MAY MAKE OR MURDER YOUR OWN FOOTBALL TEAM
October 1, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Mr. Cliff Britton, Everton’s manager, has of recent weeks made some very significant remarks indicative of a modern trend among a section of football followers which is regarded with more than a misgiving in authoritative quarters. During the past couple of years so much has been written belittling the Standard English football, which has frequently been compared unfavorably with that of continental sides that the paying customers at Football League games are becoming increasingly more critical of the stuff now served up often with good cause. Critism is all to the good so long as it is constructive, healthy and free from malice. Unfortunately in the view of many people well qualified to judge there has been a tendency during the past year or so for criticism to depart from these idealistic standard and to become vindictive, intolerant and purely destructive. That will never do any good either individually or collectively. This modern trend allied to the still steady decline in attendance all over the country, is causing football’s administrators to wonder where it may all ultimately end. I shall deal with that aspect of the matter in a moment. First let me quote from the remarks of the Everton manager in the articles previously referred to. Early this season Mr. Britton expressed the opinion that results today have assumed an importance but of all keeping with the word SPORT. “The majority of fans do not go to see entertaining game of football,” he went on,” but to see their team WIN.” This attitude is one to which I have drawn attention repeatedly for some seasons. Far too many football supporters are happy only when their favourities have bagged both points and taken an upward more in the League table. Conversely when the reverse happens they are dismal, depressed and avidly look for somebody on whom vent their disappointment. It is usually the team’s manager.
The “Must Win” Look
Victory is the be-all and end-all of many thousands of the cash customers. Too many care little how that victory is earned so long as it comes. It can be the result of pure fuck, the outcome of biff-and-bang football, the material reward of purely rugged and destructive play, or anything but stylish and immaculate Soccer and yet they are satisfied. I don’t suggest that these strictures apply to all followers. Happily that is not so. It would be a sorry day for the game if ever that came about. But it applies today to a far greater preparation of spectators than ever before. I am not alone in thinking that. I have discussed the topic with many managers, players and officials. These are thinking folk who look father ahead than the ends of their noses. They do not like what it all portends. The unfortunate aspect of the problem is this. While at the moment only a comparatively small proportion of folk react t defeat this way, the infection appears to be spreading. Like measles, it is contagious. The example of the few can quickly contaminate the many. Early this season we had outbreaks of slow handicapping at both Everton and Liverpool. I’ll admit readily enough that the Blues display in their opening game against Preston North End was shocking. It was enough to cause their followers anxiety. But one game was never a reliable guide to a whole season. It is viral to keep a sense of proportion. No team should be condemned or barracked on the basis of one afternoon’s poor performance, any more than it should be hailed as likely champions or cup winners because of one brilliant display.
A Famous Roar
That outbreak of disapproval at Goodison brings me to the second chapter in Manager-Britton’s views on the conduct of spectators. “A couple of seasons ago,” he said “the vocal efforts of our supporters become known all over the country as the “Goodison Roar.” All those who had a voice in it could rightly claim to have played a part in the success which was gained that season. It was more beneficial to our team than the oxygen or gland treatments which were in favour with other clubs.” To a small extent I might, with all due difference, claim a little credit for that helpful “roar.” Those who read me regularly know that from time to time I appealed to supporters when the club looked a likely promotion prospect to give the utmost vocal encouragement to the players. Mr. Britton goes on,” It is a great incentive for players to sense that their supporters are with them. There is the added responsibility that they must not be let down. If these develops a spirit of indifference between players and supporters then there is something lacking in the club efforts for success. “There are many players and teams who prefer to play away from their home ground. It is not because they are fond of travelling, but because they can be more relaxed away from the critical atmosphere of the home crowd. “There is not the tension which undermines their confidence to play up to their ability. This is a sad reflection on these supporters who in their individual line of business, may also resent hostile criticism but will give their best response to encouragement. “All public performers expect –and get – criticism. It is not the criticism which is objected to, but rather the manner in which it is often given.” Let me now digress a moment from this problem in relation to Everton and Liverpool and interpolate something about its repercussions in another centre. Immediately after Crystal Palace had been beaten 1-0 by Shrewsbury at Selhurst Park last week too of the Palace players asked to be left out of the team due to play the following Wednesday, solely because they could no longer reproduce their best from at home because of the attitude of a section of the club’s supporters. Manager Cyril Spiers turned down their request. He told them they must go out and face the music and try to overcome the disadvantage. At the same time he expressed his wholehearted sympathy with the men concerned. “Some of our spectators are killing the team,” he added. “No wonder the lads won’t want to go out in front of them. Most of the side feel the same. They look forward to away matches but hate playing at Selhurst Park. It is a sad state of affairs when alleged supporters” of the club are able to induce such a feeling. They should remember that footballers are human like the rest of us, and react the same way to unfair crictism as anybody else would.
Matter Of Pique
Sometimes of course spectators have nothing very much over, which to enthuse. That was so in Everton’s game against Preston previously mentioned. There was not a tremendous amount to raise wild enthusiasm in the home matches with West Bromwich Albion or Luton Town. It was the same at Anfield last week. Nobody expects the paying customers to yell themselves hoarse when the fare put before them is poor or indifferent. But at the same time it is regrettable that even a small proportion should deliberately go out of their way to be vindictive and malicious or indulge in slow handclapping or barracking. That does not the slightest good, but only harm, both collectively and individually. Reference has already been made to the added confidence which is given a team whose individual components know they have the full and loyal backing of the crowd behind them. Equally destructive of that confidence is the feeling that the crowd are “niggling” and antagonistic, even though it may be realized that only a small proportion are involved. If there is nothing in a game which leads spectators to cheer wildly and enthusiastically, then at least they should allow the players to flight it out and do their best without exhibitions of spectatarial pique. Followers of football have their own remedy if they’re not satisfied. They can stay away. That is a surprising thing about some people. They grouse about the fare served up, yet keep on going, doubtless in the belief that surely their favouroties cannot be so bad again.
“Barracking” and slow hand-clapping are the quickest undermining influence of both team and individual confidence. Fortunately in this city we have been fairly free over the years from anything very reprehensive in this direction. Taken by and large, there isn’t a more loyal or enthusiastic lot of football supporters anywhere in the country than we have at Goodison and Anfield. Remember that game at Anfield at the end of the 1952-53 season, when Liverpool had to make sure of beating Chelsea at Anfield in the last match of the season to avoid descending to the Second Division? That season Liverpool deserved considerable harsh criticism. They had been a great disappointment to their followers. But did that lead the loyal Anfielders to go to that game in a carping and malicious spirit? Not on your life, if ever a crowd “won” a match for its club the Spion Kop and other enthusiasts did so that day. The Chelsea players and officials told me at the end that they had never experienced anything like it in their lives. I believed them for neither had I. Bur now and again the “barrackers” have done their sorry work even at Anfield. Jack Balmer, a great footballer who rarely got full credit for his braininess and skill, as the butt of a small but loudmouthed section of alleged “supporters” who resolutely refused to see any good-in-him.
Under The Lash
Barry Nieuwenhuys was another who sometimes came under the lash of the crowd. In more modern times Brian Jackson has suffered. Over at Goodison a small section of Evertonians has been decidedly unfair to Tony McNamara on many occasions in recent years. Spectators should always remember that players don’t pick themselves. Either the board –in the case of Liverpool –or the manager in the case of Everton, put them into the line-up. Almost with exception every player, whatever his shortcomings does his utmost when on the field of play. If his best is not good enough that is his misfortune nor his fault. It does not help him to better form no flay him unmercifully in public. I knew that barracking to a certain extent is spontaneous. I grant also that it I practically the only way the spectators have of showing disapproval apart from their absence. But if those who allow their disappointments to outrun their loyalty and discretion would ponder a while they would realize that they are doing not good but harm. Let them think seriously on the remarks of Manager Cliff Britton. Let them decide whether they wish the players of the club which they support to prefer playing away rather than at home. I am not addressing these remarks alone to Liverpool or Everton followers. They are meant as food for thought for all who follow this great game of ours, and who profess allegiance to any particular side. The standard of football may not always be what they would like. I’m frequently disappointed myself just as much as the most fervent followers. But so long as every man is generally pulling out his lost ounce of endeavour than those who call themselves “supporters” should realize all the implications of what that means and try to carry them out.
EGLINGTON GOAL CROWNS EVERTON RALLY
October 1, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Gruelling For Newcastle
J. Harris Scores
Newcastle 1, Everton 2
Newcastle United; Simpson, goal; Batty and McMicheal, backs; Scoular, Stokoe, and Crowe, half-backs; Tait, Davies, White, Hannah, and Mitchell, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. Alf Bond. Everton won the toss and took advantage of having the slight breeze behind them, should have been a goal up at the end of two minutes. After a great boot of passing in which five of the visiting team took part. Brian Harris found himself ten yards from goal with no one to beat for Simpson had been lured out of his charge. Instead of making a shot, however from his slightly angled position Harris selected to pass and a golden chance went begging. Five minutes later Newcastle took the lead. The initial pass came from Hannah to Mitchell and when the left winger took the ball over to the far wing the red haired Tait who made his senor debut here against Everton last Easter but the home side in front with a header. I though O’Neill was slow to move to cut out Tait’s effort. Had he shown his usual agility he might have got to the ball
This was a disappointment to the small contingent of Everton supporters who had made the journey to St. James’ Park particularly in view of Brian Harris earlier miss. Newcastle continued to press hotly for some minutes and Tait, Mitchell, and Hannah, in turn tried scoring efforts with him getting within appreciable instance of the target. Parker was injured in a tackle but soon recovered and Everton’s next attack saw Jimmy Harris a fraction of a second too slow to beat Stokoe to the ball. Brian Harris had another opportunity from almost the same position as his earlier opening. This time he tried a shot but there was neither power nor accurate direction behind it, and Simpson watched the ball cross the dead ball line. Everton had a spell during which they fully extended the home defence for a while and during one raid the Newcastle goal had an extremely narrow escape. A cross from the right saw Jimmy Harris and Wainwright unable to control an awkwardly bouncing ball sufficiently to get in a shot, but when an opportunity presented itself to Parker he did much better.
Crowe To Rescue
His first time toe-ender looked bound for the back of the net until Crowe struck out a leg and diverted the ball for a corner. When Newcastle came again O’Neill dealt capably with a cutting shot by Davies and then in the next assault, Wainwright was temporarily knocked out with a clearance by Lello. He soon recovered. Tait took an excursion to the left wing which spelled danger. The situation however, was relieved without O’Neill being called up. A clever sideways flick by Jones also retrieved an awkward looking situation when White was almost through on his own. Although Everton were behind, they were carving out more possible scoring chances than the home side, and when they kept the ball on the turf they looked as though they would get some reward for their constant pressure despite the fact that their finishing so far had left something to be desired. The home defence was looking none too happy at times. At the 30th minute, Parker and Farrell laid the foundation of the equalizing goal, and when the ball was lobbed over the heads of the Newcastle defence to their coming Eglington the Everton winger cracked in a low shot which entered the net inside the far post.
Well On Top
This success encouraged Everton in such a manner that for some time they were well on top, through without being able to turn in any first time shooting. Then at the 34th minute the Blues took the lead with the best combined move so far. It started in Everton’s half was helped on by Parker and Wainwright and Eglington getting clear of all opposition crossed a peach of a centre which left Jimmy Harris with the easiest of chances to beat Simpson from five yards range.
GOOD FAST FOOTBALL BUT NO POINTS FROM FRATTON PARK
October 1, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
The Portsmouth “hoodoo” still seems to haunt Everton, and in last Saturday’s game we once again failed to lay it, but I can assure you it was not from went of trying. Our game at Fratton Park, as you have probably read, was a highly entertaining affair, productive of good, fast football. Right through the match even when Portsmouth scored, I had the feeling that we weren’t going to come empty-handed or should I say pointless. Such was not to be the case, however, and the unfortunate thing about the result was that we should have been beaten by a scrambling type of goal. I always feel a little disappointed after a game such as last Saturday, when the side plays a high standard of football and still loses. Still it we continue to maintain that standard of play plus better finishing the results should come.
No Inferiority Complex
Some people have suggested to me that when Everton play Portsmouth they seem to develop an interiority complex due to our dismal record against them since the war. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the lads went about the job last week as if their very lives depended on the result, and also in a very confident mood. In the return game at Goodison Park later on the Blues will have another chance to end the long and dismal list of defeats inflicted upon them by this Portsmouth side which I reckon to be the best team Everton have played so far this season. I should like to pay tribute to the sporting followers of Portsmouth. While obviously hoping and cheering for a home victory, they also found time on many occasions to applaud good play by the visitors.
It was good to meet that grand old war horse of Portsmouth, Duggle Reid, once again. What a great servant he has been for the club. I have had many grand tussles with Duggle during his inside forward days and despite his amazing strength and build, have always found him on of the cleanest and fairest opponents one could wish to meet on the field of play a player who never opens his mouth to friend or foe during the course of the game. I told young Jimmy Harris before last week’s game that he need have no fear of any underhand methods from Duggie, a fact which Jimmy confirmed after his many duels with the big Portsmouth centre half. Tomorrow t Copenhagen England starts the first of this season’s internationals against Denmark. When Everton played against the Danish national side while on tour last summer, we came up against a very formidable team, but the chosen English wide on paper looks to have the beating of the Danes. I am sure the Danish Soccer fans will be very disappointed that the one and only Stanley Matthews will not be able to play because of injury. The name of Matthews is a household word everywhere in the football world, and his wizardly will be sadly missed by the sporting Danish fans tomorrow. Jackie Grant was a very disappointed man last week-end. He was honoured by the Central League to represent them against the Central League champions, but had to cry off due to a pulled muscle sustained early in the game against Manchester United Reserves. This meant that Jackie not only missed the game but also the medal which is presented to those who represented the Central League each year, but I am sure this bit of bad luck will only inspire Jackie to play twice as hard for recognition next season. Grant has certainly been a great servant to Everton and his inspiration and example to the youngsters in the Central League side during the last couple of years has been invaluable to the club. Whatever position Jackie is chosen in and for whatever team he plays for Everton, it’s all the same to the little Georgie. It just comes natural to him to give a 100 per cent effort.
THE NATURAL KINDLINESS OF OLD ROAN FOLK IS TYPICAL OF LIVERPOOL SAY
October 1, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Of Mostyn Avenue
Soccer Stars At Home
I am glad of have the opportunity of featuring in this new “Echo” series” was the first thing Tommy Eglington said when I discussed the matter with him “for it gives me the chance to thank all the many Merseyside folk who have done so much to make me feel at home here since I crossed over from Eire nine years ago. When I visited the Irish international’s home later Mrs Eglington repeated her husband’s words. She also is a native of Dublin and admitted to certain trepidation when leaving her own folk and setting off to make a new home among people of whom she knew nothing. “I need not have worried” she said. Right from the start I found a warm and sincere welcome which could not have been more genuine if I had been starting my married life in Dublin. “The same kindness and helpfulness has continued right up to this day, and whatever our future my hold, Tommy and I will always remember this with gratitude. Mr. and Mrs. Eglington, have been married now going on for six years. Their wedding took place in Dublin, with Peter Farrell as best man. After the honeymoon they spent the first few months in the home of Mrs. Egan, of Harris Drive, Bootle, where Tommy and Peter Farrell had lodged for the first four years of their careers with Everton. Everton take particularly pains to see that all their bachelor players who come from other towns and have no relatives on Merseyside are housed under the best and happiest conditions. Mrs. Egan was like a mother to Peter and I” said Tommy “We never felt a moment’s strangeness or anxiety. Right from the start we were made to feel as though we “belonged” and that we were one of the family. I shall never forget the happy days I spent in Harris Drive.” It was Tommy told me quite a wrench to leave Mrs Egan. Doubtless that good lady felt much the same way, for she had formed quite affection for these two likeable Irish boys, as they were when she first knew them. They in their turn will always remember her with equal affection and be grateful for all she did for them.
Another Spot of Luck
“We were lucky, too, when we made our home in Mostyn Avenue, Old Roan,” continued Eglington. Our neightbours have been exceptionally good to us. Nobody could possibly have found a more friendly and helpful little community than we have discovered there during our married life. “Like my club-mate Peter Farrell, I reckon that Liverpool folk are among the warmest hearted in the country. And I don’t think it springs just from the fact that we are professional footballers, but from the natural kindliness of the folk themselves. They are built that way.” Obviously Eglington considers he has had some lucky breaks in his career. When asked what he considered the greatest individual piece of fortune he had no hesitation. Next to the choice of his life’s partner, he looks back on the day when Everton first took an interest in him as the luckiest of his life. “If I had my time to come over again I could ask for no better club than the one I have now been with for over nine years and with whom I hope to remain to the end of my footballing days” he said.
Whole Career Changed
Let him tell you how he came to sign for Everton. It is another of the many examples which football provides of how a player’s whole life may be altered in a flash in a most unexpected manner and by a more “accident.” Away back in May, 1946, Mr. Ernest Green, the Everton chairman and Mr. Theo Kelly the then secretary-manager went over to Belfast to watch a Glentoran player who was taking part in the annual Irish inter-City match between Belfast and Dublin teams. Dublin that day was represented by Shamrock Rovers. That fact did not greatly interest Everton. Their eyes were on the opposition player they had come over especially to “vet.” It wasn’t long, however, before Mr. Green realized that Farrell and Eglingon were a much better proposition than the original cause of his journey. To cut a long story short, he was soon on the track. Interviews with Shamrock Rovers officials and the players followed without less of time, and in due course Everton stepped in and signed for quite a modest sun two players, who have repaid the original outlay several times over in the nine years which have followed. When the Goodison club first made inquires neither Farrell nor Eglington were internationals. Confirmation of Everton’s judgment was soon forthcoming, however, for during that summer both players were picked by Eire for the Continental of Portugal and Spain.
Training as a Butcher
Since those far-off days, of course, they have each played on more than a score of occasions for their native country, and also for the full Ireland X1 until the North and South had a spot of bother and ceased to choose players from the “rival” camp. At the time of his signing by Everton, Eglington was working as a butcher in Dublin. Butchering runs in the family, Tommy’s father and three brothers are all butchers and when his playing days are over the Everton winger intends to resume his former trade. He doesn’t went to go in for football management. When I asked whether he would set himself up in business on Merseyside however, he was undecided. “I haven’t really decided yet” was the reply. “I shall consider it more fully nearer consider it more fully nearer the time, but although I have been so happy on Merseyside I think I shall return to Dublin. “After all my parents three brothers, two sisters and all my relations are over there. Though Liverpool is my second home, Dublin stills pulls tremendously at times. It would be nice to remain here, but I fancy when the time comes to finish with football the call of Eire will be too strong to resist.”
No Parting Yet
That time however, is still some way off. Eglington feels and I agree with him, that he can still be of good services to Everton for some little time yet. There has certainly been no signs so far of any diminution of his ability. He retains his speed and confidence, and so long as he maintains his form of past years there is unlikely to be any desire on either his part of Everton’s to hasten the final parting of the ways. The club house in which the Eglington’s reside at Old Roan was originally brought for Alec Stevenson. The family consists of two boys, Anthony the eldest is nearly four and a half, while Bernard came into the world only last January. Mrs. Doris Eglington, before her marriage was a cashier in a grocery establishment in Dublin. Like so many professional footballer’s wives she has found that the job of looking after a couple of youngsters has evolved certain sacrifices. Before the boys arrived she used t see all the home games and some of the nearest away matches. Nowadays she devotes herself to her children and her home taking a tremendous pride in both. Her main interests now follow the usual run of the average house proud woman. She is an industrious knitter a good cook as keen looker-in on television when the day’s work is done and though she admits a certain disappointment at not being able to see her husband in action these days, she was never a particularly fervent Soccer enthusiasts.
His Golfing Ambition
Next to football, which is his hobby as well as his livelihood, Eglington main interest is golf. It is a comparatively new departure for him, however. It was Alex Stevenson who first got him to take an interest in it. Alec took him along to Bootle golf course to give him a series of lesions, punctuated with some typical Stevensonian wit and leg-pulling. “The first time I went round it cost me 117 strokes and six balls,” Tommy said “but I was bitten with the golf but right away” Now he has got his handicap down to eight. Monday is the professional footballer’s day off, and each week, Eglington, Farrell, Donovan and Wainwright have a standing four ball engagement at Bootle. Whenever they can fit in an extra afternoon the same course sees the same four-ball in action. Tommy’s ambition is to get down to scratch one of these days –though he admits is doubtful of ever accomplishing it. Mr. and Mrs Eglington are members of the Holy Rosary Church at Old Roan which at the moment holds its services in the parish hall while a new Church there is in process of being built. “It will be a sad day for me when I have to give up my connection with Everton,” were Eglington’s final words “but in the meantime I shall keep on doing my best for the club. No matter where I may be in the years ahead on what the future holds I shall always have a soft spot in my heart for the Goodison Park club and the hundreds of friendly and hospitable folk I have been fortunate to know in the last nine years.”
HONOURS FOR JONES AT NEWCASTLE
October 3, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Newcastle 1, Everton 2
In registering their third away victory of the season Everton also had the distinction of being the first team to beat Newcastle United at St. James’s Park since February last. Though it was only by a goal margin, it might have been considerably greater if Everton’s forwards had accepted some comparatively easy chances. With better finishing the visitors could have been three goals to the good at half time. Brian Harris missed a “sitter” before the game was two minutes old, when all he had to do was put the ball into an empty net. Instead of snapping up the chance, he tried to make double sure by turning the ball inwards for a colleague, was just off the line with his pass and instead of being one down, Newcastle were presented with a clearance. When Newcastle took the lead five minutes later it seemed this early Everton miss as going to prove expensive. Tait was the home side’s scorer with a header from Mitchell’s high centre, and though I thought that O’Neill might have made a better attempt at saving, it is perhaps a little harsh to blame him.
To be one down in seven minutes put Everton under handicap. To their credit they fought back with such intensity that in half an hour they not only rubbed out the deficit, but took the lead. Eglington got the equalizer with a strong ground, shot which just scraped inside the upright and four minutes later Harris (J) was presented with a simple chance when Eglington squared the ball to him in such a manner that he had all the goal to shoot at five yards range. Both Harris boys had further opportunities to put Everton in a commanding lead. The winger missed one opening which had been carved out for him by a beautifully combined movement. His centre forward namesake also mistimed his shot when a properly-hit one would have left Simpson helpless and hopeless. Almost all the good football in the first half had come from the visitors. They were a shade faster to the ball than Newcastle they combined more confidently and convincingly, and when Newcastle were enjoying their very brief spells of ascendancy the visiting rearguard played so solidly and covered one another so well that Newcastle were rarely able to test O’Neill. The nearest the home side came to leveling the scores in this half was just before the interval, when Moore headed away on the line from Davies.
In the second portion Newcastle did most of the attacking without being able to force home their advantage against an Everton defence which rose magnificently to the occasion. Time and again it seemed that such pressure must bring the equalizer. For long stretches Everton were confined to their own half. The home backs and halves tried to remedy the inaccuracy of their own forwards’ finishing by medium-range shots. But all to no avail, Everton stuck it out to the bitter end O’Neill made a few saves, Lello and Jones cleared off the line, and in between Newcastle’s pressure Everton made some lively raids which came near to increasing their lead. Though Jones took top honours in the Everton defence and gave a display which blotted White –and later Tait – out of the picture, every one of his colleagues gave him splendid support. Both backs were excellent and the wing halves despite the heavy burden they had a face, were rarely found wanting.
The well-knit manner in which the rearguard covered one another was the deciding factor, however. Despite the volume of their pressure, Newcastle never made openings in the way Everton had done in the first half. Wainwright and Parker had a good first half. In the second portion they were less in the attacking picture because they became defensive auxiliaries. The two Harrisis were hard and genuine triers, but neither has yet mastered the art of bringing the ball under control quickly enough to cash in on half chances. Eglington had a very good game. Newcastle if this is a fair sample of their form, are not impressive. The forward line lacks balance and understanding; the defence can be too easily spilt open Hannah’s finishing throughout was poor and some of the others were little better. Milburn was badly missed.
ANSWER TO A FIELDING “DARE”
October 3, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Mr. A. J. Higgins of 3 Kaigh Avenue, Great Crosby, writes:-
“Once again I see that Fielding is excluded, sacrificed once more on the Britton altar in place of others who, as inside forwards cannot be compared. More points to be needlessly thrown away as they were about this time last year until the show v. Blackpool plus supporters opinion forced Britton’s hand. One defeat in which Fielding played well (vide Sunday Press) is enough to see him off, but it takes several narrow wins and a round of defeats before he comes back. “If loss of form is not the reason in this instance, and none would bring that charge in, the only reason can be indiscipline. “Various opinions are held on the Britton doctrine for producing your own players. It is obvious; however, that best use is not made of existing material. Fielding has been shelved usually for no loss of form in preference to players who, however good they might have been, cannot compare. It has not happened once but season after season. The only time we did well and incidentally got out of Div 2 was when Fielding was played right through… “My support finishes until we play the best we have. You won’t publish this –you daren’t.”
EVERTON RES 4, WEST BRMWICH ALBION RES 0
October 3, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Several superb saves by Brown and inaccurate shooting prevented Everton winning this Central League game at Goodison Park more handsomely. Albion were inferior in all departments except goal and their shaky defence was fortunate on many occasions n a one sided second half. Thomas who scored three times started in a sprightly Everton forward line. Lewis obtained the other goal.
UNITED THEY STOOD
October 3, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s Third Away Victory
An away victory is always sweet. When it is gained at the expense of a team which has not been defeated on its own ground in 15 previous matches it ranks as a particularly meritorious performances. That was what Everton did to Newcastle United, and they earned praise for their dragged display against a team which over-ran them territorially for long periods in the second half. Newcastle’s ascendancy was never at any time based upon football ability, however, it was only territorial advantage. The fact that they did not turn it to tangible points benefit was due to Everton’s splendidly knit defence in which every man dovetailed so admirably that there always seemed somebody in the right spot at the right moment. In many respects this game was very like that at Portsmouth the previous week except that the Newcastle forwards were not so accurate in their passing and did not move the ball from wing to wing in the sparkling way Portsmouth did. This latter fact to some extent eased the task of Everton’s defence when Newcastle piled on the pressure in the second half in a desperate but unsuccessful effort to pull back the arrears. The Georgies persisted in excussively close passing moves even after they had the object lesson of their first goal which arose from a long Mitchell cross which was headed home by Tait at the seventh minute. Prior to that Brian Harris had let slip the chance of putting the Blues ahead when the game was barely two minutes old.
Their Saving Grace
O’Neill seemed so taken by surprise at Tait’s header that he failed to make his usual agile leap to save. Whether he would have been able to prevent the score is a matter of opinion, for he was badly positioned after moving to one of the goal when the cross was coming over. But his rather half-hearted attempt was totally unlike him, and with a goal beneath their belts thus early I feared that Newcastle might soon have the game in safe keeping. Bu Everton’s saving grace was their determination to fight every inch of the ground and not to allow Newcastle’s success to dishearten them. At the half hour soon after Crowe had stuck a foot out to prevent Parker scoring the visitors got on level terms when Eglington finished off a four-man attacking move which took the ball up from the Everton penalty area without a Newcastle man touching it until Simpson picked it out of the back of the net. Four minutes later Eglington’s speed left the Newcastle defence floundering and his final well-judged push into the middle with the inside of the foot left Jimmy Harris with only the goalkeeper to beat from close range.
It might Have Been More
Though this turn-around was a shock to the home crowd, there was no denying that Everton were worth their lead. They had provided far better balance and more stylish football than the opposition and but for another miss by Brian Harris and a partial slip by his namesake they might easily have been tree goals up. During this half Wainwright and Parker had done valiant work, and Eglington had come right back to his best form. Newcastle had occasional chances yet had never looked as dangerous as the visitors. The nearest they came to the equalizer prior to the interval was when Moore headed out off the goalline from Davies. The second half was a different story. Newcastle had long spells when Simpson was the only man in their own half. Now it was the Everton defence, valiantly assisted in time of heavy stress by the inside forwards which took the honours. They had a counter to everything that Newcastle attempted. Jones dominated the middle. His tackling was brilliantly timed and executed and with Moore and Tansey shaping well against the rather fiddling home wingers, and the wing halves popping up here, there and everywhere it must have seemed to Newcastle that the way to goal was as securely guarded as if it had been boarded up.
They Held Out Well
Even so, as the half progressed it seemed almost inevitable that Newcastle’s pressure must bring the equalizer. The ball was so long on the outskirts of the Everton penalty area that one felt the defence must cave in sooner or later. The home full backs were shooting from medium range; the wing halves were straining at the leash and the forwards were hammering away for all they were worth. But Everton held out to the bitter end. Two near escapes came when Lello cleared a Mitchell shot a yard from the line and Jones headed out an attempt by Crowe which appeared bound for the back of the net. O’Neill’s most difficult save was one at the foot of the post when Davies rammed in a fierce first-timer. That apart he had nothing exceptionally difficult to deal with thanks to his excellent anticipation and positioning, which made several of his saves look more simple than they otherwise would have been. If O’Neill was in any way to blame for the first game he made up for it in the later stages. In case the foregoing reads as though Everton were out of the hunt in an attacking sense in the second half, let me dismiss that assumption. It was far from the case. Whenever Everton got away they usually looked more dangerous than Newcastle. Their raids however were rather spasmodic and mostly short-lived. Yet they might have increased their lead even during this portion of the game if Jimmy Harris had got proper hold of his shot when he had only Simpson to beat from 12 yards or if the other Harris boy had been able to squeeze in an Eglington shot cum centre instead of putting it into the side netting from a very acute angle.
Jones Got Top Marks
Outstanding in the Everton side was centre-half Jones. He never made an error from start to finish. Tansy and Moore occasionally found Tait and Mitchell a bit of a handful, but when they were beaten they were so quick to recover that it was rare any real danger threatened O’Neill’s charge. Lello and Farrell were equally good. Whether backing up the forwards in the first half or clamping down on the Newcastle attackers in the second portion they played a big part in the victory. Parker and Wainwright were not so prominent after the turn round simply because they had to spend so much time lending a hand in defence. Take on the full ninety minutes I though Eglington the most consistent forward. The two Harris boys did many good things and Jimmy kept Stokoe on the alert the whole time. Both, however, will do better than this when they have improved their ability to get the ball under control a little more smartly and to hit their first time shots more accurately and strongly. Newcastle missed Milburn in the middle. There was too much fiddling in all the inside positions. Mitchell also was tarred with the same brush, and times without number the forwards got bunched far too close together. Despite some Everton passes which went astray the Blues found one another more surely than the opposition. The Newcastle defence was not in the same class as Everton’s. It was spread-eagled far more easily and though Scoular was a hard-working half back he did not display the same sure touch in distribution or anticipation which used to characterize him. Hannah’s shooting throughout was erractic. He had innumerable attempts but hardly one on the target. Tait looked the best of a very ordinary and disjointed line.
October 6, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Former Everton centre half Tommy Jones will return to Mrseyside when he captains Pwilhell at New Brighton. He may well prove the stumbling block to further Rakers’ progress, though the Wallasey team are much improved.
ARSENAL AT GOODISON
October 7, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Gunners’ Glamour is On the Wane
Although thirteen out of sixteen newspaper selectors give Everton to beat Arsenal tomorrow, and the remainder suggest a draw, I should not be surprised if the home side fine victory harder to achieve than the general opinion appears to concede. The Gunners are having an anxious time just now, and Manager Tom Whittaker must be more perturbed about the future than usual but with all their faults Arsenal stroke me as a side likely to do better in the near future, I hope they don’t start on the recovery until tomorrow, for Everton, though nicely placed, could do with the points to prevent undue also later and more vital stage of the campaign. It is unusual to find Arsenal “down among the dead men,” like many other clubs, however, they have suffered the steady disintegration of their brilliant former post-war side, and the transitional period is providing several problems. So far they have taken only seven points from ten matches and have yet to win their first away game. They have been beaten at Blackpool, Bolton, Tottenham and Sunderland, in each instance by a margin of two or more goals. The only partial away success came when they drew 2-2 against Manchester City six weeks ago. Even at home they have not been like the Arsenal of old, though Portsmouth are the only side to win at Highbury. While much of the glamour has temporarily left them, their resources are such that one hardly visualizes Arsenal remaining in a lowly position for long. Not only have they the largest full-time scouting staff of any club in the country, but as the ambition of so many good players is to join the Arsenal staff, they do not normally find it unduly difficult to get the men they want once they find a club willing to part.
Already this season Manager Tom Whitaker has signed two new forwards in Tiddy and Nutt, from Cardiff City, both of whom stepped straight into the team at Sunderland the day after their signing a fortnight ago. Tommy Lawton, who surrendered the leadership of the attack last week to Roper is still remembered with after for the great displays he put up for the Blues in pre-war and war-time football. Despite being now in the veteran stage; Lawton is still a dangerous leader, and is the Gunners’ top marksman with six goals in eight appearances. Nobody else has scored more than two and only Lishman and Roper have done that. Altogether Arsenal have scored only 12 goals in ten outings while 20 have been scored against them. No sign there of the old Arsenal cast-iron defence. The Gunners made a rather unusual experiment last week when Jin Fotheringham the tall Scottish centre-half who hit the headlines so often after making his debut last season was omitted from the side and Cliff Holton who had begun the campaign at centre forward was tried in the pivotal berth. From all accounts Holton put up a good show and blotted out a former Everton favourite in Dave Hickson, who still is without a goal for Aston Villa after six appearances. An absentee these days from the Arsenal defence is Barnes the former Welsh international captain and team manager. Arsenal have generously released him from his contract to take a job with the B.B.C so far the Gunners despite their disappointing results have made comparatively few changes, Keeley, Evans, Goring (now figuring at right half) and Bowen still had ever-present certificates after last week’s game. Evans is the Liverpool-born boy and former Ellesmere Port player who made his debut for the Gunners two years ago, and has been a regular in the first team since. The biggest problem has been on the left flank where no fewer than four players have already been tired. The signing of Nutt looks as likely to solve matters there, and though there is a long way to go yet, I shall be rather surprised if Arsenal are still in the same lowly position three months hence. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
THIS WAS A CASE OF THE GOODISON BLUES
October 8, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Bright Start But Dreary Finish
Everton 1, Arsenal 1
Not a great game by any stretch of the imagination. Two saves by O’Neill in the first half were out of this world, and had much to do with Everton’s half-share. The second half was uncommonly devoid of football combination in fact, it was nothing like former meetings between Everton and Arsenal.
Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell, Jones, and Lello, half-backs; Harris (B), Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Arsenal; Kelsey, goal; Willis and Evans, backs; Goring, Fotheringham, and Horlton, half-backs; Tiddy, Bloomfield, Roper, Lishman, and Nutty, forwards. Referee; Mr. A. Murdock (Sheffield). Although Arsenal are not the great side they once were they can still attract a big crowd, and I would be surprised if there were not over 50,000 people present when the game started in brilliant sunshine. A faulty clearance by Moore looked ominous but the right back made a brilliant recovery and redeemed himself. Nutt then came close in lured O’Neill from his lair and put the ball into the Everton goalmouth, but it was cleaned. From a Jones clearance Wainwright and Harris almost prized open the Arsenal defence and Kelsey was lucky not to be called upon. Roper, who is renowned for his snap-shooting burst through and O’Neill, did well to turn his effort over the bar. Fotheringham and more than once foiled the Everton inside forwards, but neither he nor any other Arsenal man could prevent a goal when Brian Harris moved the ball inside to Farrell, who pushed it upwards between two men to Wainwright. Wainwright with little time to decide what he would do, pushed his toe and the ball and guided it safely into the Arsenal goal. Kelsey seemed a little late in coming out to narrow the angle Lishman tried his luck with a shot but was of the mark and though Jones was limping as the result of an earlier injury he was not prevented from making some very sound tackles and clearances.
Harris Was Offside
Tiddy who had not had much scope because play was mostly on the other wing, showed that he could be dangerous given the opportunity and O’Neill had to field an angular shot from the outside right. The two Harrises got together in an effort to outwit the Arsenal defence and then Parker made a header across goal though Harris was obviously offside when he shot into the net. Arsenal’s equalizer came as a result of a free kick taken by Willis who out a long lob into the Everton goalmouth. The ball was a shade too high for Jones to head, but just right for Lishman who had moved up in anticipation and headed the ball beyond O’Neill from close range.
O’Neill came out to field a long ball from the rear but failed to gather it. The result was a very tense moment for the Everton defenders. Jimmy Harris found the ball coming badly to him and in his effort to get it under control he put it too far out of his reach and the wrong way so that the Arsenal defence was not greatly troubled. It was lucky for Everton that there was nobody up to receive Nutt’s centre which passed across the Everton goal face. Another free kick to Everton was non-productive and then the Arsenal came along with two good shots the first one by Lishman which brought out a magnificent save by O’Neill. Lishman had out speeded Farrell and ran the ball close in but O’Neill turned his shot over the bar. O’Neill came along with another save, not quite as good but a very good one as Holton’s shot came as a complete surprise and I doubt whether O’Neill caught sight of it until it was almost passing inside the upright. He dived desperately and pushed the ball out. Lello and Parker nearly regained the lead for Everton when the latter making a short pass moved in, but Kelsey came out and smothered the Everton man’s shot. the two Harrises again joined hands and produced a heady opening for Parker but the direction was not accurate Kelsey made a solid punch away from a curling B. Harris centre despite the fact that he was harassed by two Everton forwards, Roper found himself clear, of all Everton opposition with the exception of O’Neill. It was without doubt an excellent chance for the Arsenal centre forward but he shot straight at O’Neill, who was delighted to have the opportunity of saving. With one minute to the interval the Arsenal had their slice of luck when Fotheringham shot his foot out to an Eglington shot which Kelsey had missed and kicked it away to safely.
Half-time; Everton 1, Arsenal 1.
Everton went in to attack immediately on the resumption and a free kick taken by Moore produced a corner. This was put across nicely by Eglington and eventually the ball came to Jimmy Harris who slipped it nicely across the Arsenal goal face but it was too fast for Eglington to collect. At the other end Tansey challenged Roper so that his goalkeeper could prevent Roper getting his head to the ball. At this point the Arsenal defence were tested rather strongly and J. Harris came along with a crack-a-jack shot which lacked only one thing – the right direction. Nevertheless it was a grand try.
Wainwright got a nasty bump on the head when he and Holton went up for the ball together but play went on and shortly after the referee had a word or two to say to Moore after he had a slight tussle with Nutt, who went off the field. Jimmy Harris was full of ideas, and having beaten Evans he was just about to slip away when he had the ball taken from him by Tiddy. Nutt came back about two minutes later, limping, and took over the centre forward position which seems to be the favoured spot for injured players, these days. There was nothing thrilling about the football at this stage, although Brian Harris was responsible for another corner, but the flag kick was swept away by Kelsey. Another corner taken by Eglington was also successfully dealt with Everton were doing most of the attacking and a Jones-Wainwright-Eglington move looked as though it might produce until Eglington put his centre behind.
It wanted a goal to liven things up as the play had become very scratchy. The promise of a goal, however was not very good for although the game had been in progress this half at least 20 minutes, no one had a shot on the target. Harris had a shot blocked and Wainwright one turned away for a corner. The crowd were simply crying for a little more action, and were pleased when young Brian Harris made a good shot which Kelsey clutched to his body to save. Nutt, after a spell at centre-forward found the position unsuitable, so he went to the outside right position. Admitted that Arsenal were handicapped by the injury to Nutt but this side had anything but the Old Arsenal look about it. In fact this half had been devoid of any football movement. Fotherington once ballooned the ball high in the air, and Kelsey had to come out and knuckle it away as it dropped. As far as the attack, Everton were having more of the balance.
Jimmy Harris by sheer persistency pulled a ball back for Brian, who successfully got it down to what he considered the best shooting position but then scooped the ball over the bar. Moore, who had played a distinguished part for Everton started a movement which almost produced a goal, only a top-class save by Kelsey, prevented it. Everton were undoubtedly trying hard for that extra point and they quite often had the Gunners defence in a bit of a tangle. The Blues certainly deserved a goal when Eglington cleverly outwitted Fotherington, took a few steps forward, and then, put in a great shot which hit the far upright and rebounded back into play.
Straight after this the Arsenal carried play into the Everton goalmouth and as O’Neill went up to save a centre he was vigorously charged by Holton. Fortunately he fell outside the upright and was obviously annoyed at Holten’s treatment so much so that he threw the ball at him. O’Neill had to receive attention and then it was Kelsey’s turn to get into difficulties after he had failed to hold a ball but by diving backwards he was able to regain possession and clear. Final; Everton 1, Arsenal 1. Official Attendance, 47,794.
STOKE RES V EVERTON RES
October 8, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Stoke Res;- Hall, goal; Bournt, and Bridwell, backs; Asprey, Andrews, and half-backs; Baynor, half-backs; Coleman, Glover, Watson, Ward and Bevan, forwards. Everton Res; Leyland, goal; J. Parkes, and Rankin, backs; Donovan, Woods and Melville, half-backs; McNamara, Thomas, Lewis, Vizard and Mayers, forwards. Everton took the lead when Thomas headed in a good centre by Mayers. Stoke equalized after 17 minutes when Clowse connected with a centre from Coleman. Both sides tried hard for the advantage and after 24 minutes a shot from Coleman was diverted by a defender past Leyland. Both goals had escaped but the defences held. Half-time; Stoke City Res 2, Everton Res 1.
THE JOY OF AN AWAY VICTORY AND MORE TO COME
October 9, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Everton’s win at Newcastle was achieved on a ground which since the war has not proved very happy hunting for the Blues. I had never previously been on a winning side at St. James’s Park, although Everton on one occasion have drawn 1-1 with the Magpies since my arrival at Goodison Park. When a team visits an opponent’s ground on a number of occasions without tasting the fruits of victory, I think when they eventually chalk up a win it seems as if it has been well worth the long wait. There are a few grounds in the First Division on which I as a member of the Everton team, have yet to be on the winning side and I hope shall see the day before I finish when I shall have assisted the Blues to win on every First Division ground. Top of the list comes Fratton Park and Highbury.
Everyone among the Everton party was very pleased with our 2-1 win over the Cup-holders and what is more important the manner in which it was achieved. Once again the lads proved that there are very few, if any, sides in the league who have the edge on the Blues from the point of view of fighting spirit, as once again we had to fight back to overcome the handicap of being a goal down early in the game.
With a bit of luck and more accurate finishing Everton might have changed round with a lead of three or four goals in the second half. Newcastle with the aid of a very strong breeze came more into the game, and tested the Everton defence to the full. We had a few anxious moments before the final whistle. I think we well deserved our hard-earned victory. I should like to pay a special tribute to the referee, the one-armed Mr. Bond, whom I consider one of the most efficient men in the business. He has that happy knack of being in complete command of the situation without appearing too domineering or aggressive. An incident happened in the second half which further enhanced my high opinion of Mr. Bond. Bobby Mitchell’s shot struck George Hannah and went outside, whereupon Mr. Bond awarded a corner in the belief that the ball had struck me. I naturally appealed but he stuck to his decision. Shortly afterwards the referee came to me and admitted that he had made a mistake in awarding a corner. How many other officials would admit such an error? When Everton got off to a very bad start to the present season, I received many letters criticizing the side and outlining the many things wrong with the team. During the last few weeks, when the Blues have won three, out of their last four games the letters have been few and far between. This would seem to indicate that the Blues’ recent form must be pleasing those fans who like to put pen to paper when things are not going well with their favourities. However, another bad display or a bad spell by the Blues and I suppose the letters will come rolling in again. I always welcome letters that offer constructive criticism but all anonymous ones obviously written by ignorant people, immediately find they way into the waste paper basket.
I was interested to hear Gordon Pirie on television refer to alleged remarks appearing in the national press from time to time supposed to have been made by him about attacking records &c. Something similar applies to Soccer players. Week after week you see in some paper remarks made by players after a game. Some of these may be true, but I remember the year Everton gained promotion when after four different games, I read quotations in the Press which were supposed to have been made by me after these games, notwithstanding that nobody even approached me for a statement. I don’t suppose it does any great harm, but it is something a little embarrassing for a player to read an alleged statement which he never made.
AFTER MY FIRST GOAL AT GOODISON I WAS ON AIR
October 8, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Jimmy Harris
In An Interview with Rangers
One of the questions frequently put to me during recent weeks has been “How does I feel to lead a forward line in First Division football? I can tell you in a couple of sentences. It is a great experience, but rather a nerve-wracking one. There is so much you wish to achieve that you are seldom really satisfied with your display when the final whistle goes. At least, that is how I have felt during recent weeks. Although my ambition has always been to play for Everton’s first team, my opportunity came a little sooner than I had anticipated, due to the transfer of Dave Hickson to Aston Villa. Actually, of course, I came into the senior eleven while Dave was still on the Goodison books. He and I had always been good friends, and I know there was no ill-feeling on his part when I was preferred to him for the third game of the season, in which we were away to Burnley. I confess that at the time I was very glad my senior debut was to take place in an away match. It gave me an opportunity to get the ordeal over under slightly less tense conditions than would have been the case had it been at Goodison Park, although we had quite good following of supporters at Turf Moor. You must remember that before turning out against Burnley I had never previously played in front of a hugh crowd in a competitive match. Believe me it is quite an ordeal. My only other previous outing of any importance was when I figured in the Everton team which played Sodingen the German touring side, last spring.
Talk-Over Worth While
That game was vastly different to a Football League match. Though naturally we wanted to beat the German lads, it was not a matter of extremely vital consequence whether we did so or not. While everybody, of course, put forth his greatest effort, this was after all, only a “friendly”. A football League game is very different. ‘The result of every League game is of a vital consequence. Every point counts, right from the start of the season and though the players realize that they cannot win every game, there is always a keen feeling of disappointment at defeat. Even the fact that we have been beaten on our merit does not soften the blow very much. I have found, however, that defeat often seems to spur the lads on to greater efforts the following week. That, indeed is one of the many things which has struck me since coming into the first eleven. A reverse or two does not lead to any despondency or feeling of pessimism. Everyman –win, lose or draw –is thoroughly discussed at the first opportunity, afterwards with our manager, Mr. Cliff Britton, sitting as the “Coroner” and investigator. There is nothing of the popular conception of a big football “boss” about Mr. Britton. He is very quiet spoken and sympathetic and has given me great encouragement. Having been a star player himself for so many years he fully realizes all the snags. He knows how often something which is theoretically right and proper to attempt just does not “come off.” At all the “inquests” I have so far attended not a single player has been made to feel a “culprit.” I’ve had some of my own errors both of omission and commission brought out into the light of day. But not in one single instance have I otherwise than that it was to my own benefit to have them thus analyzed. I have already learned much from this system. I realize only too well that I have still a great deal yet to learn about football. I was most interested to read in the article in the “Echo” by Joe Mercer only a fortnight ago that the Sheffield United manager feels that even at his age and after such a long and brilliant career, he doesn’t know it all. That being so, I should want my own bumps reading. If I took the attitude that nobody could teach me anything. I’ve also come to another conclusion. That is the fact that there is no substitute for hard work if you want to reach the top. Like most ambitious young players, I have read the life stories of famous stars such as Stanley Matthews, Billy Wright, Tommy Lawton, Frank Swift, and many others. Running through all these I found one common theme. They are all agreed that only practice makes perfect, and that even the most brilliant and accomplished player must keep an practicing all the time if he is to retain his best form. But to return to answering the question with which I first commenced this article. Although I had a reasonably easy “breaking-in” against Burnley at Turf Moor, I still had to face the ordeal of my first home appearance in the senior side, which was against West Bromwich Albion on August 31. While we waited in the dressing room for the signal to take the field I felt as though somebody had opened a stop-tap and let all the energy drain out of me. Although I hadn’t long to sit around after I had stripped and donned my football tags, every minute seemed like an hour. Our skipper Peter Farrell, realizing this did his best to buck me up and take my mind off things. So did several other of the experienced players.
Maybe remembering how they felt under similar circumstances they knew just what I was going through. I can tell you that the last fifteen minutes before a young debutant trots out on to the field are anything but pleasant. I had the “wind-up” properly. The pre-match kick about helps to relieve your mind a bit. Then as soon as the whistle goes, you lose almost all that nasty “butterflies in the stomach feeling” and buckle down to the job in hand for all your are worth. I was fortunate to make a reasonable good show against West Bromwich and to get a goal. You’ve no idea how happy I was that Wednesday evening I went home to Birkenhead treading on air all the way, and next morning I eagerly devoured every morning paper I could lad my hands on. It was encouraging to find that most of the critics gave me a fairly good write up. Far more encouraging than that, however, was the effect of the “Goodison Roar,” which let not only me, but all the rest of the lads know that the club’s supporters were behind us and doing their utmost to spur us on. So many experienced players of many years’ service have written about the invaluable help which they derive from this knowledge that no words are really required from a novitiate like me to hammer they point home. But I would like to say how much it helped me that night, and to thank our supporters for their cheers. All the pre-match nervous feeling had gone. I felt inspired to do my best to the last ounce of ability and effort in me. “You can’t let these down,” I said to myself.” They are counting on you and the rest of the team to give them victory.” You’ve no idea how that gives you encouragement, hope and determination. It meant everything to me. In many respects I have already been fortunate in my career it was originally an inside forward; but Mr. Britton took me aside one day and said that he had come to the conclusion that I might do better at centre forward. That was soon after I had been demolished from the Army. But for that switch I might still have been waiting for my big chance. The other direction in which I have been fortunate is that fate led me to throw in my lot with Everton. In my view Everton are the best club in the country. Every player on the books, from the youngest to the oldest, gets good treatment.
I first joined the Goodison club as an amateur at the age of 15 when I was playing for a junior side in Wirral known as Bebington Hawks. I had also been chosen to assist both Birkenhead Schoolboys and Cheshire Schoolboys and an Everton director, who had seen me in a match for the latter, arranged with Mr. Britton for me to have trials at Goodison Park. Apparently I must have shaped reasonably well in these, for I was offered the chance of signing amateur forms, I could hardly believe my good fortune. From a very early age I had felt that it ever I proved good enough to make a living at football there would be no club I should like better than Everton. Almost out of the blue –an appropriate phrase in this case –came the opportunity which I had dreamed about. Need say that I jumped at it like a shot? At the age of 18 went into the Army. By then I was part-time professional, and was serving my time as a machine minder in Birkenhead printing works. Incidentally, I would like to express here my appreciation of the consideration which is extended to young players by Everton. Everybody on the staff is encouraged to take up an apprenticeship to some trade while he is young enough. Our manager and directors firmly believe that it is in a boy’s best interest that he should have a second string to his bow in case he fails to make the football grade. After I had done my two year’s “stint” in the Royal Tank Corp, most of which I spent in Germany, I came back to Everton early in 1954, to carry on as a part-timer professional until I had completed my apprenticeship to the printing trade. As soon as I had done so I become a full time player. This was only in February of this year, so that I have been extremely fortunate to find myself given the chance to make good in First Division football so quickly.
THIS WAS ARSENAL IN NAME ALONE
October 10, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Ian Hargreaves
Everton 1, Arsenal 1
The meeting of such famous clubs usually produces atmosphere akin to that of a cup-tie, even when as on this occasion, neither team have been enjoying the best of fortune. It is, therefore disappointing to report that, after a promising start, the match gradually deteriorated until many spectators could scarce raise a cheer. For this both teams were equally to blame. If Everton depressed their supporters because they could not take advantage of the openings created by their skilful approach work, Arsenal’s negative defensive tactics were often infuriating. Fotheringham and his colleagues seemed content to send the ball anywhere away from goal when under pressure, and twice the centre half pulled down passes with his hands when unable to reach them with his head. That sort of football may help to prevent goals, but it does little to provide entertainment. Everton, on the other hand flattered to deceive. Prompted by Farrell and the ubiquitous Jones, their forwards combined well and frequently made ground with swift passing movements only to fall at the crucial point –in the penalty area. Time and again half chances were missed, and though some of these due to inexperience of the two young Harrises, far more were the result of indecision. Eglington and Parker, in particular seemed unwilling to try shots and preferred to let someone else add the finishing touches. In consequence, Kelsey, though making splendid saves from Parker and B. Harris and seeing one shot from Eglington rebound from a post, was rarely troubled.
It seems to be the fashion these days to play footballers in position other than those to which they are accustomed Arsenal certainly lead the way in this respect. Although they have no fewer than four centre forwards on their books with first team experience, they prefer to field an outside left, Roper, in that position, and their recent capture Nutt in Roper’s usual place. Two of their former centre forwards, Holton and Goring add their size and weight to the half-back line, while another, Lishman, gives Roper moral support at inside left. He is assisted in this by young Bloomfield, who has had considerable experience at – yes centre forward! It came as no surprise that when Nutt was injured in a tackle shortly after half time he was immediately moved, first to centre forward and then to outside right. Tiddy taking his place at outside left. As might be expected of a team of centre forwards Arsenal had plenty of power and energy but precious little craft. In their palmier days they always had at least one really clever ball player to create openings, but there was no sign of one on Saturday. Most of their best moves were inspired by the two new wingers, and until he was injured Nutt was their most dangerous forward. Holton looked like a fish out of water at left half, made two or three runs in his best vein, and nearly put his side in front in the first few minutes with a tremendous shot that grazed the bar, but only Roper seemed able to follow his example. For most of the second half, with Nutt a passenger –and remaining on the field for reasons known only to himself the Arsenal attack ceased to function as a unit and confined its efforts to isolated, individual raids. An early goal by Wainwright had been cancelled out by a Lishman header from a free kick and the visitors were clearly content to return home with a point.
Much has been written about Everton’s two young forwards, the Harrises, and there is little doubt that given good fortune they will be an ornament to the team. Though inexperienced, both displayed flashes of brilliance, and showed a welcome desire to use the ball constructively. J. Harris at centre forward, had the better of his duel with the massive Fotheringham, and would have given him a far worse time had he received more passes on the ground. It is useless for wingers to send over high centres, when Harris is conceding so much in height. The Everton left wing had an off day and generally failed to tie up with the remainder of the attack. Eglington though unfortunate not to score a winning goal in the dying minutes –his shot his the post with Kelsey beaten –was often able to out-pace Wills but little came of his efforts and he as guilty of indecision on several occasions when a quick shot might have brought a goal. In defence, Everton were sound and constructive with O’Neill a safe and often brilliant goalkeeper. When Arsenal did break through he was ready, and two of his saves, from Lishman and Roper were extraordinary. Unfortunately, crowds do not pay to watch defensive play, however, skilful. They want goals and thrills and in the second half at least these were few and far between. Perhaps Arsenal will soon regain their lost ability, but after Saturday’s match one of their own supporters was heard to groan, “If Alex James saw this he’d turn in his grave.”
STOKE CITY RES 2, EVERTON RES 3
October 10, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
A late rally by Everton which brought goals from Donovan and Thomas in the last quarter of an hour gave them victory. Thomas had scored in the first five minutes bit Clowes and Coleman replied for Stoke before the interval. Everton’s attack was below form until late in the game.
A FOOTBALL “MYSTERY”
October 10, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Problem of Two Different Halves
One of football’s minor mysteries is the frequency with which the two halves of a game provide such remarkable contrasts. In several months I have seen this season the second half has fallen far behind the first portion in entertainment value. It was so at Goodison Park in Everton’s tussle with Arsenal. Up to the interval we saw some quite attractive football. Afterwards it was poor and undistinguished stuff with neither side providing even a remote glimpse of the polished football which used to be associated with them. Scrappy and haphazard play simples kicking and occasional exhibitions of pretty temper made one ponder on the past glories of two clubs whose reputations for high-class soccer were outstanding and maybe at the paucity of what was set before the paying customers in this latest meeting. To some extent the same was ruined by the injury to Nutt soon after the interval following a tackle by Moore. It forced Arsenal to operate with four forwards and to fall back manly on defence though the Gunners defensive system these days is not as immaculate as it used to e it was sufficiently solid and workmanlike to present an impregnable front to forwards whose finishing let much to be desired.
Considering the extent of their second half pressure, the sum total of Everton’s scoring attempts was disappointing. Jimmy Harris had two fierce shots just off the mark and another saved by Kelsey while Brian Harris shot straight at the goalkeeper once and tested him more severely with another. The best effort was one by Eglington which came back into play off the post. That was lucky let off for the visitors. Apart from this Kelsey’s most difficult job during Everton’s supremacy was to save a header which Holton had put back to him as a supposed safely first measure. It nearly came adrift. The modern defence in depth system revolving round a “stopper” centre half and based on the principle of delaying the tackle until the last possible moment is slowly but surely robbing football of its more attractive aspects. The penalty area becomes almost as crowed as New Brighton sands on a bank holiday, so that he proposition of shots which strike defenders is greater than those with which the goalkeeper is called upon to deal. This negative and purely destructive type of play becomes deadly dull to watch. When as on Saturday you also have forwards who too frequently prefer an extra pass t a first time shot it is still more disappointing.
Generous to the “Enemy”
Apart from Everton’s neatly worked goal, scored by Wainwright at the 14th minute, the most pleasing incident was when Holton a converted centre forward who is an even better wing half dashed through the home defence in a brilliant individual bursts of over half the length of the field and just missed the target with a sizzling shot. He got the day’s best round of applause which was generously repeated when he did an almost similar thing in the second half. The two Eire F.A selectors who had come over from Dublin to watch Everton’s three internationals must have had rather mixed feelings. It was not exactly a joy day for either Farrell or Eglington and though neither was seriously at fault they can do much better. O’Neill’s two miraculous saves from close range against Roper and Lishman in the opening phase of the game were among the day’s best teams. Afterwards he was lucky once or twice. Lishman’s equalizing goal also had a tinge of fortune about it, for the free kick taken by Wills inside the visiting half was just too high for Jones to reach but Lishman had judged the situation to a nicely and deserves full credit for so smartly cashing in on it.
Too Much Air-Ball
It was a pity that frayed tempers, of which we have been happily free prior to Saturday, should have necessitated referee Murdoch pouring oil on troubled waters on a couple of occasions in the first half. O’Neill later took such exception to a charge by Holton that he threw the ball at him which is not like O’Neill. Fotheringham also fell foul of the crowd for his treatment of Jimmy Harris on a couple of occasions, Fotherington probably didn’t worry over much about this so long as Everton as they did far too frequently kept putting the ball down, the middle high in the air. To do so meant making a present of it to the lanky pivot every time. Yet it was evident in the very early stages that Harris had the beating of his opponent most times when the ball was on the turf. Harris, I thought played extremely well. His namesake on the right flank was not quite so good, while Parker was seldom in the picture. Wainwright had a good first half, but the ball did not run for him later. Jones and Moore were excellent in defence, with Tansey not far behind. Jones’s performance was all the more meritorious because he pulled a muscle early on and played under difficulties. Arsenal look to have found the right place for Holton. He stood out for his constructive work and willingness to have a go on his own and was their most dangerous marksman in the first half. In the second portion O’Neill had nothing but a watching brief. He did not have a single real shot to save. Lishman and Roper were the best of the visiting attack. This much-changed Arsenal front line might have tested Everton had it remained at full strength throughout for there were times when it moved very sweetly and progressively. Unfortunately the injury to Nutt completely disorganized them.
HARD LUCK FOR EGLINGTON
October 12, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Not only Everton supporters but football followers everywhere will note with regret that the name of Tommy Eglington does not appear in the Eire team to meet Yugoslavia at Dalymout Park, Dublin today week. His place at outside left is taken by a new “cap” in Tuony of Shamrock Rovers and thus –for the time being at least – Eglington sticks on the 24 mark in his total appearances for his native country. One more and he will qualify for the silver Sharmock memnto which Eire awards for a quarter century of international outings, Johnny Caggy, Con Martin and Peter Farrell have reached that figure, and Farrell is to receive his award after Wednesday’s match. O’Neill and Farrell are to play for Eire.
EVERTON TAKE ON ARMY
October 12, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton renew rivalry with their Army friends at Goodison Park this afternoon (kick-off 3 p.m.). For years Everton sent a team to play the Army at Aldershot but now the Army come to Goodison where a greater attendance is possible. The match is especially attractive to those who cannot see League football on Saturdays, especially as Everton are fielding such a strong team and the Army side includes so many young players of top-class. Teams;- Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Woods, Lello; Harris (B), Thomas, Harris (J), Fielding, Eglington. Army; Hodgkinson (Sheffield Utd); Foilkes (Manchester Utd), Shaw (Sheffield Utd); Anderson (Sunderland), Smith (Birmingham), Woods (Tottenham); Punton (Newcastle), Mason (Wales), Dunmore (Tottenham), Woosman (Leyton Orient), Ormand (Queen’s Park), or Mayers (Everton).
EVERTON SECRET’S OUT
October 12, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
One of the best kept soccer secrets is out at last. It relates to the taking of film shots of Everton’s home matches for exhibition when Manager Britton gets down each week to analyzing the moves of the game. This is the “secret” in which I referred in a special story in these Notes on August 4 last. The system had been used by Everton during three months of last season but manager Britton was anxious to keep it quite as long as possible which was why after sitting on the story for a long time I agreed to write about it in a roundabout way without disclosing the club or the exact nature of the innovation. I had no desire to queer Everton pitch if they felt that way about it. As I said at the time, however it as obvious that sooner or later it must leak out. The surprising thing was that the club had been able to keep it dark so long. “It is hoped that it will eventually produce results which other methods have failed to achieve” was what I said two months ago “though if demands time and patience. The manager concerned wishes to reap the maximum benefit for his own club before others get on to the idea.” The fact that Everton have been carrying on with the scheme all this season seems to indicate that Manager Britton is satisfied with results. After last week’s second half display there may be some caustic comments but one poor half proves nothing and something may be gained by letting the players see where they went wrong in these disappointing occasions.
FEW FINE POINTS AT EVERTON
October 13, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 1, Army 2
What might have been an exhibition game of the finer arts of football turned out to be just another hard and dour match, in which victory appeared to be of greater moment to both sides than the standard of football served up to 4,891 spectators. Everton had the better of matters in the first half and led at the interval by a Jimmy Harris goal scored at the forty third minute in the second half the Army got on level terms through Dunmore at the fifty-third minute, while Mason (Wolves) the finest forward on view , got the winner for the visitors eight minutes later. Everton’s fault was the one which has dogged them for so long, namely, inability to round off much good midfield work in the appropriate manner in front of goal. Apart from Harris’s goal, the finest shot of the first half was one by half-back Lello. The Army came to their best in the second half but they were equally remiss in front of goal. Everton put up a desperate fight for the equalizing goal, but could not make it against an Army defence in which Foukes and Anderson were outstanding.
Fielding was excellent in his control of the ball and distribution of passes with Harris (J) always an energetic trier and a source of anxiety to centre half Smith. Like the rest of his colleagues, however, his finishing lacked accuracy. Everton well served by their defence, and though Woods occasionally found the speedy Dunmore a bit of a problem, the honours were by no means entirely on the Army man’s side. Everton might have done better had some of their forwards been less eager. Time after time they fell into the Army’s off-side trap. Though there were occasionally some nice combined moves from both sides as an exhibition the game fell considerably below the standard which might have been expected in a match in which nothing vital was at stake.
BOLTON VISIT BURNDEN PARK
October 14, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton, away to Bolton Wanderers, will not lack support for several thousand of the Goodison Park club’s keenest enthusiasts will be making the short journey to Burnden Park. Bolton have shown much better form of late and now stand sixth in the table, with 13 points from their 10 matches. Of these 13 points, seven have come from away games, in which they have been beaten only once. Sunderland and Charlton have defeated them at Burnden Park, but Cardiff City, Arsenal, and Wolverhmapton Wanderers have returned home pointless. The Wanderers’ only draw was against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Lofthouse’s goal against Spurs, last week brought the total for the season up to 10 which is more like the Lofthouse of old. He has a lead of six over Dennis Stevens, the next nearest, who has done so well at inside right that the Wanderers allowed their former captain Willie Moir, to go to Stockport County at the end of last month. A notable absentee from the Bolton line-up this term has been international Harold Hassell who is still out of action with a knee injury sustained on New Year’s Day, in his place, the Trotters have switched Ray Parry from outside left. This has opened the way for the return of Ralph Gubbins, whose two goals at White Hart Lane last Saturday were his first of the season. Prior to that there has been a lack of scoring power in the Wanderers extreme wing positions for in the other flank Douglas Holden has not scored since the opening day of the season. Apart from an alteration at right back where Ball’s place after the first two games has been taken by Hartle Bolton’s whole rearguard has played unchanged so far. The uncompromising Barrass at centre half, and Lancashire cricketer Grieves in goal have been two outstanding members of this department. But Bolton without Stan Hanson looks a bit strange. The old, old story of forward failure to cash in on reasonable –and sometimes very easy –scoring chances still sticks to Everton. They might have had a point at Portsmouth they should have won more handsomely at Newcastle they ought to have beaten Arsenal last week. As manager Cliff Britton he said so often. “That’s football.” So it is but nevertheless it is somewhat disappointing. It has gone on too long. Another fall from grace in evidence recently has been the increasingly tendency to boot the ball high in the air Everton are at their best when they keep it on the turf. That applies particularly if they are to get the best out of the speed and promise of Jimmy Harris. Bolton W;- Grives; Hartle, Banks; Wheeler, Barrass, Edwards; Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Gubbins.
ON THE TURF, PLEASE
October 15, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton introduce at Bolton the twenty –year-old right winger, Derek Mayers in place of Harris (B), Jimmy Harris the young Everton centre forward who has done brilliantly since he came into the team following Hickson’s transfer, faces another massive centre half in Matt Barrass. Harris co-forwards (and the half-backs behind them) will serve their side well if they keep the ball out of the air where Barrass height and weight can make things very unprofitable for centre forwards whose size puts them at a disadvantage. Everton’s away record is so good and Harris’s potential is so unlimited –even the pro Hickson brigade are now agreed on that – there are good chances of success, though Bolton’s side bursts with competence in every department. If only for their Cup semi-final defeat against Bolton, at Manchester. Everton have an old score to wipe off. Everything suggests the game will be uncompromising. If Mayers fills the right wing position well he will solved a persistent Everton problem. Bolton Wanderers;- Grives; Hartle, Banks; Wheeler, Barrass, Edwards; Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Gubbins. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones, Lello; Myers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
O’NEILL PENALTY SAVE AS MUCH AS HARRIS GOAL EARNED A POINT
October 15, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Bolton 1, Everton 1
Everton’s away record is gaining in strength. They were well worthy of their point at Burnden Park today in a game which was satisfactory in every way. The goalkeeping of both Grieves and O’Neill was magnificent and a draw was a very fair result. The first half was perhaps the better, but throughout there was plenty to keep one’s eye glued to the game.
Bolton Wanderers;- Grives, goal; Hartles and Banks, backs; Wheeler, Barrass (captain), and Edwards, half-backs; Holdens, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, and Gubbins, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Jones and Lello, half-backs; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Rhodes (York). Burden Park has never looked better, but there was a blustery wind. The Wanderers kicked off towards the railway end goal and soon won a corner. This was speedily dealt with. It was cut and thrust and Lello seemed to have a chance to shoot but preferred to offer the chance to others and so a good opportunity went begging. There was one little hot affair in front of the Bolton goal. Harris being mainly responsible for he slipped between two defenders and lobbed the ball in the goalmouth but only gained a corner. Hartle was spoken to for a rather vigorous charge on Eglington who had to receive attention. A corner, made by Lofthouse caused Everton some worry and couple of shots were cannoned out before Holden slammed the ball over the bar. The catching of both goalkeepers had been magnificent. This was natural from Grieves who is the Lancashire cricketer. One of O’Neill’s most difficult tasks was to save a hard and fast back pass by Lello. Parker who had dropped back to help in defence collected the ball and then with a cut pass pushed it through to Harris who swung his right foot and made a shot of tremendous pace which flashed outside.
The pace was terrific and Jones and Lofthouse had some rare duels with honours even so far. The England centre forward once cleverly beat the Everton man in the air but his colleagues on the left did not respond as they might have done. Tansey made a desperate tackle to prevent Lofthouse scoring and at this stage the Wanderers were putting on immense pressure. Mayers was the staring point of a fluent Everton movement when he swept across field a lovely ball to Eglington but the incident ended with a throw-in. Jones best Lofthouse and from the clearance the Wanderers defence was nearly caught napping when Harris’s speed almost proved too much for Barrass. The latter’s experience told in the end. Again Harris raced round Barrrass and had not Grieves realized what was happening the Everton leader might have taken a goal. Harris was like greased lightning but Grives ran out of goal and Harris’s shot crashed up against him. Out to the right Harris collected a ball, mastered it and then centred close in. Both Grieves and Wainwright went for the ball with goalkeeper winning the day. It was soon after this that Bolton scored and it was a goal that would not have been scored once in a million times. Holden was the man who made this goal possible for his pass to Stevens was well judged and timely. Stevens was fully 25 yards out when he let fly. Whether it was intended for a centre or a shot I would not care to say, but the ball hit the far post before setting in the net, at the 32nd minute. This was bad luck but Everton did not seem unduly upset, and Lello had a great shot saved y Grieves who later stopped a point-blank drive by Eglington. We were certainly having plenty of excitement hereabouts and when Holden was worming his way through Jones put his hand to the ball and the only thing the referee cold do was award a penalty.
This was taken by Barrass who tried to place the ball out of O’Neill’s reach, and the Irish goalkeeper made a magnificent save, turning the ball away as he almost turned a somersault. Just on the interval Lofthouse, faced with an open goal from a Holden centre, scooped the ball outside.
Half-time; Bolton 1, Everton nil.
Everton reopened with some good football but all it produced was a half hit shot by Mayers which Grieves had not difficulty in saving. Everton maintained their pressure and the Bolton defence was often in a tangle due to the speed the Blues put in their dash and at 50 minutes Everton got their just reward. Harris was the scorer and he will be the first to admit to be part that Eglington and Mayers played in giving him the opportunity to steer the ball in to the net. Eglington had made a canny lob which enabled Mayers to streak away and then push the ball o vet to his colleague Harris who swept the ball into the net. Lofthouse with a ball to Parry saw the latter shoot high over. Holden worked his way over to the inside left position and pulled out a terrific rising shot which O’Neill tipped over the bar. The Irish keeper made yet another sterling save a little later when the Wanderers started to hit back. Lofthouse headed over and O’Neill once had to come out of his goal and hastily kick away to deter Parry. The pace was still tremendous and at this point the Wanderers shot whenever near goal. They won yet another corner, this time taken by Holden but the outside right wasted his chance by centring behind. There was a lull in proceedings but a fast run by Eglington opened possibilities when he pulled then all across to Parker and young Mayers dashed in to try and convert. Goalkeeper Grieves was right on the job to say “No.” Harris, Wainwright and Parker operating on the left tried to find an opening without success and when Lofthouse had placed himself in anticipation of Holden’s centre he was beaten in a heading duel by Jones. O’Neill came rushing out of goal to deal with a Holden centre but misjudged the flight of the ball which passed out of his reach and it was left to Moore, who had dropped back, to clear from near the goal line. O’Neill made amends when he reached up and caught a centre from Gubbins. Everton were defending magnificently and Jones made a solid tackle to check Stevens. Final; Bolton 1, Everton 1. Attendance -29,290.
ON A POINT LOST AT GOODISON PARK
October 15, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
Everton’s first draw of the season was rather disappointing to the fans, not so much the dropping of a valuable home point as the fact that in the second half the Blues were unable to penetrate the Gunners defence despite the fact that Arsenal had a depleted side due to an injury to Nutt. In ordinary circumstances a side should be able to turn to account the vast territorial advantage which the Blues enjoyed during the second 45 minutes, but when the opposition consists of Arsenal, who for many years have been renowned for their well-organised system of defence, it is easier said than done. From the time of Nutt’s injury the game certainly deteriorated as a spectacle, as Arsenal endeavored to offset their handicap by staking even greater emphasis on defence in an effort to save a point and trusting to an breakaway as their means of attack. As a result of this, the Blues were in the Gunners’ half for most of the second period, and had plenty of room to work the ball nufflied, but when our moves reached the point that really matters namely, the penalty area, they usually found themselves crowded out by the tall, well-organized Arsenal defence, whose motto seemed to be,” What we have we hold.” I wonder had the Blues been leading 2-1 at the interval what Arsenal’s tactics would have been. Whatever they may have been I and nobody can blame Arsenal for striving so hard to save a point. I still sure the second half would have been far more interesting from a spectators point of view had Everton been in the lead when Nutt was injured.
Tommy Jones, who must be among the most consistent centre halves playing today, had the misfortune to pull a muscle early in the game. Several times during the course of the game I asked Tom if he would like to change to a less responsible position in view of his injury, but on each occasion his answer was in the negative. I think you will all agree that Tommy’s display on the circumstances was first rate. Don Roper remarked to me what a fine centre half we have I couldn’t resist the temptation of the obvious replay; “You should see him when he is 100 per cent fit.” Watching both Goring and Holton playing a wing half showed how a switch to a different position very often finds a layer’s true position. I know it is quite common for a wing half to play at made forward without feeling really out of place but it is seldom we find two former centre forwards of the one club occupying the giving half positions as in the case of Goring. I suppose there are many and Holton. I suppose there are many really famous players who have gone right through their career very successfully, who, had they been tried in another position, might have been even more famous or more suited to a different position. Whether or not, they can never know. There are also many who first come to their clubs in one position or another before eventually being switched to find their true position. You may remember Don Donovan joining Everton as an inside forward than being moved to wing half before eventually representing not only his club but also his country as a full back.
Everton’s Jimmy Harris arrived at Goodison Park as an inside forward, and might never have appeared in such a position in the first team if Mr. Britton and his shrewd staff had not reorganized Jimmy’s potentialities as a centre forward. We also have the case of John Charles, the brilliant Leeds United player, John is such a brilliant player that even some good judges cannot yet make up their minds what his best position is. The giant Welshman has played inside forward, centre forward, wing half and centre half, and is such a natural footballer that I am sure he could play in any position with equal success. Charles centre half display last year in the Derek Doolay benefit game when I had the honour of playing alongside him, convinced me that Big John must surely rank as one of, if not greatest centre half in the world. In conclusion, I think it is a very good thing to play a player, provided he has the ability in a different position occasionally as apart from improving the skill it also makes one more versatile.
THIS GAME HAD EVERYTHING!
October 17, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Bolton W 1, Everton 1
If one cold see football of this calibre every week, the notion that football had gone back in the last few years would be scotched. It was the best game I have seen for seasons. Further, the result was a just one. It was a pity that there were only 29,000 spectators at a match worthy a Wembley crowd. Not for a moment could you afford to take your eyes off the game. There was always something interesting with thrills galore, particularly so in the first half. The pace was staggering. There were only two goals, there might have been six equally shared, so evenly balanced were the sides. First it was one goalkeeper making a save, then the other. Both made masterly saves. Grieves is the Lancashire cricketer so catching a ball is part and part of his business, but he did not outshine O’Neill in his fielding. These two stole the limelight.
There was a fairly strong wind, but the players were so quick to the ball and mastered it so well it had no the time to do tricks. There were occasions when the goalkeepers had to make last-second efforts because of the curl or swing of the ball, but by hook or by crook they got to it in time. Had either been beaten a time or two more no one could have blamed them. Watching here was almost like watching tennis at Wimbledon. Your head had to be on a swivel. One minute play was in the Everton goalmouth, the next round the Wanderers’ penalty area. No wonder both teams received ovations as they left the field. It took thirty minutes to produce a goal, but there had been innumerable efforts beforehand and the defences would not yield to forwards eager and keen to put their names on the register.
Both teams produced high quality soccer with Everton showing the greater delicacy of touch. You will want to know how Derek Mayers fare in his first senior game for eighteen months? He has done better, but in saying that I must mention that in Banks he was opposed to the best defender on the field. I must mention O’Neill’s save of Barrass’ penalty shot. The Bolton captain put his faith in the placed shot rather than the blazing drive, but O’Neill got to the ball and cleared. Now to the goals. Stevens tried a bow at a venture and it hit the far post and slipped into the net. O’Neill seemed to think the ball would go outside, whereas it curled inwards. Harris’ goal was the result of fine work between Eglington and Mayers who applied the final pass for Harris to sweep the ball in.
EVERTON RES 3, ASTON VILLA RES 1
October 17, 155. The Daily Post
Everton were worthy winners. With better luck they would have won more decisively. Villa spoiled much good midfield work by over-elaboration. The Everton forwards responded well to the promptings of Fielding, who scored the first goal, McNamara and Thomas added further goals. Villa replied through right half Birch.
BOLTON-EVERTON FOOTBALL FEAST
October 17, 1955, The Liverpool Echo
O’Neill’s Penalty Save A Vital Factor
I have seen some fair games this season and I have seen some bad ones, but if could see a game like the one Bolton and Everton put on at Burden then there would be no grumbles from me. It was great stuff -90 minutes of pulsating football. I must admit to being one of those persons who have said that football has gone back a lot since the war, but if more matches of this calibre can be produced I will have to forget the past. Unfortunately, there is no such guarantee and no doubt I will see more drab games before the season ends. Conditions were a most deal for football and the Bolton ground has taken on a new look in that there was an abundance of luscious grass and not the proverbial mud associated with Burnden Park. Everton, were perhaps the more dainty craftsmen, for the Wanderers adopted a more go-ahead style so between them they provided a taste of everything. One second it was O’Neill making a save, the next Grieves holding up the Everton forwards, and everything was done at great pace. Goals incidents came every few seconds and the crowd –not a big one –enjoyed every minute of it. This was a game fit for Wembley. There was only 29,000 there with a big sprinkling from Liverpool. The duels between Lofthouse and Jones were worth going to see and Barass has not had such a busy afternoon for ages. Harris with his amazing burst, often had Barrass training, but then there was Grieves to cover up. I would like to see Harris do a little more shooting but I feel sure he is going to make good –Billy Ridding, the Bolton manager, thinks so, too. Harris did not spare himself but it was Eglington who looked the most likely scorer, and it was only Grieves who prevented him having his name on the card.
The first “45” was excellent although there was only one goal which had a big element of luck about it. I am convinced that Stevens did not intend his effort as a shot but as a pass to the left. The ball sped to the far post and then passed over the line and into the net. The surprise of it all made O’Neill think the ball was passing out. Naturally the pace slackened in the second half, but Everton’s football in the first ten minutes was fit for a ling. Wanderers were not always able to cope with the intricacies of the Everton passing but shots to bring a natural conclusion were not forthcoming. Nevertheless there was plenty to look upon and when Bolton decided to shoot on sight they were really dangerous. They wanted holding but held they were by endeavour as wholehearted as I hope to see O’Neill saved a penalty taken by Barass. There was no great pace behind the Bolton skipper’s shot, but it was directed away from the Everton goalkeeper, who flung himself sideways and arrested the ball’s progress. Harris leveled matters five minutes after the interval and then it became a battle royal for the winner. How these 22 men fought and when Harris was right through a goal looked likely. Barras, however, came up from behind and brought the centre forward down. Was it inside the area or just outside” The referee took the ball back some yards and then signaled that he was going on throw in up. How he arrived at that decision I do not know. I have seen Mayers play better but he had the game’s best full back against him in Banks.
October 18, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
The match between Eire and Yugoslavia senior side at Dublin will be followed by a banquet at which Peter Farrell and Con Martin will be presented with the silver shamrock’s awarded by the football Association or Ireland which is Eire’s official title to players who have made 25 internationals appearances. Actually it will be Farrell’s 26th game tomorrow. He made his 25th appearance when Eire were on tour last summer. O’Neill is also in the Eire side, but unfortunately Tommy Eglington, who needs one more game to complete his quarter of a century did not find favour with the Selectors. The disappointment he felt was shared almost as keenly by Farrell, who would have liked nothing more than to see his club mate receive the same recognition as himself and Martin.
HICKSON RETURNS TO GOODISON PARK
October 21, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Hickson The Danger
It goes without saying that Dave Hickson, former idol of so many Everton followers and a bone of contention with others will be more than usually keen to do well against his old club. Always a hard and genuine trier. Hickson opened his scoring account for Aston Villa last week, after seven fruitless outings. That means he will come tomorrow with a more settled mind and greater confidence for nothing saps the latter more than too long a run without a spot of luck. Although they gave a much improved display last week the Villa failed to win, for Manchester United also scored four times to share the points. This was the seventh occasion on which the Midlanders have drawn this season. Four of these have been away –at Manchester City, Huddersfield, Chelsea and Birmingham –while they have lost at Sunderland, Arsenal and West Bromwich. In addition to these four away points Villa’s total of nine includes two from their only victory –against Cardiff City- and home draws with Manchester United, Birmingham and Blackpool.
Of the 23 goals conceded by Villa 13 came from three games and nine in two encounters with Sunderland. These matches apart, Villa have not conceded more than two in any other fixture and on three occasions have kept the opposition goalless. Unfortunately for them, their front line has not been at its best until last week, when they brought to an end a run of three successive outings which failed to produce a single goal. Goalkeeper Jones and full-backs Lynn and Aldis have played in all thirteen engagements to date as also has Baxter who has filled both wing half berths in turn. With veteran Irish international Con Martin on the injured list. Amos Moss has captained the side from centre-half in the past three games. Prior to that he had outings at left half-back and inside-left. Moss incidentally is the third of the famous family to skipper a Villa team. The right-half berth is currently being filled by Vic Crowe, a young Welshman, who took over when Danny Blanchflower was transferred to Spurs.
Every position in Villa’s attack, has had at least two occupants. Prior to the signing of Dave Hickson, three players had been tried there. The two inside berths have also had several occupants though Dixon has been first choice at inside-right since recovering from injury mid-way in September. At inside-left Crowe, Moss, Gibson and Follan had all been tried prior to last week when Pat Sward a close season recruit from Millwall as a wing half made his First Division debut. From all accounts he shaped well. Saward Baxter, Hickson and Lockhart have each scored once, McParland twice, and Dixon who has been the club’s best marksman in four of the last five years. Is again leading the way with six. Outside-right Southern is the only member of the regular attack who has not yet opened his account. Aston Villa; Jones; Lynn, Aldis; Crowe, Moss (A), Baxter; Southern, Dixon, Hickson, Saward, McParland.
October 22, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Keeping both eyes on Everton v. Dave Hickson and one ear cocked for news from Cardiff, will make the Goodison Park trip specially interesting, I wonder how many others will make Hickson’s return to Goodison Park a priority? If the attendance were to number 60,000 or more I should not be surprised. No Everton player since Dean was lionized as Hickson. The fact that he now favours claret-and-blue rather than blue does not seem to have detracted from his popularity among Everton followers. If what one hears is true everyone wants to see him in action against his old club. The dashing diving Hickson we know may be an affrication on the Everton defence and it will be interesting to see how Everton tackle the man whose presence in any attack guarantees that a defence will be kept fully occupied. Hickson’s immediate opponents would have been Tom Jones, one of the most balanced and phlegmatic centre halves who ever trod a pitch. But if, as I suspect Manager Britton prefers not to gamble with the possibly of Jones breaking down, the job will go to Matt Woods, a tough reserve who might be even more at home than Jones in facing an uncompromising opponents.
Villa’s record, with Hickson goalless in his first seven games, is not impressive, but this is a match with special implications and one can depend on Hickson getting a welcoming roar and on his straining harder than usual to score. As for the pro-Hickson brigade and their comparisons with Hickson’s succession, Harris J., here is a wonderful chance to judge one with the other. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Jones (or Woods), Lello; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington. Aston Villa; Jones; Lynn, Aldis; Crowe, Moss (A), Baxter; Southern, Dixon, Hickson, Saward, McParland.
HARRIS HAS HEY-DAY; HICKSON A NAY-DAY
October 22, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Villa Hit Back In Late Rally
Everton 2, Aston Villa 1
Everton gave a brilliant display in the first half, but faded away badly in the second portion, Woods, who was put on the transfer list on Thursday was an excellent deputy for Jones, while those who compared Hickson and his successor, must have been confident in the view that Everton did the right thing by cashing in Hickson, tried desperately hard, but got poor support and was well held by Woods. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Woods, and Lello, half-backs; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Aston Villa; Jones, goal; Lynn, and Aldis, backs; Crowe, Moss (A), and Baxter, half-backs; Southern, Dixon, Hickson (captain), Saward and McParland, forwards. Referee; Mr. R.E. Tarratt. Dave Hickson added several thousands to the gate on his return to Goodison Park and Villa made him captain for the day against his old colleagues. He won the toss and decided to defend the Gwlady’s Street goal which meant that Villa were facing the strong sun, but had the advantage of a fairly fresh breeze. Jones failed to pass his fitness last this morning so that Matt Woods, who has in the past played scores of times against Hickson in private practice matches had to face to face the former Everton leader.
Hickson who had received a grousing reception from the crowd when he led his team out was early in evidence with a couple of well-directed headers on his inside colleagues, but in his first tussle with Woods it was the centre half who came out of the tackle with the ball. A foul on Parker by Dixon paved the way for Everton to take the lead at the ninth minute for when the free kick was lofted over to the right by Tansey; Mayers put the ball back into the middle for Harris to head it home. Everton produced some excellent footwork and the Villa defence for some minutes was extremely panicky. Wainwright was going through on his own when he was brought down by Moss just outside the penalty area. The twice taken free kick produced no danger to Villa.
A Sixth Corner
For some minutes Everton kept the Villa penned in their own half. When the visitors did get away they were only over the half-way line for a few seconds and when Tansey robbed Hickson, his up the middle clearance paved the way for Harris to fire in a terrific left foot shot which Jones saved at the expense of a sixth corner conceded by the Villa. A splendid long through ball from Woods put Eglington in possession and after beating Lynn by his speed the home winger crossed a high shot which Shots palmed over the bar. Villa’s first shot came at the 19th minute after Moore had only partly cleared a corner and Hickson fastening on the ball drove in a strong ground shot upon which O’Neill fell right on the line.
From O’Neill’s clearance Everton went straight away to take a second goal. Harris was again the scorer with a very acute angled shot, but he had to thank Wainwright for the pass which made the goal possible. The time was 20 minutes. Harris might have completed his hat-trick from Everton’s eight corner for when Parker headed the ball on to him from the flag kick, Harris, with only Jones to beat steered the ball straight into the hands of the Villa keeper. Everton continued to be much the better side and kept the Villa penned down in their own quarters most of the time.
Woods Doing Well
Farrell and Lello were backing up their forwards well, while Woods who had been put on Everton’s transfer list only 48 hours ago, as having a splendid game. Not only had he the measure of Hickson, but he was making good constructive use of the ball. When McParland came right across outside right and put the ball past Lello the latter traved for O’Neill to come out of goal not realizing that McParland’s speed made it doubtful who would get there first. O’Neill managed to do so but he was then outside the penalty area and could not pick the ball up. Undeterred however, he dribbled it a dozen yards or so before making his final clearance. On the rare occasions that Villa staged an attack they were a very disjointed looking lot, never moving the ball with the confidence or combination of the home side. Hickson was brought down in tackle by Woods, but quickly got to his feet. After some rather aimless and unproductive passing by the visitors. Dixon at last tried a shot, but moulded a very simple pick-up for O’Neill.
Villa’s only shot of note so far had been a 25-year by Hickson which soared just over the woodwork, though it was followed by one from McParland which might have been troublesome if the ever-ready Woods had not been there to boot it away. Woods was continuing to dominate the centre of the field, and despite his desire to move somewhere he will have greater scope for advancement, Everton must surely be reluctant to part with him. The home side had gone “off the boil” for some minutes but came back eventually with another attack which produced yet one more corner – the ninth to be followed a minute later with number 10. One of them by the persistence of Mayers who was shaping excellently. When Villa won a corner on the right and the flag kick went to Lynn, the former Accrington Stanley full back hi a terrific shot which O’Neill saved brilliantly at the expense of another flag kick. This was far and away Villa’s best effort. Wainwright all through had been an neat schemer and forager, but I had not seen a great deal of Parker. Half-time; Everton 2, Aston Villa nil.
Some Everton supporters who had been enjoying the Blues first half display against Villa had their pleasure destroyed at half time when a loud speaker announcement was made stating that four private cars in Salop Street had been broken into and property stolen. The cars numbers were given and the owners were asked to report to police on the spot immediately.
Villa started the second half with a couple of lively raids and some brighter combination than they had shown earlier but apart from a rather half-hearted sort of effort by Saward they produced nothing in the shooting line.
Away From Woods
At long last Hickson escaped the clutches of Woods, when both were far out on the right flank. Hickson put the ball up a few yards and them put in a 30-yard high dropping shot which though having little chance of beating, had nevertheless to be scooped away from under the bar by the Everton keeper, so accurately had Hickson sent it in. Everton’s play in the second half was neither so speedy or so entertaining as it had been in the first portion. They seemed to be taking things too easily and the Villa gradually came more into the game, though still without producing anything much in the finishing line. At the 59th minute, however, Villa got reward for their efforts when after McParland’s shot had struck Moore the ball rebounded to Dixon who immediately flashed it into the net.
Almost The Hat-Trick
This seemed to wake Everton up to the need for stronger measures; a splendid combined offering finally saw Harris “robbed” of his hat-trick when Mayers had headed the ball to him from Parker’s centre. Harris’s neat flick struck the foot of the post and came back into play with the Villa goalkeeper hopelessly beaten.
A few minutes later Dixon almost leveled the scores when he took a ball from Eglington and nipping in quickly delivered a fierce right foot shot. However, O’Neill was equal to the occasion. Villa were now playing better than at any previous period, and after good work by Southern and Dixon, Woods had to be lively to forestall Hickson. Everton got a free kick when Dixon brought down Eglington, but nothing came of it except an unproductive corner. Everton were now putting a little more vim into their work and the Villa goal had a narrow escape when a shot by Lello struck a defender, reared high up in the air and over the head of Jones, only to come back into play off the crossbar. It bounced just too far out for either Harris or Parker to reach it.
Villa were fighting hard for the equalizer and for some minutes had looked the more dangerous side. Twice Hickson set his wingers going with lovely passes and when Everton staged another raid, Mayers shot hurriedly and wide. Everton were a bit fortunate when McParland beat Farrell for speed but found himself so narrowly angled that he could not squeeze the ball in. Wainwright did manage to land the ball in the net following a pass from Harris, but the point was presumably disallowed on the score of hands. Villa returned to the attack with Dixon going close following a centre by McParland, and Everton were now having to fight grimly to ensure the two points which in the first half had looked to be a certainty.
A Great Shot
Parker carved out a shooting chance for Wainwright, only for Jones to save at almost point-blank range. A great shot by Harris from the edge of the penalty area almost brought down the house for he was harassed by Moss and did extremely well to get in a shot at all. Jones saved well. Final; Everton 1, Aston Villa 1.Official attendance 55,431.
WOLVES RES V EVERTON RES
October 22, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Wolves Res; Burden, goal; Ballie and Jones, backs; Thomson, Flowers, and Howells, half-backs; Lill, Walmsley, Bonston, Middleton, and Deeley, forwards. Everton Res;- Leyland, goal; Parkes, and Rankin, backs; Grant, Donovan, and Melville, half-backs; Harris, Thomas, Saunders, Lewis and Vizard, forwards. Referee; Mr. G. Ramage, Sheffield. A weakened Wolves side shocked Everton by scoring three times in the first half. Deeley opened the scoring in the first minute and Flowers added a second in the eight minute from a free kick. A sustained spell of pressure on the Everton defence was relieved by breakaways by Fielding, Lewis and McNamara but Wolves scored again through Middleton. Half-time; Wolves Res 3, Everton Res nil. A grand Everton move saw Harris sent away, beautifully and his cross net with a first shot by Vizard but the ball crashed against the bar and was scrambled away. Another narrow escape in the home goalmouth, saw Saunders head narrowly the wrong side of the post.
ON A POINT GAINED AT BOLTON
October 22, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
By Peter Farrell
Some of the thousands of Everton supporters who travelled to Bolton last week must have been convinced that the good things they have been reading concerning their favourities display away from home were true. Some people who watched the thrilling game between the Trotters and the Blues have been asking me during the week. “Why don’t the lads reproduce such form at Goodison.” Well, whatever the explanation the fact remains that the Blues in nearly all their away games this season have given a good account of themselves. Even in the three games in which we have been beaten, at West Bromwich, Old Trafford, and Fratton Park the fans who saw these games have been well satisfied with the fare served up by the Toffees. But in nearly all our home games, with one or two exceptions the side has not revealed anything like the form shown in the away games. This is rather surprising and a little hard to weigh up; as it is generally considered that there is a big advantage to any side playing before its own supporters.
It is all the more remarkable for a side like Everton who are not only lucky enough to average home gates which are the envy of nearly every club in the country, but also vocal support from their followers who pack Goodison that is bettered by few other clubs. I know there are many footballer who prefer to play on visiting grounds rather than in front of their own supporters. This is explained possibly by the fact that these players are too keyed-up in home games and through over-anxiety to do the right thing, very often make mistakes which they wouldn’t normally do in different circumstances. On the other hand, when on “foreign” soil this type of player is more relaxed mentally and gives a far better account of himself than in home games. Speaking personally, I would far rather play at Goodison Park in front of the thousands of Evertonians than on any other ground anywhere as the encouraging roar of the crowd tends to keep me on my toes right through the game and I think nearly all the rest of the side are the same opinion. Maybe there is a reason for the Blues playing better on visiting grounds than at Goodison, or perhaps it is just coincidence this season. In any case, I hope the loyal habitués of Goodison Park will see their favourities reveal that form they have consistently shown this season away from home. Our game against Bolton was a very enjoyable affair, consisting of fast open football, goalmouth thrills and the result in doubt right up to the final whistle.
With the Blues already a goal down things looked very black when Bolton were awarded. Jimmy O’Neill ling offence against Tommy Jones. When the penalty was awarded Jimmy O’Neill remembering Barrass scored from the spot last year on the same ground said to me “Which side did he place it last season, Peter, right or left?” I told him as far as I could remember it was towards the corner of the net on Jimmy’s right-hand side. Whether this helped the Everton keeper or not, I don’t know. But I do know that when Barrass placed the ball towards the right hand corner Jimmy made a brilliant dive and save, and in so doing played a big part in gaining a point for Everton. The news that Tommy Eglington was not selected to represent his country against Yugoslavia was a big disappointment to his many admirers both in Ireland and on Merseyside. Not so much the fact of the Everton winger being dropped but everyone who knows Tommy would have liked him to be selected for this his 25th appearance for Eire a game which would have qualified him for a silver statuette awarded to Irishmen who represented their country of 25 occasions. However, I am sure Tommy will eventually gain this coveted award, and his successor in the Irish team, Liam Tuohy was thrilled at receiving a telegram last Wednesday from Tommy wishing him all the luck in the world. This was a typical gesture from a great sportsman.
EVERTON 2 ASTON VILLA 1
October 24, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Everton v. Villa –as tame and the one which should have been academic and most correct –the International at Cardiff – developed a rougher side. Many expected that Dave Hickson would be in his most rampageous mood against his old club. He was studiously correct and left to an ovation as warm as that which greeted him when he stepped on to the field. If this match proved anything it proved that Everton were astute when they let Hickson go at a vast fee and introduced their cost-nothing Harris (J). Another conclusion one could not help drawing was that Hickson can never be effective in this Villa line. He had few chances partly because Matt Woods played so well, but mainly because the Villa attack seemed determined not to pay Hickson the compliment of the returned pass.
No Happy Returns
Hickson made some telling passes and chased to the wings anticipating passes. They did not come. Only in the last 20 minutes when Villa suddenly assumed command did he play well. Based on the complete 90 minutes Harris was by far the better man –fast, full of tricks and good ideas and having two goals to discomfit those who still maintain that Hickson should never have gone. Harris (J) has come to say as I suggested after seeing him in but two matches. There is no telling how far he will ho now he has started to get among the goals. His first, from a header, was due to the clever way Mayers nodded over to him Tansey’s well-judged free kick. The second came immediately after O’Neill had saved, on the line from Hickson. Wainwright playing his best game for seasons galloped down-field, slipped the ball outwards and Harris now at outside-right, ran on to it so fast to find the target with a cross shot he was forced to run 20 yards round the back of the net before taking the acclaim of co-forwards. Another nod from Mayers after a Parker centre and a waspish shot by Harris which stung the post was equally worth a goal; so was that persistent Lello fellow’s deflected shot which bounded against the Villa has with little Jones in no position to stop it or even collect the rebound. The Everton of the first half hour was as good as any I have seen this season with half-backs in command and Wainwright, and Harris not less than brilliant in their positional play and general performance.
Of Guards Stuff
Hickson captain for the day and shooting in pre-match with venom which suggested that he would be dangerous was rarely seen. Woods, whose commanding figure is that of a Guards’ Sarn’t-Major, played him well used the ball excellently too. For command of a game which only once flared up (when the Villa trainer passes comment to Mr. R.E. Tarratt, of Sussex before attending to Crower, I must commend a referee new to Liverpool. Mr. Tarratt should come more often. His business chief- he is Sussex representative of a Duke Street Liverpool firm –congratulated him on his masterful work Referee Tarrett was impressed with the ground and with spectators reception of his decisions right or wrong. Villa came to life after being sluggish and out of sorts, with a goal from their best forward. Dixon shortly after the start of the second half. From the moment they improved and there were times in the last ten minutes when they were close to the equalizer. But Everton for their wood-hitting shots and for their goals and general superiority were worthy victory. They might not have got it had not O’Neill made two astounding saves –the best from a shot by full back Lynn. The only weakness in the Everton team was on the left where Eglington and Parker were both below standard. Parker is rather mercurial and is, I suppose entitled to an occasional off day. If so, this was it. among those present (Hickson came near to being numbered among them) was John Lindsay, still recovering from his broken leg and wondering like half-back Kieran of Tranmere, when full fitness would allow him to take first team place again. Footballers may not be slaves in the Guthrie sense, but many are surely slaves to injury.
WOLVES RES 4 EVERTON RES 1
October 24, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton Reserves only had themselves to blame for this their second defeat of the season at Wolverhampton. Their forwards had sufficient chances in the second half to at least have earned at point Lewis got Everton’s only goal in the last minute. Deeley, Flowers, Middleton and Walmsley scored for Wolves.
WOODS TOPPED THE BILL AND HARRIS OUT-SHONE HICKSON
October 24, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Although Everton last week agreed to put Matt Woods on the transfer list, they did so only because they did not wish to stand in his way, and not because they had any desire to part with him. After Wood’s splendid display against Aston Villa and his old clubmate, Dave Hickson, Everton must be still less desirous of losing him. If they do eventually part, the fee they will want is likely to be considerably higher now than it might have been had somebody stepped in prior to Saturday. The twists of football fortune are often stranger than fiction. Here was Woods eating his heart out in the Central League side, waiting for the chance which never seemed to come until he felt that his only hope of advancement would be to uproot himself. That was the only reason for his request. He had no-quarrel with the club. Then within 48 hours came the opportunity to prove his ability. He took it so well that there were many who thought that in some respects he played even better than Tommy Jones, the man for whom he deputized. One could hardly give him greater praise than that, for Jones has been a grand bulwark in the Everton defence throughout the past two seasons. Not only was Woods just as solid but his constructive play in the first half was outstanding. Whether Woods could reproduce this form with the same consistency as Jones has shown for so long is a matter of conjecture. If he can then it would be a great pity if he and Everton parted company. The ideal of a managers is to have every position adequately duplicated. That seems the case at centre half all right but Woods, who is only 23 is naturally anxious not to be “buried” much longer in the reserve string.
The problem is a difficult one. I wonder whether it could be solved temporarily at least by giving Woods a few further senior outings. Jones has done so well for so long that he has earned a brief respite from the hurly-burly. Whether he himself would look kindly on such a move I cannot say. It is no good upsetting one proved player in order to attempt to placate another who though starting so well, has yet to demonstrate the necessary consistency. It is a problem which might confound the wisest of football Solomons. I’m glad I haven’t got to solve it. If there were any Hickson loyalists left before this match who still felt that Everton had erred in letting their former idol go to Villa Park, even the staunchest among them would have admitted at the end of it that Everton had done the right thing-especially remembering they are now over £20,000 better off thereby. While Hickson was being kept well taped by Woods most of the time his successor, Jimmy Harris was giving the Villa defence the runaround. In addition to his two splendid goals, Harris twice went near making it a hat-trick before the foot of the post finally robbed him of the distinction half-way through the second portion.
Everton’s first half display was as good as anything I have seen from them this season. For half an hour they had the Villa at panic stations. They were a yards faster to the ball then the opposition. They combined far more effectively, and what was more pleasing they shot hard and often and with reasonable accuracy. During the spell of ascendancy Wainwright was outstanding for his distribution, his aggressiveness and foraging and the manner in which he lent a hand in defence when required. Mayers also shaped nicely Eglington gave Lyon many anxious moments and the wing halves were right on top of their form. In the second half the Villa brightened up their ideas considerably, instead of waiting for the ball to come to them they went after it. They tackled more keenly and though never at any time did their display the smooth and polished combination which Everton had done earlier, they promised for quite a while to save a point which was something which had never looked possible in the first half. After Dixon had reduced the lead just on the hour Everton began to look a little worried for a time. As so often happens, the fluency of forward movement once lost, was difficult to recapture and with the wing halves forced back on defence, Everton had to struggle hard to prevent the equalizer.
Eventually, however, they got back on an even keel once more and in the last 10 minutes were again the dominant side. In addition to the Jimmy Harris flick which came back off the upright a Lello shot cannoning off a defender, stuck the crossbar, while Wainwright had what seemed quite a good goal disallowed for hands. The same player was baulked by a point-blank range save by Jones though this was equalied by the one O’Neill made from full-back Lynn in the first half and another at the expense of Dixon later. On Saturday’s display one could not help but wonder how the Villa pulled back from 2-4 to draw 4-4 with Manchester United the previous week, for their defence was decidedly shaky under pressure and the forward line despite Hickson’s efforts, had little about it. Hickson had to fight a losing battle most of the time against the commanding Woods and the absence of support. He got very few decent passes. Dixon was the most dangerous Villa forward, though he took a long time to come to his best, Saward is obviously lacking experience. A fine word of praise to Hickson for his most sporting display. Dave has sometimes been a “bad lad” but on the return to his old haunts he set a grand example. If he keeps it up the past will soon be forgotten. But he must often wish, if this is normal Villa idea of playing to him; that there was someone in the side to give him the ball as he likes it.
EVERTON VISIT ELADERS
October 28, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton tackle their toughest task to date in visiting Sunderland at Roker Park, but after the excellent displays they have put up in many of their previous away games this season there is no need for their supporters to be unduly fearful. The Blues have sometimes played better away than at home. Sunderland head the table at the moment with two matches in hand over their nearest rivals in some cases. This performance is all; the more impressive when one notes that seven of their twelve games have been away. At Roker Park they have won all their five fixtures. Last winter, when they finished fourth, Sunderland were the champion “drawists,” of the League, no fewer than 18 games finishing that way a fact which cost them the championship. This season they have not taken part in a single draw. Perhaps tomorrow may alter that cyber in their chart. Now that Charlie Fleming has settled down to the quicker place of English football after his transfer from East Fife he has proved his worth and his goals tally to date is eleven. Not for nothing was he nick-named “Cannonball.” Shackleton too, has been in good form, and has taken on a new lease of life since replacing Elliott on the left wing at the end of August. He has scored six times and has improved the attack considerably in his new role. Apart from the absence on Irish international duty of Bingham three weeks ago, the Sunderland forward line has not been altered since Shackleton came in. In addition to Fleming’s eleven goals, Chisholm has scored eight, and after Shackleton come centre forward Purdon and Bingham with four apiece. Such figures in all five berths suggest that the Blues rearguard will face a very stern test. Sunderland’s total of 35 goals is 17 more than Everton have scored in two more games. But Everton have conceded less – 17 against 23. If Everton can play as smoothly and effectively for the full 90 minutes at Roker as they did in the first half against Villa last week, even the star-studded Roker side may find it hard to hang on to their 100 per cent home record. But Sunderland are a vastly different side to the Villa and even to ensure a point Everton will have to be in their best fighting mood. The Roker team will be unchanged for the third successive match. Everton will field the same eleven as that which defeated Aston Villa last week, with Woods continuing at centre half, Jones failed to pass a fitness test this morning. Sunderland; Fraser; Hedley, McDonald; Anderson, Daniel, Aitkens; Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Shackleton. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrrell, Woods, Lello; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
October 29, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
By Leslie Edwards
Matt Woods, deputizing again for Tom Jones (who failed a fitness test before Everton left for Sunderland yesterday) carries a load of responsibility against the league leaders. He will be faced by the giant South African Purdon, but physically and in other ways, I think Woods will emerge well from the test, I do not think Purdon is likely to be as troublesome to Woods as say, one of those mercurial little men, such as Harris (J) who is apt to leave behind a big, upstanding centre half like Daniel by dash and devil. The battle between Eric Moore and the footballer many expected might be left outside rather than outside left, Len Shackleton should be equally rousing and there will be needle, too, in the war between the former Everton back Hedley and his comrade of other days Ton Eglington. Time was when the Sunderland stars shone individually and success was hard to come by now they seem to be playing well as a team with the result that they have won all their home games and enough away matches to suggest that they are likely to be the team of the season. With Harris (J) playing well and Wainwright enjoying a new lease of life as an inside forward Everton are not out of it; indeed I think they will break Sunderland’s unbroken chain of home victories. In such a Daniel, Aitken, Fleming and Shackleton Sunderland have players of great class, but Everton’s close-knit defence has a way of winning matches tactically and were they to keep Sunderland goalless it would not surprise me. Sunderland; Fraser; Hedley, McDonald; Anderson, Daniel, Aitkens; Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Shackleton. Everton; O’Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrrell, Woods, Lello; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, Eglington.
EVERTON TAKE SEASON’S FIRST POINT FROM ROKER; HONOURS FOR DEFENCES
October 29, 1955. The Liverpool Football Echo
Sunderland 0, Everton 0
After a splendid first half this game, like that of last week, deteriorated tremendously in the second half when craft and skill took a secondary place. Sunderland looked anything but a top of the table team after the interval, and though the Everton goal had several escapes the Blues put up a strong flight. Woods gave a great display while O’Neill made three miraculous saves. This was Sunderland’s first draw of the season and the first point they have forfelled at home. Sunderland;- Fraser, goal; Hedley and McDonald, backs; Anderson, Daniel, and Aitkens, half-backs; Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm and Shackleton, forwards. Everton; O’Neill, goal; Moore and Tansey, backs; Farrell (captain), Woods, and Lello, half-backs; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris (J), Parker, and Eglington, forwards. Referee; Mr. R.E. Windle (Chesterfield). The weather at Roker Park was bitterly cold with a wind blowing from goal to goal. Sunderland won the toss, and had the advantage of the wind. For the first quarter of an hour both side served up some attractive on the ground football marked with good combination, and some delightful touches. None did better in the latter respect than Shackleton, who was subtle, and at times impudently “cheeky” in the nonethalant manner in which he displayed his wonderful artistry. Everton also had much to recommend them, and despite being against the wind, which made high balls hang in the air and cut down their length they gave the home defence plenty to think about. The first shot was a bouncing one from Anderson which O’Neill saved near the foot of the post. One by Wainwright was well over the bar and then came a couple from Shackleton from well outside the penalty area, which brought O’Neill into action. Woods, who this week was up against something much more difficult than at Goodison last Saturday was nevertheless playing very soundly and twice nipped in with telling interceptions when Sunderland looked dangerous and it was Woods who beat Chisholm to a high ball from Bingham to head away in the nick of time.
Pushed On To Post
A moment later good work by McDonald and Aitken opened up the way for Fleming whose header was deflected by O’Neill on to the post. It rebounded into play to be cleared by Moore. Chisholm who wanted one goal today to complete 150 in English and Scottish League matches did his best to chalk it up with a 20-yards shot only to see the ball rise a yard over the bar. After Sunderland had held the upper hand for some minutes Everton took over and for some time they kept Sunderland so penned in their own half that O’Neill was the only man in Everton territory. Harris had a shot saved by Fraser and then came a brilliant piece of combination by the visitors in which six men took part without an opponent touching the ball until Mayers won a corner off McDonald. The game was held up while Woods and Bingham received attention. Both were temporarily laid out but when Bingham going up for a high ball near the centre circle, ran full till into the Everton centre half. During another spell of brief ascendancy by Sunderland McDonald came up to try a 30 yards shot which O’Neill fielded, and then another touch of Shackleton’s wizardly carved out a great opportunity for Chisholm who took his shot too hurriedly so that O’Neill was able to stand and watch it go over the bar. Everton were inclined to overdo their cross passing when near the penalty area, though both Harris and Mayers did try first time shots without unduly troubling Fraser.
Calm and Collected
Woods was calm and collected at centre half and Moore and Tansey were also reliable. There was hardly a pin point’s difference between the teams. One more O’Neill foiled Fleming making a drive save to turn away a header, which looked bound for the back of the net. Approaching half time Sunderland had again taken the upper hand and some of the earlier sound combination of the Blues was missing. Mayers was not able to make much progress against McDonald and Harris’s passes had been going adrift, Everton’s defence, however, was putting up a solid show. The strong wind was undoubtedly helping the home side’s cause. An Everton breakaway saw Parker put Mayers in possession and the winger, cutting in quickly, tested Fraser from an acute angle, but it was not a very difficult shot to handle. Harris squared the ball nicely from the right flank, but Daniel beat Eglington to it by a split second. Everton came again and were working out their attacks by nine constructive play, O’Neill had to give a corner to foil Shackleton and another when he palmed a Bingham effort over the bar.
Half-time; Sunderland nil, Everton nil.
With the wind at their backs, Everton were quickly on the attack on resuming and Harris, taking the ball on the run from a Mayers pass, shot into the side netting as he was harassed by Fraser. Neither side produced football in the early portions of the second half of the same calibre as in the earlier part of the game, but when Shackleton came from outside right to try to infuse a little more method and punch onto the home attack matters looked dangerous until the winger’s final shot screwed away wide of the post. At the 58th minute Sunderland got the ball into the net when Bingham sent over a high cross to which Purdon, Woods and O’Neill all rose together. Purdon, however, handled the ball into the net and the referee agreed with Everton’s protests on the matter. Sunderland were now piling on the pressure, with Shackleton all over the place, loke an eel. Twice Woods who had kept his head’ under, heavy stress, stepped into the breach to forestall Purdon.
The Everton goal bore a charmed life during a spell of hot Sunderland pressure. One shot by Anderson was deflected out of O’Neill’s reach when it struck a defender but was cleared a couple of yards from the line. Next, Fleming was through on his own with only O’Neill to beat from no more than six yards out, but he shot almost straight at the keeper. When Moore tripped Shackleton just on the edge of the penalty area, the Sunderland man tried to wangle “a penalty by throwing himself inside the area, but the referee was too wily and Moore, who had stood perfectly still after the offence, confirmed the evidence. Woods was continuing to be the dominant figure in the visiting defence and never lost his poise. At last Everton came away again for Wainwright to fire a strong shot just over the bar. There was now however, the balance or fluency about the Blues that there had been in the first half. Sunderland continued on the offensive and after the best bit of combined play this half Shackleton was baulked at the last moment by Wainwright. Play had deteriorated considerably and was not a patch on what we had seen in the first half. During another melee in front of the visiting goal the ball bounced so awkwardly that Shackleton and Purden and finally Fleming with an open goal could not add the right finishing touch. Though Sunderland forced three corners in quick succession, the Blues still held out with everybody, including Harris, back in the defence. Everton’s concentration on defence had meant for some time that when they did get away there were only three forwards up. Harris was doing his best but it was almost an impossible task. Final; Sunderland nil, Everton nil. Official attendance 45,978.
MATT WOODS MADE HIS DEBUT IN FINE STYLE
October 29, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
By Peter Farrell
There is an old saying in football that soccer followers are very fickle and soon forget, I am sure that Dave Hickson, last Saturday, surely thought this statement untrue as far as Evertonians are concerned. The Blues supporters certainly gave the former Everton centre forward a rousing reception when he led his Aston Villa team-mates on to the field last week. it must have been a very proud moment for Dave to hear the tremendous ovation ringing in his ears and to realize that the thousands of Evertonians had not forgotten his deeds of not so long ago for the Blues. “Before last week’s game Dave came in to the home dressing room to have a word with all his former colleagues, and there was quite a deal of leg-pulling as we asked him what his special plans were for out-witting the Blues’ defence, again, at the toss for choice of ends, when the blonde centre forward, looking very unfamiliar in the claret and blue jersey, won the toss, he smilingly said to me “There is no need to tell you, Peter, which way I am going to play.” Naturally, it was towards the Stanley goal end, which Hickson knows well is the goal into which the Blues like to play in the first half providing the elements are favourable. At the end of the game the crowd rose again to Dave as he left the field and although Hickson’s return to Goodison as a Villa player didn’t end as Dave would have wished I am sure he will never forget the reception given him by the fans. What an ordeal this game must have been for young Matt Woods deputizing for Tommy Jones, and facing the dashing Hickson in his Division 1 debut at Goodison. It was nothing new, however, for Matt to be opposed to Hickson, as for several years they have played against each other practically every week at Bellefield in the usual weekly game between the Blues and the Reserves. Woods gave a brilliant display last week and certainly proved he has the big match temperament by his coolness under pressure and his constructive use of the ball. Well done Matt. My only regret is that you didn’t get the encouragement of the terrific ovation your Goodison debut in Division 1 warranted at the end of the game. Many people to whom I have spoken have asked me to explain how the form of the Blues could be so different in the second half as compared with the side’s brilliant showing before half-time. Well, I am afraid I find it very hard to explain. When a side is playing well and has a two-goal advantage everyone is playing with confidence but when the lead is reduced to a single goal the opposition very often steal the imitative as the other side struggles to regain its former advantage. This is what happened in some degree last Saturday, and although I fully agree that such should not be the case, such is the uncertainty of football and it is very hard to know what trend a game will take at my stage of the match. In Dublin last week I had the experience of playing against Yugoslavia for the first time ever. They came to Ireland with a very impressive international record in recent years, and by their display in Dalymounth Park certainly lined up to their high reputation as talented footballers. Practically all of them were good ball players with that happy knack of being in the right place at the right time which seems to be a feature of nearly all Continental sides at the moment. For all their good football, however, the finishing of the Yugoslavians was a little on the weak side. In fact three of their four goals resulted from mistakes by Irish defenders rather them from clear cut moves from the opposition.
O’NEILL AND WOODS OUTSTANDING
October 31, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
Sunderland 0, Everton 0
A point away from home is always a good performance, no matter what may be the League rating of the opposition. When it is gained at the expense of the temporary leaders, as was the case with Everton’s visit to Roker Park then it must rank as extremely satisfactory. The fact that Sunderland had most of the play, and that the visiting goal had far more narrow escapes than Sunderland’s does not detract from the merit of Everton’s performance. Defence is part of the game just as much as attack, and though the visitors for long spells in the second half were under strong siege, they held out gallantly to the end. It is true that they were fortune on some occasions, and that the ball was several times scrambled away more by good luck than anything else, but never at any time did the Everton defence relax its concentration and covering up or show any signs of panic. When everybody plays his part so well to the general defensive scheme it may seem invidious to single out one or two for special mention. While that cannot be avoided here, the fact does not detract from the excellent manner in which all the others bore their full share of the burden. The two who stood out most were centre half Woods and goalkeeper O’Neill. Woods playing only his fifth senior game in over five years might have been a veteran of the ripest senior experience.
Never once was he hurried or flurried not even when Sunderland were battering away for all they were worth at Everton’s hard-pressed rearguard did Woods lose his head or his poise in the air he had the beating of Purdon every time and on the ground his positioning and anticipation were such that it was rare his opponent escaped his clutches. His constructive work was not as good in the second portion as it had been earlier. That, however, was not to be wondered at. By this time Everton were so hard pressed that it was rare anybody had time to do other than the immediate and most necessary task. Yet even so when it was possible to attempt the build up of a counter move some effort was made to use the ball to the best advantage. O’Neill made two brilliant saves in the first half from headers by Fleming when he could not have been blamed had he been beaten. In each case he divided full length to his right to turn away a ball which was bound for the back of the net. Another save from the same player in the second half, at point blank range, was almost as good and to these three efforts must be added several more when he took charge of high balls and plucked them off the heads of opponents in the nick of time.
Able support was lent by Moore and Tansey at full back and by wing halves Farrell and Lello, while when Everton were hanging on grimly in the closing stages of the second half Wainwright also did good work, once forestalling Shackleton just as the latter was about to finish off a grand Sunderland move in the manner their supporters had long been wanting to see. The second half was almost all Sunderland for Everton were on the defensive so much that when they did get away their forwards were always out numbered. The first portion had provided some excellent on-the ground football, with the ball moved speedily and accurately. Though Everton never produced scoring chances to compare with the home side they had periods when they came strongly in the game up to the penalty area. Harris, however, was not too well supported and the forward line as a whole though occasionally showing attractive approach work, rarely looked as dangerous as the Sunderland attack. Mayers and Harris were the best, but Eglington had a disappointing day.
The star forward was Shackleton. Some of his touches in the first half were brilliant and all though he did two men’s work in an endeavour to snatch the winning goal. The general standard of play after the interval fell away badly. Craft and subtedly were cast aide as Sunderland tried to batter their way through, and Everton had their hands so full they were unable to carve out much in the way of attack. This was the first time Sunderland had scarified a point a Roker this season and though they were not at their best in some respects it was probably due as much to Everton’s well knit defensive measures and keen tackling as anything else Sunderland could only play as well as they were permitted.
EVERTON RES 1, MANCHESTER CITY RES 2
October 31, 1955. The Liverpool Daily Post
A last minute goal enabled Manchester City Reserves to triumph in this Central League game at Goodison Park. Although Everton created sufficient openings to have made the issue safe the forwards shot wildly while the defence was caught napping when City took an early lead. The second half was very scrappy as neither team mastered the greasy ball on a treacherous surface. Lewis scored for Everton and Davies and Clarke for Manchester.
A BIT OF LUCK HELPED
October 31, 1955. The Liverpool Echo
Everton’s performance in taking a point from Sunderland –who were prevented from scoring for the first time this season, and had previously won, this campaign and last eight consecutive games a Roker – was a very meritorious one. I don’t deny that Everton had fortune on their side for in addition to three brilliant saves by O’Neill the visiting goal was kept on other occasions as much by good luck and bad finishing of Sunderland as anything else. Allowing for all that, however, ever credit must be given where it is due and Everton defended as stubbornly and in as closely knit a fashion as ever Arsenal in the heyday of their impregnability. In addition to O’Neill chief honours in defence went to Woods. I admit being a little apprehensive as to how this tall and strapping centre half would fare against Sunderland speedy and hard-hitting forward line, despite the excellent show he had put up against Villa the previous week. I need not have worried. He played like a man with years of senior experience. Never once did he show the slightest sign of nerves or hurry. While it would be wrong to say that he “strolled” through the game, he was always playing as though he had something in hand, and never made the semblance of an error. Farrell and Lello were excellent at wing half. When Everton were sharing the attacking honours fairly evenly with Sunderland in the first half they made splendid use of the ball. When the Blues had their backs to the wall after the interval they fought every inch of ground tooth and nail. Moore up against the brilliance of Shackleton came out of the ordeal well. Though Shackleton delighted the crowd with some characteristic artistry in the early stages of the game, he did most of it in the open spaces. When Moore was able to get to close grips with him the Sunderland wizard by no means had it all his own way.
Tansey was tested more by Bingham, and was a trifle fortunate to get away with his occasional obstructive tactics. He never gave up, however, and was a vital cog in the general defensive machinery in which everybody dovetailed and covered up exceedingly well. It was in attack that Everton failed to reproduce the form of which they are capable at their best. Even in the first half when they had a good share of the play, they did not move with complete balance and fluency. In the second half the inside forwards were often so far back in their own territory that few attacks had much hope of success for the home defence was always numerically superior. Mayers and Harris were the best of the front line, with Wainwright working tremendously hard without much to shot for his efforts. Too often the forwards who were up had nobody unmarked to whom to pass which was probably why Mayers sometimes appeared to hold up progress by not getting the ball over first time. To do so would have meant making a present of it to the opposition. The Blues left wing was below par with Eglington having a disappointing day and rarely challenging the ball. Sunderland had three or four scoring openings to everyone which Everton carved out, but their finishing was far below what one expected from a side which had previously averaged three goals per game. Fleming was foiled three times by O’Neill. Two of his saves were of the acrobatic Continental fashion when he threw himself full length to his right to beat out headers which seemed certain to score. The other was at point-blank range from a typical Fleming cannonball “drive.” The home defence was never seriously extended. Even when Everton were putting fourth their best efforts. Daniel and his colleagues seemed to have everything well under control. The best Everton effort was a Harris shot off a Mayers upward pass which the centre forward took on the run in the old fashioned manner and crashed into the side netting. I felt that if he had back-heeled the ball as Fraser ran out, and then veered inwards he would have been a certain scorer, but it is easy to sit in the stand and say what should have been done. Harris might have pulled it off in any case had he been able to screw the ball back another foot or so.