; Dellow, Waring, Frost, Malam, and Hanson, forwards. Referee Mr. W.H. E Evans (Liverpool). There was only a moderate attendance to see two teams which have been consistent scorers in recent weeks, Everton and New Brighton. Everton started with stylish play, but there was an inclination on their part to keep the ball too close, so that Hawthorne, the Rakers’ keeper has no duty to perform even though Everton were on the attack for the first five minutes. New Brighton by more open methods worked their way through the Everton defence, and Hanson, was only a foot off the mark with a worthy effort. Hawthorn was instrumental in preventing Everton from taking an early lead when he brought off a grand save from Boyes. Bentham gave Catterick an opportunity, and the centre forward ultised it to the full, and was unfortunate to find his shot smash up against the upright. New Brighton did well in midfield, but when they came up against Jones they were usually checked, although Frost did make a header which was not far off the mark. Boyes tried a hoot shot that was off the target, and so for that matter did Catterick’s a little later. Simmons was offered a fair opportunity, but once again his desire to over-dribble held him up, for he was dispossessed just as he was about to shoot.