BIRKETT SIGNS PRO
February 1, 1944. The Evening Express
Wilfred Birkett, Everton’s 20-year-old goalkeeper, who is in is second season with the club has signed professional. Birkett who is a miner was formally with Haydock B and C Recs, and this season has been playing brilliantly as a “guest” with Tranmere Rovers.
Mr. Theo Kelly, secretary of Everton, states that among the things left behind after Saturday’s record crowd at Goodison Park were four overcoat belts. They were found inside the Goodison-road entrances, and may be had on application to the club. Take your overcoat along so that the belts can be matched.
EVERTON TEAM SELECTED
February 1, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
There will be little change in the Everton side which tackles Wrexham at Goodison Park for, apart from Mercer the same players are available. Watson is expected to be fit again and there is a possibility that Boothway may return, if not required by Manchester City. Greenhalgh who missed both Derby games through an accident at work is a possibility at left back, but if he is not fit Jack Jones will remain there. Should Boothway be free he will go to outside right. Thus the team will be;- Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh (or Jones J.E.); Grant, Jones (T.G.), Watson; Boothway (or A.N. Other), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
Birkett a Professional
Birkett the Everton goalkeeper who has been on loan to Tranmere Rovers for some time, has now been signed professional. He is in his second season with Everton and displayed fine form. Since going to the Rovers he has given many excellent displays. His performances against Liverpool at Anfield last month and on Christmas Day could not be surpassed. He joined Everton from Haydock C and B and is a miner. He is the daring type of goalkeeper.
MOST IMPROVED TEAM
February 4, 1944. The Evening Express
There should be a crowd of about 15,000 spectators at Goodison Park tomorrow to see Everton tackle the most-improved team in the north. Wrexham –the only club among all the qualifiers able to claim a 100 per cent record in January. Not since they lost at Anfield on the opening day of the qualifying series have Wrexham dropped a point. This is great going, and testimony to the all-round brilliance of the team. Throughout the season, Wrexham have been playing good football but failures in front of goal cost them dearly. Now they have righted that wrong, and Liverpool, Tranmere Rovers (twice) and Chester (twice) have been beaten in turn. Personally I think Wrexham’s proud record will be broken tomorrow, for Everton are playing grand football, and while the Blues still have team doubts I think they will be good enough to win because of their brilliance at half-back and potency in attack. Everton’s chief doubt affects the outside-right position. Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly has not yet been able to make a decision, and it may be that A.E. Higgins the local amateur who was with Tranmere Rovers, will get a big chance. This is only a “maybe” of course. A decision will not be made until later, and we are not likely to know until just before the game whether Greenhalgh or Jack Jones will be at left back. Wrexham bring their new stars, Foxall, (West Ham) and Revell (Charlton Athletic) and Scottish international, in Bremner and Livingstone. Their inside-forwards. Brenmer and Malam have been going great guns of late, but I have a feeling they will not readily shake of Grant and Watson; in fact the quick with Newsome at outside-right again should set the seal on another win for the Blues to what should be one of the outstanding games of the day, starting at three o’clock. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh (or J.E. Jones); Grant, Tommy Jones, Watson; A.N. Other, Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (C.), Jefferson; Livingstone, Tudor, Hill; Reveil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Foxall.
WREXHAM FACE BIG TEST
February 4, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton should have no great difficulty in beating Wrexham at Goodison Park. Wrexham have surprised themselves since the Cup tournament commenced for they are bang up with the leaders having lost only one game in six, and that was to Liverpool at Anfield, on Christmas Day. They have a stiffest proposition on hand at Goodison Park tomorrow for Everton apart from their defeat by Liverpool a week ago have been knocking up cricket scores before their own supporters and away for that matter. Wrexham, however, have become a confident side owing to their run of success, but they must not become over-confident for that is not bad as no confidence at all. They have played many fine games without getting their full reward, for they lacked the presence of marksmen, but nowadays they have got together a line which is not only capable of framing an attack, but finishing it off with goals. They are sure to put up a bold front to Everton, who, however, are much prolific goals corers. They have scored thirty-three goals to Wrexham’s fifteen. With the return of Mercer to the South, Watson will return to left half, and Greenhalgh, if fit, will take over the left back position. If he is not fully turned up, Jack Jones will continue to do good work in defence. That outside right position is still proving heartache to Mr. Theo Kelly. The position is left vacancy for the time being, filled by an A.N. Other, although there is a possibility that a local boy in A. Higgins will fill the berth. Teams; Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh (or J.E. Jones); Grant, Jones (T.G.), Watson; A.N.Other, Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (C.), Jefferson; Livingstone, Tudor, Hill; Reveil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Foxall.
WREXHAM GET THE GOALS
February 5, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Surprised At Goodison
Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Hall (W.) (Liverpool), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, and McIntosh, (Preston), forwards. Wrexham;- Whitelaw, goal; Jones (C.) and Jefferson (Queens Park rangers), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (James) (Leeds), and Hill, half-backs Reveil (Charlton), Bremner, Horseman (Bradford), Malam, and Foxall (West Ham), forwards. Referee; Mr. H.E. Lambert (Blackburn). There was a change in each side Hall, the Liverpool –player, came in as inside right for Everton and James Milburn the Leeds full back took Tudor’s place at centre half for Wrexham. Wrexham started with enterprising football and gave promise of being a worry to the Everton defence, for their play was of good quality –right up to the Everton standard, in fact. Yet it was Everton who had the first real scoring chance which came in the first few minutes. Hall was given the golden opportunity but he failed to make use of it, shooting badly from an excellent position. T.G. Jones playing against his old club showed what a polished player he really is, for by the simplest of tricks he got out of difficulties and turned an attack. The Welshmen were living up to their high position in the League table, giving an excellent exhibition of combined football. Lawton made some excellent passes to both wings, and McIntosh had some rare tussles with Cyril Jones, the Wrexham left back. He also had a shot deflected by a defender for a corner. There was any amount of good class football, yet curious as it may seen neither goalkeeper had a great deal to do. This no doubt speaks well for the defensives powers of both sides. Wrexham found T.G. Jones and his merry men alongside him a difficult proposition, just as the Everton forwards found Jefferson, Jones, and Milburn a knots problem to deal with.
Lawton Rounds Up.
Shots were few and far between. That was the only fault that could be found with the game, thus far, for when all is said and done it is shots at goal which are the essence of the game. At last a goal came to Everton. It was a two-piece suite between T.G. Jones and Lawton. The centre half pushed the ball up the middle, and Lawton bounded forward like a hare before the hounds, and as the ball dropped in front of him he hit it. The goalkeeper had come out in a last effort to close the door to the Everton leader, but he was just a fraction of a second too late, the ball was in the net and the goal scored at twenty two minutes. Wrexham still carried on with their nice soccer, and Malam tried a shot which was headed away by Jones, and Livingstone also tried to get the better of the Everton defence, but his shot was off the mark. Having tasted the sweets of a goal Lawton went after more, and made two shots, one of which was deflected and the other travelled outside.
Wrexham were showing a good front, to Everton, and they right with dangerous, and a equalising goal at 35 minutes. Bremner centred from the goal line midway between the corner flag and the Everton upright, and the ball sped straight to Foxall’s head and he nodded it over the goalkeeper’s hands into the net. The Wrexham right wing pair, Reveil and Bremner got together with the result that Bremner swept a ball off the goal line right across to Horseman, who gave Wrexham the lead at 38 minutes. Everton had stopped playing and appeals for offside. Whitelaw the Wrexham goalkeeper was in brilliant form. Not that he had any great number of shots to save, for he had a safe pair of hands when dealing with centres from the wings.
Half-time; Everton 1, Wrexham 2.
Lawton shot narrowly wide, Stevenson failed to contact the ball when five yards out, then came a penalty for Wrexham for hands off T.G. Jones but Malam to the consternation of his colleagues shot wide. This was a left off. Within three minutes Lawton had levelled the score, his shot travelling through Whitelaw’s legs and into the net. Time sixty three minutes. McIntosh forced the goalkeeper to make a save and at this point Everton were all out in their endeavour to score a winning goal. Wrexham surprised Everton in their play and determination and at 74 minutes Bremner after beating the Everton men, scored a thirds goal for Wrexham. They had other chances which were not successful and they were giving Everton a hot time. Final; Everton 2, Wrexham 3.
SIXTH WIN ON THE RUN
February 5, 1944. The Evening Express
Wrexham Beat Everton 3-2
Everton included a guest player from Liverpool, for the first time during the war football when they entertained Wrexham at Goodison Park today, in the League War Cup qualifying competition. This was Hall, for former Bootle boy, who is in his first term, at Anfield who came to solve Everton’s outside right problem. Greenhalgh and Watson, who had recovered from injuries, returned to the home side. Wrexham had Jimmy Milburn centre half. Wrexham had won their last five matches in succession. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Hall (W.) (Liverpool), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, and McIntosh, (Preston), forwards. Wrexham;- Whitelaw, goal; Jones (C.) and Jefferson (Queens Park Ranger), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (James) (Leeds), and Hill, half-backs Reveil (Charlton), Bremner, Horseman (Bradford), Malam, and Foxall (West Ham), forwards. Referee; Mr. H.E. Lambert (Blackburn). A dog encroaching on the field delayed the start. Everton soon got to work, Stevenson passing out for Hall to take a first time shot which flashed by the post. Some good work by Watson and Greenhalgh kept Everton on the offensive and Hall twice ran through well, only to find Jefferson cutting out his centres. Jefferson, ran through and his centre swept across the face of the Everton goal, and then Whitelaw fisted away strongly a menacing centre from Mcintosh. Wainwright broke through well but instead of feeding Lawton placed to the wing, and Hall came out well in a close tussle with the strong Jefferson. Wainwright eventually cut in and shot for Whitelaw to save. After Lawton had headed over Whitelaw ran out to dive at the feet of McIntosh and clear.
Wrexham played good football but were inclined to overdo the close passing. Their defence was exceptionally strong in close tackling and the alone kept Everton at bay as the “blues” warmed to their work. Everton were generally cutting out the work without gaining the mastery in the penalty area, and it came as a change to see Horseman come through with a shot which was yards too high. McIntosh ran through from Lawton’s pass, but as he was about to shoot he was bowled over –a narrow escape for Wrexham. In 23 minutes Everton took the lead through Lawton with a spectacular goal. Tom Jones held up a Wrexham attack just outside his own penalty area and placed straight up the middle, for Lawton to speed past Milburn and crack the ball past Whitelaw first time, as the goalkeeper ran out to check him. Stevenson shot outside, and then a spurted Wrexham attack saw Malam’s first-timer headed out by Tommy Jones before Foxall place beyond the far post. Wrexham’s best effort to date came from Revill, who came across to the left, and let go a left foot shot which grazed the post, and then Lawton went through to shoot first time, but the ball went over.
In 33 minutes Wrexham drew level through Foxall. Reveill outwitted Greenhalgh and Watson and pushed the ball up the middle, where Bremner gathered it on the goalline. Bremner neatly hooked the ball back to Foxall to head into the net almost unchallenged. In 37 minutes Wrexham took the lead through Horseman as the direct outcome of a mistake by Wainwright. Wainwright passed back, but Grant could not possibly reach the ball, and Foxall gained possession to centre accurately to Horseman, who headed just inside the far post, Burnett making no effort to save, obviously thinking the ball was going wide. Wrexham kept it up, Livingstone going through and shooting by the far post, and then Greenhalgh successfully held up Horseman practically on the goal line. Everton kept up the pressure, but Whitelaw was masterly in cutting out the Everton centres.
Half-time; Everton 1, Wrexham 2
Whitelaw carried on where he had left off, twice coming out to take the ball right off the heads of Everton forwards. Up to now practically every centre Everton had delivered had gone into the hands of Whitelaw. Lawton was getting few openings made for him, but now he shot from the edge of the penalty area, the ball bouncing wide of the post. Everton, however, were too easily upset by the quick-moving Wrexham defence, and after Stevenson had missed good chance from Lawton’s pass, Wrexham took up the initiative. Everton’s defence because almost desperate, and Burnett, Jones and Watson only just prevented the Welshmen from increasing their lead.
Wrexham should have made it three in 59 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for “hands” against Tommy Jones, but Malam shot two yards wide from the spot. In 63 minutes Everton thus encouraged drew level through Lawton. Greenhalgh robbed Revell and slipped the ball through to McIntosh, who turned it inside for Lawton to score with a left foot shot, the ball actually passing between the legs of the outrunning Whitelaw. Everton returned to the attack, Whitelaw diving to make a brilliant save off McIntosh, and when Everton came again Hall shot along the floor with Whitelaw beaten, but Jefferson, standing on the goalline, kicked away for a corner. Lawton got the ball into the net again, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Everton were showing tremendous improvement and were hammering hard at a fine Wrexham defence. In 74 minutes Wrexham regained the lead through Bremner. Jones had possession, but failed to clear, and Bremner slipped through to score with a shot which Burnett touched but could not prevent entering the net. Everton were soon at it again, Whitelaw a magnificent one-handed save off a header from Lawton. Burnett made a fine save from Revell, but when he came out to catch the ball and missed it, Horseman shot over the vacant goal. Final; Everton 2, Wrexham 3.
EVERTON STROKE A BAD PATCH
February 7, 1944. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 2, Wrexham 3
Why Wrexham Won
Once in a while it comes to all clubs to strike bad game. It was Everton’s turn on Saturday. They had been playing so well recently that no one, not even the Wrexham people, expected them to lose. Still Wrexham won by 3-2. Without attempting to take away any of the praise for victory from the winners, who were the better side, it was Everton’s factadasical display and Wrexham’s enterprise form, which brought Everton to heel. Wrexham demonstrated that their form, which has enabled them to win six victories in succession, was not mare luck, but the result of high quality football.
Pace and Team Work
They had just as many good moves as Everton but add to that pace and team work and you have the answer to their triumph. Fore and aft were better than Everton, an Everton that failed to produce the football which made the two derby games outstanding. Goodison Park has been the scene of some high scoring in recent weeks, but Everton never suggested that, they would register a big win, for Wrexham were doughy rivals, who were not concerned with what had gone before, but what was to come. They had gained in confidence as a result of their sequence of victories; had a belief in themselves which was absent before the start of the cup games, and played as a team. They were better workmen; the players linked up one with one another to make a complete whole, and by sound constructive football played Everton at their own game, and beat them at it.
A Team of Units
Whereas Wrexham were a united whole, Everton were units. They started well with some attractive football, but without goal-punch, and the same might be said of their opponents for they too could carry the play into enemy quarters by nice combination. Both sets of defenders were masters of the rival attacks, and so it was twenty-two minutes before the first goal was registered. T.G. Jones sent the ball soaring up the middle, Lawton ran forward, anticipating where it would land, and got to it just in time to shoot, beating the advancing goalkeeper by a split second. But within eight minutes Wrexham had negatived that goal, Bremner scooping the ball across to Foxall, who headed beyond Burnett. That rather shook Everton, but Wrexham had not finished there. Wainwright fiddled until he was dispossessed, and Bremner again provided Horseman with a scoring opportunity what time Everton were appealing for offside. Whitelaw the Welshmen’s goalkeeper relieved his colleagues time and again by cutting out centres by moving out of goal and catching the ball like a cricketer, and so Wrexham had a 2-1 lead at the interval.
I realised then that Everton would have to pull themselves together to pull the game out of the fire, but as they started the second half with seemingly more purposeful play near miss by Lawton and a bad miss by Stevenson from five yards out there was still plenty of time to rectify matters, but as time went on Everton, instead of getting better became gradually worse. Wrexham still kept on with their stylish play, and were now worrying the Everton defence severely, so much so that T. Jones in his eagerness to clear away a dangerous attack handled the ball –I thought it was ball to hand and a penalty was granted, Malam entrusted with the kick made a hash of things by shooting wide. Three minutes after (sixty-three minutes) Lawton scored, shooting between the advancing goalkeeper’s legs to equalise. Lawton netted again, but was offside, and it was left to Bremner to score the winner. He beat two men to get position before shooting past Burnett. Near the end, Lawton had bad luck when an effort of his hit the angle of the posts, came out, and Whitelaw swept the ball away.
Left wing Curbed.
Not for an age have I seen Everton so ineffective; blame Wrexham for a lot of it, for their half-backs and backs hacked up the rare success defensively and constructively. They curbed the Everton left wing –its strong wing, and had little difficulty in holding the right for Hall; loaned by Liverpool, had a poor match after a promising start, Lawton was a done raider. He received three decent passes –scored from two of them and netted the third, which was disallowed. Everton waited for the ball; Wrexham went for it, and having got it made use of it. I am not going to individualise about the team, but simply any that good team work, fast and clever play beat Everton, who were slow by comparison, Attendance 14,309. Receipts £955. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Hall (W.) (Liverpool), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, and McIntosh, (Preston), forwards. Wrexham;- Whitelaw, goal; Jones (C.) and Jefferson (Queens Park Rangers), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (James) (Leeds), and Hill, half-backs Reveil (Charlton), Bremner, Horseman (Bradford), Malam, and Foxall (West Ham), forwards. Referee; Mr. H.E. Lambert (Blackburn).
• Liverpool beat Crewe Alexandra 3-1. Campbell, Liddell (2) for Liverpool. Hancock for Crewe, Crewe missed two penalties.
WREXHAM SURPRISE EVERTON
February 7, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton slipped up badly against Wrexham at Goodison Park and have no other excuse than admit that the Welshmen were the better side on the day’s play. It was a great transformation to what they had shown in the two Derby games, and it is difficult to think of a reason for such a slump. It was just one of those days which comes to all clubs in turn; nothing would go right for them. Wrexham have had such an experience, aye, plenty of it before the Cup tournament started. There was no “bite” in Everton’s play, no heartiness with which to match that of Wrexham’s and the latter produced as much skill at their rivals, which rather surprised the locals. Wrexham have done so well in the Cup that they were acknowledged as a greatly improved side, but at Goodison Park, well, it was a foregone conclusion that Everton would check the Welshmen’s triumphal march. Wrexham have been the surprises packet of the tournament and it is easy to see why they are high up in the table. The team came to hand at the right moment, and if it can be kept together should have a good run in the competition proper. There was a time when Tom Williams the hon, secretary and manager, bore a worried look brought about by a run of defeats with the outlook anything but encourages. A winning combination could not be found, and their prospects in the Cup anything but rosy. Times have changed and the Wrexham directors can now view their outlook in a different light. Their side had qualified, but more than that, the team is playing so well that they may prove the “giant killers” of the tournament. They certainly played cleverly against Everton renewed for their high-class football, and matched anything Everton produced with faultless football of their own. The Everton officials were the first to congratulate Wrexham on their success, and went further by saying. “You were the better side.” And there was no arguments. They were1 For quite a time the defence were masters of the situation for they cut into the cleverly-conceived plans by timely interventions and confident tackling. Everton started off well producing tip-top football, but they found it answered by Soccer of a like manner. But Wrexham introduced more snap, and that was the great difference. There was no waiting for the ball –they sought it and worked it about just as scientifically as Everton, who fell into their old faults of waiting for the ball to come to them, with the result that it often did not arrive; Wrexham had got it.
WREXHAM FIND PLACE IN CUP “ SUN.”
February 7, 1944. The Evening Express
Wrexham, training ground of so many brilliant Welsh internationals, but with a wartime club, which, so far as luck is concerned has been something of a “Cinderella,” today have found a place in the “Sun “and occupy the proud position of leading the seven Merseyside clubs in the League North War Cup qualifying Competition. Only two clubs of the 56 claim a better record. Time was when Wrexham almost lost heart. They were counted out of the cup competition by percentage allocation. That was two seasons ago. Last season they also failed to reach the 32 precious places. Right up to Christmas this season Wrexham received few of the smiles of Dame Fortune. They played good football, but it seemed to get them nowhere. The opening of the cup competition on Boxing Day brought another defeat –at Anfield. The officials could have been excused for asking “Is there any justice, or is there any reward for good football!” Came the dawn of 1944, and with it that turn of fortune for which all Wrexham have been yearning and for which the club officials have been striving so zealously. The thought that there was sunshine just beyond the shadows must have kept up the hearts of the club directors, officials and players. They stuck to their task and today stand third among the qualifiers with a dozen points out of the last fourteen and claiming six victories in succession. Wrexham are enjoying their merriest wartime run, crowned on Saturday with a grand 3-2 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. And not one of the 14,302 spectators could deny that honours and the points went to the more deserving combination. Two successive home defeats have sent the Blues down the League ladder after their triumphant opening, but Liverpool following their home defeat at Everton’s hands, have won twice away, and are once again playing an important part in the race not only for qualification, but for league honours. Everton and Liverpool now claim 10 points apiece. Writing before the Goodison game, I stated that Wrexham were the most-improved club in the North. Frank Hill and company ensured that I was right, for despite the fact that maybe Everton had more of the pressure than Wrexham the Blues never touched the heights of the Wrexham football standard; never did their defence knit together so expertly; never did they, as a team, carry the threat of Wrexham. Some averred that Everton gave their worst display for months.” I do not agree, Everton were below par because of the power of the opposition. The only excuse for Everton is that they were not good enough for Wrexham, whose very tactics knocked to atoms Everton’s team-work and dove-tailing, I thought during the early stages that Wrexham were going to give us too much “pretty-pretty” and back passes; in fact it took another typical Lawton goal –in 23 minutes –to impress on them the need for greater directness in attack. From the moment Lawton banged the ball home Wrexham began to give us more action and less of the pattern-weaving. Their half-backs took a grip on the proceedings and with Malam acting as forager and Bremner playing upfield they contrived not only to draw level but to take a half-time lead.
Foxall got the first when nobody challenged his right to nod home a Bremner lob, and Foxall made the second following an Everton error. Horseman heading home. Hand it to Everton for a spirited fight back in the second half but when Wrexham turned on the “heat” again they were awarded a penalty for hands. Malam shot well wide, and indicated in no uncertain manner. It was not surprising that the Blues took heart from that for they went away and Lawton received his second workable pass of the day. Yes, it was a goal. Believe it or not, Lawton then got his third pass and again he had the ball into the net, but the point was disallowed for offside. Lawton got no more passes after that, so perhaps that is one of the reasons the Blues could not recover again after Bremner had taken full advantage of a mistake by Tommy Jones. Wrexham’s brilliant defence kept a strong grip on Everton’s disjointed attack to the end to bring joy to Chairman Mr. John Hughes. Directors Messrs Herbert Pritchard, George Turner, Tom Williams, and Madeley and Dr. Llody, and to secretary-manager Mr. Tom Williams. I rated Wrexham a grand all-round team working completely in unison with enterprise in attack and solidity in defence. Stars Whitelaw, a nimble goalkeeper, who obviated harder work by the skill in which he came out to take charge of all centres –and I mean all. Their other “own players,” Hill, and Cyril Jones, again took my eye; in fact Jones kept Jimmy McIntosh in check –no mean feat. Jimmy Milburn adopted full-back tactics at centre half, but made them pay and Livingstone’s constructive arts were delightful. Livingstone is Scottish Wembley candidate. Bremner and Foxall were the outstanding forwards in a line of bonny triers and Jefferson has certainly lightened up the defence.
The only man on the Everton side who stood blameless for the defeat was Lawton. Three passes in 90 minutes were all Lawton received, and he made full use of them. For long periods, however, the one player who looked likely to save the game was left to plough a lonely furrow. Main reason was that Stevenson and Wainwright were right off their game. “Stevie” being slow to master the ball and pass and Wainwright too often trapping it for the opposition McIntosh was rather subdued, and Hall, on loan from Liverpool, where he is in his third season, and not first, as a telephone error credited me with saying in our football editions on Saturday, never once touched his Anfield form. A flashy opening was followed by a fade-out except for one good shot which Jefferson kicked away off the line. Believe me, Evertonians Hall is a much better winger than you saw in this game. Tommy Jones did some delightful things, but was too easily “rattled” by Horseman, and both Jackson and Greenhalgh were uncertain. Grant I placed next to Lawton with Watson a good third, though both have played better. Burnett too, has revealed better judgement in positional play, but there it was, just one of those days when Everton were forced to play second fiddle to a good all-round soccer combination. It was good to shake hands with Tommy Griffiths and Ted Savage, two of our old favouities, again, and I heard that Dixie Dean is now out of hospital following his head injury, but that he may go in again shortly for another ankle operation. Everton team news for next Saturday is rather vague and not too cheerful. Lawton will be playing at Wolverhampton, and Stevenson and Tommy Jones are doubtful, Secretary Mr. Kelly may not be able to make any announcement until Wednesday, but you Blues can take heart that a side bereft of some stars won the Anfield duel.
“THE BOSS” OKAY
February 8, 1944. The Evening Express
Followers of Everton will be pleased to know that Ted Sagar, the clubs international goalkeeper, known to his club mates as “The Boss,” is going on well in the Middle East. Unfortunately for Ted he has only had one touch of a ball in six months. That was when he had a five minute kick-about with some colleagues –a fact which was duly noted in the Army news-sheet. Ted sends his good wishes to all his Goodison Park friends and looks forward to seeing them at the “Celebration Stakes.” Ted adds congratulations to Everton on they recent heavy scoring, and wonders whether Mr. Theo Kelly has been giving “gland treatment.” From the East comes a East comes a letter from another Merseyside sportsman, Mr. Johnny Best, junior, now Lieut. Best of the Indian Navy. Johnny is in grand trim, and also sends his “very best” to all fight fans in the area.
HIIGINS’ DEBUT IN EVERTON TEAM
February 10, 1944. The Evening Express
A. E. Higgins, the amateur outside right, who joined Everton from Tranmere Rovers, will make his debut in the Football League when, on Saturday, he plays for the Blues in the return War Cup qualifying match with Wrexham, at the Racecourse. Higgins takes the place of Billy Hall, of Liverpool, and has made rather rapid advancement, for it was only two or three weeks ago that he was playing with the Colts team. Higgins will have an amateur partner in Eddie Wainwright. Harry Catterick, the pre-war reserve centre-forward, who has been playing with Stockport County, is recalled to play in place of Lawton. Catterick is a rare opprtunisist who has been scoring pretty regularly with the County. It will be Catterick’s first game with the Blues for about two years. One of the best items, of news from Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly is that Tommy Jones, Welsh international and club captain, will be able to play against his former club. The one team doubt is at inside-left. Alex Stevenson’s R.A.F, duties prevent his playing, and rather than give a lot of “ifs” and “ands” Mr. Kelly is leaving the position vacant until later. The remainder of the team is unchanged from last week. Watson having got over the knock he received late on last Saturday. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; A.E. Higgins, E. Wainwright, Catterick, A.N. Other, McIntosh.
Everton Reserves (v. Marine); Birkett; Moore, Morris; Rainford, McDonnell, Doyle; Linaker, Smith, Wyles, Ashley, Makin.
Everton Colts; Prince; Melling, A.N.Other; Barrett, H. Williams, Kenny; J. Williams, Perrin, Buckle, Bergin, R. Williams.
Wrexham will be without Foxall, of West Ham, but will bring back Baines, the coloured lad from the West Indies. Otherwise the team is the same as that at Goodison. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (Cyril), Jefferson; Livingstone, Milburn, Hill; Revil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Baines.
February 10, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
With Tom Lawton helping the Western Command at Wolverhampton on Saturday, Everton had to look round for a new leader for their return cup-tie with Wrexham at the Racecourse. But that has not been Mr. Theo Kelly’s only worry, for he had to find a substitute for Stevenson, who cannot be released from duty. He was obtained Catterick to fill Lawton’s position, but so far he has been able to fill the Irishman’s place so that “A.N. Other” is at inside left for the time being. A.E. Higgins who was down to play last week, but gave way to Hall links up with Wainwright on the right wing. The remainder of the side stands intact. Catterick has not played for Everton for a considerable time, but has been doing well with Stockport County. He is an opportunist and is noted for his quick burst through the middle. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (Cyril), Jefferson; Livingstone, Milburn, Hill; Revil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Baines. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; A.E. Higgins, E. Wainwright, Catterick, A.N. Other, McIntosh.
Everton Reserves (v. Marine); Birkett; Moore, Morris; Rainford, McDonnell, Doyle; Linaker, Smith, Wyles, Ashley, Makin. Marine; F. Foster; T. Hannah, G. Welsby, P. Edwards; S. Dacher, D. Craig, G. O’Neill, J. Veacock, M. McPeake, E. Lee, A. Rackham.
BLUES’ HARD TASK
February 11, 1944. The Evening Express
There is no denying that Everton face a particularly hard task in tackling Wrexham. Britain’s most-improved side, at the Racecourse. Wrexham with 12 points already earned, cannot lose their place among the qualifiers, but Everton are in a similar position to Liverpool, and just one will turn a good thing into a certainly. Let me say at once that Everton will need to play better than they did at Goodison last week, when Wrexham provided one of the shocks of the day by winning 3-2. Naturally, form indicates Wrexham completing the “double” especially as Everton will be without Lawton and Stevenson, but Wrexham would do well to remember that the Everton they defeated last week was not the real Everton, but a side well below ordinary form. It will not surprise me to find Everton turning the tables completely, for I have not forgotten that the Blues won at Anfield after a series of last minute team changes. However, Wrexham are especially favoured with regard to “guest” players and are a really excellent combination. If the local folk do not ensure that the Racecourse houses it’s best crowd of the season then it will be poor; thanks to Wrexham’s brilliant run of six successive victories. Baines will be at outside-left for Wrexham in place of Foxall and Catterick takes over the leadership of the Everton attack with amateur A.E. Higgins at outside-right –his League debut. So far Everton have not named Stevenson’s deputy at inside-left. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (Cyril), Jefferson; Livingstone, Milburn, Hill; Revil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Baines. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; A.E. Higgins, E. Wainwright, Catterick, A.N. Other, McIntosh.
EVERTON PLAYER P.O.W
Friday 11 February 1944. The Liverpool Evening Express
John Lyon a 20-years-old Everton football inside left and former English Schoolboy International, previously report missing, is a prisoner o War in Germany. Lyon is a member of a well known Whiston football family and was captain of Whiston Central School and St Helens and Lancashire Schools boys. He joined Everton two seasons before the war and was made captain of their “B” team.
THE BEST REQUIRED
February 11, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton have a stiff task ahead of them at the Racecourse, especially so as they will be without Lawton and Stevenson. The best is required, for on what Wrexham should last week they are the most improved side in the North. They won on their merit, and are confident that they will repeat their victory on their own ground. They played fine football, and I don’t think the one change they have been forced to make will affect them, for Baines is a clever little fellow, full of tricks and ability. He takes the place of Foxall, who is not available. Everton are not certain as to what the ultimate composition of their side will be, but the last three lines stand fast. The youngster. A. Higgins, who should have played fast week, but stood down for Hall, as at outside right, and is said to be a boy of distinct promise. The centres forward position goes to Catterick. The last time Catterick was at Goodison Park was for Manchester United, when he scored a goal which enabled the United to draw. Catterick is an opportunist quick off the mark and a danger to the best defence. He has been playing for Stockport County, for whom he has scored a goodly number of goals. He will have to be in shooting form to beat the Wrexham goalkeeper, Whitelaw who has a grand pair of hands. The inside left berth is uncertain at the moment, filled by A.N. Other. Wrexham; Whitelaw; Jones (Cyril), Jefferson; Livingstone, Milburn, Hill; Revil, Bremner, Horseman, Malam, Baines. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; A.E. Higgins, E. Wainwright, Catterick, A.N. Other, McIntosh.
WREXHAM SCORE FIRST
February 12, 1944. The Evening Express
Everton’s Hard Fight
Everton were the visitors to Wrexham today. Wrexham:- Whitelaw, goal; Jones and Jefferson (Queens Park Rangers), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (J.) (Leeds), and Hill, backs; Reveil (Charlton), Bremner, Horsman (Bradford) , Malam, and Baines, forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) and Watson, half-backs; Higgins, Smith, Catterick, Wainwright, and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Lee (Newcastle-Under-Lyne). There were about 10,000 spectators. Wrexham only change from the side which won at Everton was Baines at outside left for Foxall, the West Ham winger. Everton, who were without both Lawton and Stevenson, had Catterick at centre-forward and Smith and Wainwright as his inside men. Wrexham were the more aggressive side at the opening, and the Everton defence had to be constantly on the alert to prevent the Wrexham forwards from getting an opening. Bremner was particularly prominent in these early Wrexham attacks. Everton gradually settled down, and their forwards became dangerous raiders. Once Whitelaw had to come out of goal to pick up a centre from McIntosh. In further Everton attacks Jefferson twice stopped Wainwright and Catterick when these forwards-looked dangerous. Catterick was showing himself ever ready to seize a chance, and Milburn was kept fully occupied in looking after the centre-forward. Wainwright forced a corner, and when Whitelaw came out to take McIntosh’s corner kick he missed the ball completely. Fortunately for Wrexham, Hill was able to avert further danger by conceding another corner. This was cleared.
Revell had a capital chance of scoring for Wrexham, but he drove over when well placed. Wrexham attacked strongly but the Everton defence, with T.G. Jones, a conspicuous member of it, never wavered. McIntosh was excellently placed for scoring when Catterick allowed a centre by Higgins to go to the outside left. McIntosh, however, delayed his shot, and he was dispossessed by Milburn. In a concentrated Wrexham attack, the ball hovered about the Everton goal, but the visiting defence was sound and prevented Wrexham from getting in a shot. McIntosh went close with a low drive which flashed inches wide of the upright. Revel drove across the Everton goal when in good scoring position. Near the interval Catterick was forcing his way through, following a pass from McIntosh, but Jefferson came across to intercept the centre-forward and concede a corner. A determined Everton attack saw shots by Catterick and Smith charged down by Milburn in the Wrexham goalmouth. In the last ten seconds of the first half Bremner converted a centre from Revell to give Wrexham the lead.
Half-time; Wrexham 1, Everton 0.
Wrexham returned to the attack when the teams returned to the attack when the teams resumed. Burnett saved from Baines, and in another attack the goalkeeper turned a shot from Horseman over the cross-bar for a corner. Nothing came of the corner, and Everton raced away for Whitelaw to save from Catterick. The Wrexham goalkeeper also, had to go full length to save a low shot from McIntosh by the goal post. The shot looked a scorer all the way and a goal would not have come as any surprise. Good collaboration between Catterick and his colleagues on the right promised results. McIntosh, however, spoiled the opportunity, when he tried to beat two men on receiving the ball from a left wing. The outside-left was repossession of the ball his centre was headed clear by Milburn. In 55th minute Horseman increased Wrexham’s lead, Catterick reduced the lead.
WREXHAM V. EVERTON
February 12, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Wrexham:- Whitelaw, goal; Jones and Jefferson (Queens Park Rangers), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (J.) (Leeds), and Hill, backs; Reveil (Charlton), Bremner, Horsman (Bradford), Malam, and Baines, forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) and Watson, half-backs; Higgins, Smith, Catterick, Wainwright, and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Lee (Newcastle-Under-Lyne). Quite the biggest gate the Racecourse has seen for five years, witnessed the return match between Everton and Wrexham, there being no fewer than 15,000 at the start. Watson brought up Bremner when he was making tracks, and Livingstone took a free kick forty yards from the target, but Greenhalgh cleared. McIntosh took the ball into enemy territory which, however, was occupied for only a brief time, for Bremner, passing on the ball, eluded J.E. Jones and slipped it to Horseman. Horseman gave it him back when he positioned himself better, and Bremner let fly, but luckily for Everton he lofted too much. In another lively attack Bremner essayed a goal with a diagonal shot which went wide. Everton were finding it difficult to clear out the invaders, but when they did McIntosh made his presence felt after a first class ran along the touch-line which he ended with a lovely cross. Whitelaw came out several feet and, stretching upwards with his hands, snapped the ball and punted it away. Everton kept up the pressure, and Milburn had to give a corner from McIntosh’s centre, when Whitelaw had fallen in running out to intercept Revell, after taking possession from a forward pass, cleverly dodged Greenhalgh, but gave his shot too much angle. Burnett was in difficulties through clever work by Baines, whose pass to Horseman kept so low that the Everton keeper had to make a more than one attempt to pick up. Wrexham’s goal came with the last kick of the first half. Bremner dashing in to meet a diagonal effort, Revill taking the defence by surprise and giving Burnett no chance.
Half-time; Wrexham 1, Everton 0.
Wrexham reopened with vigour and Burnett had to pick up from a dangerous shot by Baines. A shot from Revell was saved only by Burnett fisting over the bar. McIntosh hoped to draw level with a long oblique ground shot, which Whitelaw stopped at full length on the ground. Wainwright also tried a packet. Wrexham got another goal when Bremner ran through in slick style and slipped the ball to Horseman, who volleyed into the ceiling of the net –a lovely goal. This came about eight minutes after resumption.
February 14, 1944. The Liverpool Daily Post
Wrexham 2, Everton 1.
Another Setback For Everton.
That Wrexham merited their “double” against Everton –the third to their credit in the qualifying competition –is beyond dispute. The odd goal in three in favour of the Racecourse side gave a fairly accurate reflex of the game, which provided some excellent football and a few tardy thrills. There had been plenty of near misses at both ends before Bremner, with the last kick of the opening period, too, full advantage of Revell’s short quick pass. Perhaps this setback might have been averted with a quicker tackle by T.G. Jones, who did not settle down for a considerable time. Everton’s defences indeed were extended by a better balanced line of forwards, of whom Revell was conspicuous, especially in his duels with Greenhalgh. Bremner too, was a thorn in the flesh. Within a dozen minutes of the restart Wrexham strengthened their position with a delightful goal from Horseman, who receiving after Bremner had made a spectator dribble, hit the net celling. Again the Wrexham raiders had been too nippy for the opposition. Considering their many fruitless efforts, hitherto Everton were entitled to the goal that followed shortly afterwards from Catterick, who with his head contacted a high centre from McIntosh to guide it safely past Whitelaw. Everton never gave up hope even after netting the ball again in a hurely-burly and finding the success nullified by some unknown breach. Always Everton’s hopes and Wrexham’s fears were greatest when McIntosh had possession for he stood figuratively head and shoulders above the rest. Livingstone distinguished himself at right half and Milburn as pivot had the satisfaction of claiming once more that every time he has helped Wrexham he has been on the winning side. The turnstiles recorded 11,938 spectators, who paid £902. Everton were the visitors to Wrexham today. Wrexham:- Whitelaw, goal; Jones and Jefferson (Queens Park Rangers), backs; Livingstone, Milburn (J.) (Leeds), and Hill, backs; Revell (Charlton), Bremner, Horsman (Bradford) , Malam, and Baines, forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, Jones (T.G.) and Watson, half-backs; Higgins, Smith, Catterick, Wainwright, and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. F. Lee (Newcastle-Under-Lyne).
• Liverpool beat Crewe Alexandra 8-0. Balmer, Done (3), Campbell (2), Liddell, Beattie
• Lawton scored two goals for West Command against the R.A.F N.W X1 at Wolverhampton, R.A.F winning 5-3.
February 14, 1944. Evening Express
Everton were unfortunate to be beaten 2-1 by Wrexham at The Racecourse, where the gate of 11,939 was almost a war-time record for the ground. Everton are still wondering why they had a goal disallowed in the last few minutes. Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly said to me; we cannot make out why the goal was not allowed. Grant took a corner and the ball hit the bar and bounced up. As it came down Catterick jumped to it, and the ball struck a Wrexham defender and went into the net. Our player were delighted and congratulated Catterick, but the point was not allowed to stand. None of our players could see anything wrong.”
Apart from that incident the luck ran against Everton, who were the more assertive side; steadier in defence and having much more of the game due to excellence at inside-forward. Wrexham’s first goal –per Bremner – was due to Tom Jones allowing a bouncing ball to pass over him to an open space, and Bremner just went in and tapped it home. The second goal was a brilliant effort by Horseman and then Catterick headed through a swift McIntosh centre. This was a fine exhibition of football with the Blues hammering away right to the final whistle, and the home goal undergoing some narrow escapes. The task of Burnett and his fellow defenders was comparatively easy for Everton revealed vast improvement on their display at Goodison against Wrexham. Grant was again a star, and the new amateur winger Higgins moderate. Everton’s team for Saturday visit to Tranmere Rovers is not known yet, but there are hopes that Alex Stevenson will be available again. Lawton of course, will be an absentee.
February 14, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
As was generally expected, the Wrexham Everton match at the Racecourse provided some excellent football, and the result was a fair reflex of the game. Wrexham undoubtedly merited their “double” against the Goodison Parkers for they were more dangerous near goal. Long before a goal was scored there had been several near misses by both sides, but just before the interval Bremner took advantage of a Revell pass to beat Burnett. Had T.G. Jones made his tackle a second earlier the goal might have been averted? The Everton defence however, had been fully extended and the one between Greenhalgh and Revell, was one of the features of the match. The left winger was in grand form. Bremner was another who was a constant thorn in the side of the Everton defenders. Shortly after the resumption Horseman scored a nice goal to consolidate Wrexham’s position. It was Bremner’s work which made it. Everton could make little or nothing of the Wrexham defence, for most of their attacks were cut short before they became really dangerous. McIntosh who had played delightful football all though, saw one of his choice centres turned into a goal by Catterick –a header of good quality. Everton kept striving in the hope of at least gaining a draw, and actually netted the ball only to have the goal ruled out for an infringement. As usual it was Everton’s left wing which created most of the openings and McIntosh was as good as any player afield, but the nippiness of the home attack won the day. Livingstone and Milburn were rocks, in the Wrexham defence. It was a close affair, but Wrexham were worthy their win.
February 15, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Mid-week football matches have been taboo for so long that we have almost forgotten what they are like, so tomorrow’s match at Goodison Park (2.45) between two N.F.S. sides, which included many professional stars in an inter-Regional competition, is welcome.
February 16, 1944. The Evening Express
I have some excellent news for followers of Everton, Stan Bentham, regular inside-right of the 1939 championship side, returns to the team next Saturday for the first time since November 13. Stan has been selected to lead the Blues attack as deputy for Tommy Lawton in Saturday’s match with Tranmere Rovers –at Prenton Park and not Goodison Park as I inadvertently started yesterday. Yes, and Bentham’s last game was against the Rovers at Prenton. In that match in the autumn Bentham damaged an ankle, and after scoring once, went on the wing where he helped himself to two more goals. A visit to a specialists followed, and an immediate operation was ordered for the removal of loose pieces of bone. This was carried out successfully, and now Bentham is right back to fitness again, although he has been receiving treatment right up to recently. Bentham takes over from Catterick, and Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly announces another effort to solve the outside-right problem. This time the Blues will play in the position a player of outstanding experience and enthusiasm –George Jackson. He is one of those versatile players who seem able to do well in any position and he will link up with Eddie Wainwright, allowing Jackie Jones, who did so well in the Cup Derby game, to come in at right back. I have not the slightest doubt that this move will prove successful, for Jackson has given many good displays at outside right, just as he did at centre-forward and in goal, for he can middle a ball and that he can take chances is proved by the fact that he once banged home four goals against Liverpool. Alex Stevenson returns to inside left to add strength to the attack, and doubtless to the delight of Jimmy McIntosh, who always revels in the Stevenson “feeding.” The remaining positions remain unaltered in a side which possesses tremendous possibilities. Everton; Burnett; Jones (Jack), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson, McIntosh.
February 16, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Stan Bentham, Everton’s utility man, who has been out of the game since November through injury is fit, and makes a welcome return to the side for their match at Prenton Park against Tranmere Rovers. Another change is Jackson at outside right a position which has caused Everton a heap of trouble. Jackson has played in more positions –practically every one –than any play I know. Stevenson also returns. Team; Everton; Burnett; Jones (Jack), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson, McIntosh.
Everton Reserves; (v Fazackeley Challenge Cup-tie); Birkett; Moore, Doyle; Ashley, McDonnell, Rainford; Turner, Bailey, Wyles, Wootton, Makin
Everton Colts; (v A,T.C 400 at Orrell-lane, 3.15 p.m.); Woodward; Meilling, Lever; Barrett, Williams (H.), Williams (R.), Lane, Perrin, Buckle, Kitchening, J.A. Jones.
SEEKING FIRST POINTS
February 18, 1944. The Evening Express
Everton go to Prenton Park to face Tranmere Rovers wanting just one point to make themselves absolutely certain of their cup places while the Rovers will be out to secure their first cup point. Let me say at once that I expect Everton to win and so complete their second “double” of the season at the expense of the Rovers. Certainly the Blues attack will be strengthened by the return of Alex Stevenson and the fact that George Jackson is scheduled to go to outside-right to add punch and crossing ability, while Stan Bentham is sure of a warm re-welcome when he leads the line. Jack Jones comes back to play right back in a side of tremendous possibilities, despite the absence of Lawton. Nine of the Rovers’ original side have cried off, and so the club have had to call on a number of youngsters with Kieran going back to his original position of centre-half. Everton should add to their 9-2 and 6-2 League successes over the Rovers. Tranmere Rovers;- Foster; Anderson, Davis; Steele, Kieran, Williamson (S.); Wilder, Glidden, Hodgson, Paterson, Heydon. Everton; Burnett; Jones (Jack), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson, McIntosh.
NO SURPRISE HERE
February 18, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Although Everton will go to Prenton Park without Lawton, they should have no difficulty in winning, for every team which has been to Prenton since the Cup started have come away with full points. Surprises in football are not uncommon but I cannot see the Rovers providing one in this case. Mr. Trueman had great hope of fielding a strong eleven, but of the team originally elected nine have had to withdraw, including King, the goalkeeper who was injured on Wednesday. It is a strange looking Rovers side. Everton have not been all they should have been in recent weeks. After a run of five successive victories they struck a patch and lost the next three. Nevertheless, I think they should be good enough for two points here. Lawton’s place will be filled by Bentham, fit and well again, and the outside right is the versatile George Jackson, a jack-of-all-positions. Tranmere Rovers;- Foster; Anderson, Davis; Steele, Kieran, Williamson (S.); Wilder, Glidden, Hodgson, Paterson, Heydon. Everton; Burnett; Jones (Jack), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson, McIntosh.
DERBY COUNTY'S NEW MANAGER
Gloucestershire Echo-Saturday 19 February 1944
Out of 40 applicants for the post, the directors of Derby County F.C. have appointed Mr. E. Magner, of West Hartlepool, as team-manager. He takes up his duties on March 1. A native of Newcastle, he started his professional football career at the age of 17 as centre-forward for Gainsborough Trinity, afterwards joining in turn Everton and St. Mirren. For a time he was assistant to Mr. Clem Stephenson, the Huddersfield Town manager.
February 19, 1944. The Evening Express
Hard Rovers-Everton Duel
Tranmere Rovers had to make a number of changes for the game against Everton in the League War Cup at Prenton Park today, owing to the inability of several of their Service players being able to play. Everton were without Lawton, engaged at Wembley, and T.G. Jones. Bentham chosen to lead the Everton attack, was making his first appearance for the side since he was injured in November last. There was a crowd of about 3,000. Tranmere Rovers; Foster, goal; Anderson and Davis, backs; Steele, Kieran, and Williamson, half-backs; Wilder, Gidden, Heydon, Paterson, and Hodgson forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jones (J.E.) and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, McDonnell, and Watson, half-backs; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. E. Womersley (Davenport). The game started nine minutes late, and direct from the start the Rovers attacked with a quick inter-passing bout between Glidden and Heydon, which got the better of the Everton defence. When the ball was crossed Hobson had a chance but mis-hit his intended drive. Everton made headway on the left, but Foster emerged from his goal to deal with a centre from McIntosh. Shortly afterwards McIntosh was right on the mark with a powerful cross-drive, but Foster saved smartly. The exchanges were lively and the early football was of good quality. Paterson looked like getting through, but he had the misfortune to handle the ball just as he was about to shoot.
Following good work by Paterson, Hodgson made a cross shot, which Burnett cleared, and then Anderson lobbed the ball in from fully 40 yards and Burnett made a clear catch just under the bar. From a centre by Jackson, Bentham headed in for Foster to make clean catch. When Stevenson looked like brushing his way through, Foster rushed out from goal to kick clear. Stevenson, a moment later, headed in towards goal, but Foster made a confident catch just under the bar. At this period Everton were the more aggressive side, although it had to be said that their attacks were rather disjointed. Bentham made a good shot on the turn, and Foster was relieved to see the ball spinning just high and wide. Good work by Stevenson and Wainwright provided Jackson with an opening but he drove into the side netting.
Foster’s Grand Save.
A low shot by Jackson obviously found Foster unsighted, and it looked as if a goal was certain, but the goalkeeper at the last second flung himself full length to effect a really good save. As the interval approached both ends were visited in quick succession, but neither goalkeeper was seriously extended.
Half-time; Tranmere Rovers 0, Everton 0.
The teams resumed without the usual interval, and immediately on the restart McIntosh shot in for Foster to save. Shortly afterwards McIntosh had Foster beaten with a powerful cross-drive but Davis kicked away off the line. At the other end Burnett had to save from a head effort by Hodgson. Everton continued the more aggressive, and Foster punched a stringing drive from Jackson.
EVERTON FORWARDS HELD
February 19, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Tranmere Couldn’t Get the Goals.
Tranmere Rovers; Foster, goal; Anderson and Davis, backs; Steele, Kieran, and Williamson, half-backs; Wilder, Gidden, Heydon, Paterson, and Hodgson forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jones (J.E.) and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, McDonnell, and Watson, half-backs; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. E. Womersley (Davenport). Tranmere opened the game with a flourish and were almost though in the first minute of the match. Glidden and Heydon linked up to make an opening for Hodgson who, however, did not hit the ball true, with the result that it turned away from goal. The Rovers finding the Everton defence rather loose, Heydon went through and shot, but there was no power behind the drive and Burnett was able to save with comparative ease. McIntosh received a nice ball on the left and also tried his luck with a shot, and Bentham was dead on the mark with a header which Foster caught securely in safe hands. Everton would not strike their form, whereas the Rovers were playing better than for some weeks. Steele held up Wainwright, and this young wing-half was doing excellently. Bentham tried a header and Jackson hit the side netting. Glidden found Burnett quite safe. For long spells play was confined to midfield.
Half-time; Tranmere Rovers 0, Everton 0.
McIntosh twice had shots kept out, once by goalkeeper, Foster, and once by Davis the full back. Burnett saved a long centre from Glidden, then Jackson surprised with a pile-driving effort which caused Foster to make the best issue of the match. Jackson went to centre forward, with Bentham on the wing. One of the chief things wrong in this game was the finishing of the forwards. In midfield they were capable of organisating attacks, but when it came to shooting their skill seemed to leave them. It was a dour fight for a winning goal, and Everton should have had it when following a melee in front of the Rovers’ goal. Bentham was left with a perfect opening, but he shot over the bar.
LATE GOAL DECIDES
February 21, 1944. The Liverpool Daily Post
Tranmere Rovers 0, Everton 1
Everton Just Scrap Through at Prenton
Tranmere Rovers almost obtained their first cup point in their game with Everton at Prenton Park, for it was not until the last few minutes that the latter scored the all-important goal. They were perhaps worthy of a draw, for they had fought valiantly for 85 minutes, and held Everton at bay, even admitting the Goodison forwards had one of their off days. The Rovers (beaten 1-0) started as though they would do something perhaps create a surprise, and had they taken their chances in the first 10 minutes they would have had two goals’ lead, but having failed when the Everton defence was somewhat loose, they missed their opportunity. The Everton defenders from then on became more settled and never allowed such openings as Hodgson and Heydon were offered to occur again. The Rovers surprised me by the splendid fight; they put up. It was better than their position in the table warranted, for it had some bite about it and more than that some skill, but when it came to shooting they failed lamentably. In midfield they worked the ball well introduced some skilful combination, but having done those two things they failed where it was most important –goal-taking. Their fast tackling and penchant for going for the ball upset Everton’s balance so much that Everton rarely promised the big score most people anticipated.
I liked the way the youthful half-backs a line, made up of Steele, Kieran, and Williamson all in their teens, took their task. “They did not allow Everton’s forwards a moment’s respite. In they went with determination and confidence and it had the effect of reducing the Everton attack to a moderate standard. Even the left wing, which has been doing most of Everton’s damage in recent times, were refused their customary fling, and it is a long time since I saw McIntosh so well handled. It was only to be expected that Bentham playing his first game since his injury on the same ground last November would be out of touch with his game. He drove hard enough in his efforts to fill Lawton’s position with distinction, but it was plain that he required a game or two to bring him back on his best. Towards the end Bentham changed places with Jackson at outside right, and it was then the Everton attack introduced more punch and became a real menace to the Rovers defence. Jackson all along had been his side’s most dangerous shooter, but goalkeeper Foster, the Bolton custodian was equal to any demands made upon him. Not for that matter could it be said that Burnett had a heavy day’s work. Their main duty was running out and redeeming loose balls, centres, or back passes. Foster had the more to do and did it well. He push away of a fierce Jackson shot was first class. There was no dispute that Everton last 15 minutes rally and drive brought them the desired result, but they had a stiff tussle for the goal that takes them to complete safety, the goal which will send them into the “hat” for the Cup rounds proper. It came at 85 minutes and was the result of a round of passing between three players, Stevenson, Jackson and McIntosh, the last named finally smacking the ball into the net from close range. There was an appeal for offside, but the referee would not listen to it. Prior to that Bentham was presented with a “sitter” and how he managed to scoop the ball over the bar was the most amazing thing about the shot. He was only a few yards out of goal and killed the ball, appeared to take deliberate aim, and to the surprise of everyone, lifted the ball over the crossbar.
Easy Chances Missed.
Much earlier on Stevenson allowed a grit-edged chance to slip by, and Jackson, having swept through the defence, made two kicks at a ball that was running away from him, and missed on each occasion. But so far that matter had the Rovers missed some easy ones. What shot they did deliver were taken at too long a range to be effective. Anderson was sound against Stevenson and McIntosh and Glidden and Patterson worked hard, but without shots no side can hope to win. After a trace of looseness early on the Everton defence corrected its faults, but the forwards were uncommonly out of joint. Tranmere Rovers; Foster, goal; Anderson and Davis, backs; Steele, Kieran, and Williamson, half-backs; Wilder, Glidden, Heydon, Paterson, and Hodgson forwards. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jones (J.E.) and Greenhalgh, backs; Grant, McDonnell, and Watson, half-backs; Jackson, Wainwright, Bentham, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards. Referee; Mr. E. Womersley (Davenport).
• Liverpool beat Chester 4-2, Nieuwenhuys, Campbell, Liddell, Done for Liverpool and Yates, and Hughes for Chester
• England beat Scotland 6-2 at Wembley, Britton, Mercer and Lawton played for England and Caskie for Scotland, Lawton and Mercer scored for England, in front of 80,000 spectators.
WON ON TIME
February 21, 1944. The Evening Express
Everton left it late at Prenton Park for it was only a few minutes before the end that McIntosh got the goal which kept Tranmere Rovers pointless in the cup competition, and enabled the Blues to break a run of non-success. On point of pressure alone Everton should have won easily, but the Tranmere defences put up a mighty resistance with Anderson repeatedly rallying his forces and Foster in goal, playing magnificently! Sheer determination alone kept Everton at bay for long periods. The Blues were forced to make a switch because Bentham received a groin injury early on and Jackson went centre-forward. It was Jackson who did the “donkey work” to enable McIntosh to get the all-important goal. Jackson was all through one of the big successes of the Everton side, while Watson was gloriously effective, and McDonnell made a sound deputy for Tommy Jones, who did not reach the ground until half-time. Young Williamson played strongly against his more experienced Everton rivals, and Wilder and Glidden made a fine right wing for the Rovers, but Foster was the big man of a side which put up a wonder resistance against cleverer exponents of the game. Kieran was another Rovers success in a match in which the classic Everton were given plenty of shocks. Tommy Lawton returns to lead Everton’s attack in the return game with the Rovers at Goodison Park, on Saturday, and Bentham has recovered from the groin injury he will to go outside-right. Jackson once more again reverting to right back. If Bentham is unfit Jack Jones continues at right back with Jackson at outside-right. Tommy Jones resumes at centre-half. Everton; Burnett; Jackson (or Jack Jones), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Bentham (or Jackson), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
BEATEN ON THE POST
February 21, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Tranmere Rovers were almost on the point of breaking their unlucky spell for with only five minutes left to play they were on level terms with Everton, but a goal by McIntosh deprived then of a point to they are still without one in the Cup competition. It must have been disappointing for they had played well enough to have earned one; in fact had they taken the two chances they made in the first ten minutes a different tale might have had to be told to Everton were not playing with the promise of many goals to come. The Rovers also missed a few easy ones, so perhaps the balance was restored. The Rovers played better football than I have seen them play for some time but then maybe was due to Everton’s off day for let me tell you it was not a good day for them. They would not have taken a great deal of beating but if the opposition will not accept their chances they must not quibble. Tranmere surprised me in the early minutes by the easy way they cut through the Everton defence. Perhaps it was well they did for it brought the latter to the realisation that they could not take their opponents easily. They immediately tightened things up and never again were the Rovers forwards given so much rope. Stan Bentham making his first appearance since his accident at Prenton Park last November was obviously lacking his usual confidence. He wants a few more games to bring him back to his best and late on he changed places with Jackson at outside right and it was from that position that he made his great miss, taking deliberate aim from close range; it seemed any odds that he would score. But lo and behold he swept the ball over the bar. It was harder to do that than send it into the net. Jackson, who had been Everton’s most dangerous shooter, tried to turn a ball that was running away from him into goal, but twice missed his kick. That may have been considered a miss, but it as a difficult ball to contact. But he was responsible in the end for the winning goal. He passed on a Stevenson pass to McIntosh, who promptly slapped the ball into the net. From the Press box McIntosh looked to be offside. Tranmere thought so-the referee did not. The Rovers half backs line of youngsters all in their teens, did exceptionally well especially Steele and Williamson mere boys, and goalkeeper Foster, although not overworked, was confident, one save from Jackson bring top class. Anderson was a grand back and Paterson and Glidden worked hard in the forwards. Everton forward line was moderate. It was unbalancing with no right wing. McDonnell was a strong and dauntless pivot, leaving Grant and Watson to do the purveying Burnett’s task in goal was fairly simple, his chief concern being the clearing of loose balls and centres.
February 22, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Tranmere Rovers surprised Everton in their first of their Cup games at Prenton Park, but I don’t think the latter need have any fear in the return game at Goodison Park. I know there was a case of Tranmere pulling the game out of the fire after Everton had taken a goodly lead and winning a sensational victory but I don’t think that will happen on Saturday, for Everton will have T.G. Jones and Lawton back. Much will depend upon the side that Rovers are able to put in the field. They are always first out with their team, but it rarely turns out to be anything like the originally chosen team. Take last week-end for example. Nine of the originally selected-eleven had to with-draw. On Saturday’s showing Foster a Bolton man, who by the way, is their own goalkeeper, promises to have solved one of their difficulties. He had not a great deal to do, but it was his manner of doing it which struck the eye. It is anticipated that Owen, Bell, Gibbons and Rosenthal will be up on leave, in which case there should be added strength in the side. Tranmere’s defensive plan was excellent last Saturday, but they must realise that it is goals that win matches. There were at least two gilt-edged chances allowed to slip by, which would have made all the difference. Everton’s team will be more trustful with Lawton in the lead. Bentham naturally was out to touch with his game, and suffered a groin injury. If he is fit he will play at outside right, allowing Jackson to return in his rightful position at full back. Everton; Burnett; Jackson (or J.E. Jones), Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (T.G), Watson, Bentham (or Jackson), Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh. Tranmere Rovers; Foster; Anderson, Owen; Gibbons, Bell, Keiran, Glidden, Steele, Heydon, Rosenthal, Williamson (S.), Davis, Paterson.
EVERTON DEBUT OF SMART STOKE JUNIOR
February 24, 1944. The Evening Express
Leonard Wootton, and 18-years-old inside-right, will make his Football League debut on Saturday, when he plays inside-right for Everton against Tranmere Rovers at Goodison Park, in the concluding War Cup Qualifying Competition game. Wootton is a miner from Stoke-on-Trent district and some weeks ago was highly recommended to Everton. The lad was signed on amateur forms and Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly immediately introduced him to the Liverpool County Combination team Wootton proved something of a sensation. Mr. Kelly had Wootton especially watched to get a true line to “form” while he himself was engaged in looking after the first team, and the reports were so encouraging that the club has decided to give Wootton his big chance in a Football League game before the start of the Cup competition proper. “We feel that Wootton should be ‘blooded’ before the start of the real cup so that we shall know his value in case of an emergency,” said Mr. Kelly. “You never know when we shall be stuck for an inside right, and if we know we have a capable lad on our books it will save us chasing around for a deputy. “We also want to let the first team followers see Wootton in action, and Saturday is the ideal day Wainwright is being stood down so that we can make this experiment.” This is a wise plan, and I for one, will be looking forward to seeing this newcomer, who is built on sturdy lines has cute ideas, and is a forward of the fighter type. Another piece of good news for the Everton followers is that Joe Mercer will be along following another international triumph. Joe is always a big attraction. Mr. Kelly is not yet certain of the constitution of the half-back line, but certainly the Blues have a wonder array of talent from which to make their final selection. You, will be pleased to know that Stan Bentham is quite fit and so will be able to make his bow again to the home supporters. Stan will be at outside-right and Jackson goes to right back. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; (from); Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson, Mercer; Bentham, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
Everton Reserves (v. Carlton) Birkett; Moore, Doyle; Rainford, McDonnell, Ridgeway; Higgins, Ashley, Booth, Nolan, Makin.
Everton Colts (v. Ellesmere Port Colts, at Port Sunlight 3.0 p.m.) Price; Meilling, Lever; Barrett, H. Williams, R. Williams, Buckle, Perrin, D. Jones, Kitchingman, J.A. Jones.
February 25, 1944. The Evening Express
Interest at Goodison Park, where Everton will endeavour to record their fourth win of the season over Tranmere Rovers, will centre on Leonard Wootton, the Stoke miner, making his debut for the Blues. Wootton has been doing well with the reserve side, and the club gives him his big chance to secure a true assessment of his worth. Wootton is 18 and a player of the strong, methodical type. Everton want to get a line on the future of this lad, and what better experience than an actual League match? This will be a notable day for Everton, for besides the return of Tommy Lawton we also find Joe Mercer, who played for England with Lawton, last Saturday in the team for the first time the Liverpool “Derby.” The side will be selected just before the match from a dozen names. I expect Lawton will achieve a personal record in securing his 50th goal of the season. Lawton is the League highest scorer to date, and at the moment has 48 goals and his “bag” since entering League football stands at 340. Tommy will get a rare reception if he gets those two to the half-century. The Rovers are still seeking their first qualifying points, having suffered nine successive defeats, but if their form against Everton last week can be accepted as a true criterion then they will make their First Division rivals go at a rare step. I cannot picture the Rovers winning, but they always play a good, sporting game, and there is no denying their fighting qualities. Chief danger to the Blues lies in taking matters too easily. An over-indulgence in the “pretty pretty” would be playing into the hands of the Rovers in a game starting at three o’clock. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; (from); Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson, Mercer; Bentham, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
Tranmere Rovers (from); Foster; Anderson, Owen; Gibbons, Steele, Kieran; Glidden, Steele, Heydon, Rosenthal, Williamson (S.), Davis, Paterson.
Youth To Play For Everton
Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 25 February 1944
Everton will introduce L. Wootton, 18-years-old miner from Stoke, who Joined them last month, In their first team against Tranmere at Goodison to-morrow. Mercer is a probable.
February 25, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton, home to Tranmere Rovers, are taking the opportunity of introducing a newcomer to their attack in L. Wootoon, an 18-years-old amateur, who works in the mines in the Stoke area, and who has been earning high praise since he made his debut in the second team early this year. He takes the place of Wainwright, not because Everton feel the need of strengthening at inside right, for Wainwright has more than proved his worth, but simply v. Because this is a good chance to give Wootton a test in the higher sphere. Bentham will be at outside right, the doubt about his fitness now having been cleared up which leaves Jackson free for the back division and Lawton returns after his Wembley outing. Mercer, home on leave this week –end is added to the original probables. Once again back word from a big proportion of their probables has forced Rovers to considerably reshuffle their side. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; (from); Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson, Mercer; Bentham, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
Tranmere Rovers (from); Foster; Anderson, Owen; Gibbons, Steele, Kieran; Glidden, Steele, Heydon, Rosenthal, Williamson (S.), Davis, Paterson.
Everton to the Rescue
A lady in distress phone me yesterday. She is cub-mistress of a Wavertree Wolf-club pack. Her youngsters have a football match tomorrow, but their only ball expired last week through old age, and a neighbouring back the proud possessors of one sound ball, couldn’t do the Good Samaritan because they also have a game. A call to Mr. Theo Kelly put the lady’s mind at rest. Should there be another impending catastrophes in future I’m sure Liverpool would be equally helpful. But don’t get the idea that our senior clubs have ball galore. They have to be very careful with em these days.
EVERTON’S 5-1 VICTORY
February 26, 1944. The Evening Express
Two Scoring Achievements
Two scoring achievements were recorded by Everton against Tranmere Rovers at Goodison Park today. Lawton registered his 50th goal of the season and Everton passed the 100 goals mark. Everton in the League War Cup were leading 3-1 at half-time, Lawton (2) and Grant being the scorers for the Blues, and Waiters for the Rovers. Later Stevenson and Tommy Jones increased the lead, Everton winning 5-1. Tranmere have consequently gone through the cup qualifying competition without a point. Leonard Wootton, 18-year-old miner from the Potteries, made his Football League debut with Everton, and did well. Everton, fielded their 1939 championship half-back line for the first time for more than two years, Grant going to outside-right. The Rovers had a debutant in Waiters, the Watford centre forward, Williamson being outside left and Davis left half. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tommy) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Grant, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards). Tranmere Rovers;- Foster, goal; Anderson, and Kieran, backs; Steele, Bell and Davis, half-backs; Spencer, Glidden, Waiters (Watford), Paterson and Williamson (S.), forwards. Referee. Mr. S. McCarthy (Wrexham). Everton swept right through at the outset; Foster doing well to save a header from Lawton, while Wootton took the eye with a neat slip through. A pass by Mercer, followed by one from Jackson, made things uncomfortable for the Blues, but Glidden’s shot passed across the face of the goal. Foster came out to dive on the ball, as McIntosh came in on the outside of Anderson. Lawton and Grant raced ahead from Wootton’s cute pass, before McIntosh shot first time. Foster diving to save just as the ball was sneaking inside the far post.
Everton took the lead in nine minutes through Lawton. The Blues had been playing some tip-top football and proving quite capable of holding the willing Rovers’ forwards. Watson stepped in cleverly to rob Glidden, moved forward and place clean up the middle for Lawton to nod the ball down and run on to score at ease. Within two minutes Lawton had scored again to record his 50th goal of the season. It was Wootton who made this possible, for the sturdy little inside-right, who is smaller than Stevenson, gathered the ball nicely, drew Bell, and glided the ball through so that Lawton could race on unchallenged to give Foster no chance. There was a special cheer to greet this goal. Paterson set the Rovers’ attack in motion, and Burnett had to leap high to pull down Glidden’s header, before going full length to save from Waiters. Waiters and Paterson went through by neat inter-passing only to find Burnett right on the spot to save Paterson’s shot. Wootton ran through and brought in Grant, whose centre was headed in by Lawton but Foster saved by the post.
In 19 minutes the Rovers took advantage of some typical Everton easing-up. Everton had been pandering to pattern-weaving, and so when Glidden hooked the ball forward, the home defence was completely spread-eagled and in a flash Waiters took the ball with his right foot to drive into the net. Everton took hold of the game again, and from Jones’s free kick Lawton ran on to lob the ball over Foster’s head. Just as the ball was crossing the line. Bell ran back to hook it out –a truly amazing recovery. Everton seemed to realise that the Rovers were not easy to beat, and commenced to pile on the pressure, Bell disposing of a centre by Wootton before Foster ran out to make an excellent save off Stevenson’s header. Watson had hard luck with a 25 yard shot which came back off the bar for Foster to smother it. Wootton tried to put Lawton in possession, but Bell turned the ball aside for a corner, which brought Everton’s third goal in 36 minutes. Grant swerved the ball in, and with the defence obviously watching Lawton and Jones, the ball curled under the bar just inside the far post. This goal was Everton’s 100th of the season, they being the second club in the country to reach this total, Liverpool having done so a few weeks ago. Glidden shot over from a good position after neat work by Spencer, and then Steele was struck on the back of the head by the ball and went off. Foster dived to make a brilliant save from Stevenson, after Wootton had a shot charged down.
Half-time; Everton 3, Tranmere R, 1.
Immediately on resuming Foster made a save at point blank range from Lawton, and then Stevenson nipped in to make it 4-1 in 46 minutes. Steele came back at the end of an hour to prove the driving force behind some promising Tranmere raids, but the Rovers’ finishing was not convincing, Glidden missing one fine chance. Everton were still inclined to over-elaborate, but Stevenson headed just over, and them gave Foster a shot which was too hot to hold, the ball going behind for a corner. This brought Everton’s fifth goal in 67 minutes through Tommy Jones. Jones had come up hoping for a header, but the ball came low. He gathered it, and drove into the net. Everton continued complete masters of the situation all five forwards going near before Wootton shot just beyond the far post, and then Lawton and Jones tried terrific distance shots which made the crowd gasp, but which passed outside. Burnett saved well when harassed by Glidden and Foster made an excellent save off a header from McIntosh. Glidden shot by the post before Lawton did likewise, and then McIntosh placed wide with only Foster to beat. Paterson shot over as the Rovers fought back, and Foster saved low down from Jones. Final; Everton 5, Tranmere Rovers 1.
Carlton v. Everton Res
Carlton playing only 10 men, did well to hold the Everton attack until near the interval when Booth scored for the Blues. Half-time; Carlton 0, Everton Reserves 1.
LAWTON’S 50 GOALS
February 26, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Everton Beat Tranmere
Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tommy) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Grant, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards). Tranmere Rovers;- Foster, goal; Anderson, and Kieran, backs; Steele, Bell and Davis, half-backs; Spencer, Glidden, Waiters (Watford), Paterson and Williamson (S.), forwards. Referee. Mr. S. McCarthy (Wrexham). Everton were not long in establishing a lead. They were much superior to the Rovers in tactics and football wisdom, and at nine minutes Watson put through a ball which Lawton took in his stride to score the day’s first goal. Another minute saw a second Lawton goal, which takes his tally of goals for all matches, this season to the half-century mark. It was Wootton, the Burslem Port Vale youth, who is not unlike Caskie in build and appearance who provided the pass which enabled Lawton to break through and score. All along Wootton had shown a good sense when near goal. He made no shots himself, but was ever there if the chance came along. The Rovers through their right wing gave the Everton defence a spot of bother when Spencer centred for Glidden to make a header, Burnett saving. The Everton goalkeeper had to save again from the same player, and also grab a ball on his goal line near the upright from the Rovers’ right wing. At 19 minutes Tranmere reduced the lead through Paterson, who coaxed Burnett out of goal before shooting to the back of the net. Bell made a miracurious save when all seemed lost. Lawton dashed through the middle, and with the goalkeeper being drawn away from his charge the England leader simply lobbed the ball towards the empty net. It was a million-to-one on a goal until Bell rushed in and kicked the ball almost off the goal line, straight up in the air, and over the bar. Wootton showed many of Alex Stevenson’s tricks. At 36 minutes Everton increased their lead to 3-1, Grant scoring direct from a corner kick. Steel went off. He had got the ball in his face.
Half-time; Everton 3, Tranmere Rovers 1.
Lawton was almost through in the first half-minute and in the next half-minute Stevenson had taken Everton’s score to 4-1. At 69 minutes T.G. Jones went up in the goalmouth for a corner kick that brought him a goal. After Lawton had headed Jones found the ball at his feet and shot it into the net. Everton were content to “sit on the splice” as it were and Tranmere’s chief concern was to keep the score down. Final; Everton 5, Tranmere 1.
LAWTON’S 50TH GOAL
February 28, 1944. The Liverpool Daily Post
Everton 5, Tranmere Rovers 1
Everton Too Strong For Tranmere
Everton were too strong for Tranmere Rovers at Goodison Park and the senior club won 5-1. Had Everton taking the full toll of their chances the score would have been double. That the Rovers were at 5-1 was surprising for the Everton defence was strong enough to have prevented it but it not been inclined to take matters leisurely. Slackness brought about Paterson’s goal, but one must pay tribute for the clever manner in which, the Scot accepted his chance. Everton two goals ahead through Lawton in ten minutes, never looked like running into any difficulty and carried on the scoring until they had registered five goals. They elected then to make an exhibition of the game. There were times when it was plain that Everton were hot pressing themselves unduly Tranmere never gave up trying, but they was little chance of breaking down the sound Everton defence. Wootton is smaller in status then Stevenson but he was a football genius. That was soon made apparent by the things he did and the way he did them. He was quite at home among his international colleagues and made up for his lack of inches by good ball control, wise passing and was not afraid of tackling the biggest obstacle in his path.
Wootton and Grant made quite a successful right wing. They were fierce, got along well together and had a hand in the goals, Grant scoring one himself the third direct from a corner kick. Lawton second goal was from a fine pass by Wootton. Yes, I think we must all agree that Wootton made a highly successful debut. The main strength of the Everton side was in the hands of the half backs, made up of Jones, Mercer, and Watson who contributed well and covered those in the rear. Greenhalgh and Jackson were very sound; Jones must have been heartbreak to the Rovers inside forwards who were rarely given an opportunity of testing their skills against Burnett. Everton started off with the determination of getting in the first blow, and within ten minutes Lawton had scored a pair each time rushing between the Rovers backs to leave Foster helpless. His second goal was his fiftieth in all games this season. Lawton almost took a goal in the first thirty seconds with a header. Ten minutes from the interval Grant curled a corner kick under the crossbar and a minute after the resumption Stevenson chalked up goal number 4. T. Jones who had been coming up for all the corners, because the Everton forwards line, with the exception of Lawton, and McIntosh was too small to be of much use when corner kicks were taken, at last got the goal he was seeking. Lawton got his head to McIntosh’s centre, but only altered the ball’s fight. If dropped at Jones’s feet, and the next second it was at the back of the net. From then on Everton made it a go-as-you-please sort of affair and few shots found their way to the Rovers goalkeeper. Tranmere rarely called upon Burnett, so that game fizzled out. I thought Bell did well against Lawton, and Steele until he was injured, kept his end up, but taking things throughout the Rovers were well and truly mastered by a superior force. Attendance 11,073 receipts £692. Everton; Burnett, goal; Jackson and Greenhalgh, backs; Mercer, Jones (Tommy) (captain), and Watson, half-backs; Grant, L. Wootton, Lawton, Stevenson and McIntosh (Preston), forwards). Tranmere Rovers;- Foster, goal; Anderson, and Kieran, backs; Steele, Bell and Davis, half-backs; Spencer, Glidden, Waiters (Watford), Paterson and Williamson (S.), forwards. Referee. Mr. S. McCarthy (Wrexham).
• Liverpool lost 6-0 at Chester. Brinton, Moore (3), Loxham, and Hughes.
February 28, 1944. The Evening Express
Blackpool v. Everton
What They Think
Naturally officials of our three clubs are quite confident that they will overcome the first obstacles, and why not? Everton face the stiffest task, but Secretary Mr. Theo Kelly said to me. “We have a really good chance of getting through if only the lads can get off. I feel that it is better to play away from home first in these double ties, and I am quite happy about it. If the concluding game is as good as that of last season then there will be no grumbles. I agree. Last season Blackpool gained a 4-1 lead at home against the Blues in the corresponding round, but at Goodison Everton actually drew level after Blackpool had made it 5-1, missed a golden chance and then lost on aggregate by two goals. Services call are going to hit our clubs rather hard. Everton for instance, will be without Lawton for the home tie, Blackpool of course, will lack the services of Matthews on March 11, for he too, plays in the Stoke game. Everton will have Stan Bentham back for next week, but Mercer has gone back off leave. Bentham will, in all probability be at outside-right, with Wainwright returning to inside-right and Grant going to right-half. Everton; Burnett; Jackson, Greenhalgh; Grant, Jones (Tommy), Watson; Bentham, Wainwright, Lawton, Stevenson, McIntosh.
When 18-year-old Leonard Wootton, Everton’s latest forward capture from the Potteries ran on the field at Goodison Park on Saturday against Tranmere Rovers I immediately thought of Alex James, the Scottish wonder. Wootton is only a wee lad of the Caskie mould and he had on long pants just like James. I am not saying that Wootton was as effective as James but if ever he was a youngster with football in his brains and feet then Wootton is the boy. Twice within a minute Wootton trapped the ball as cleanly as one could wish and was complete master of it. That, forgetting all else satisfied me that Wootton is the goods. Any player who can “kill” a ball as easily as Wootton did has the talent there if it can be developed. Wootton who had his brother along to give him heart, had a fine first half, and made the second goal –Lawton’s 50th of the season –but naturally he tired a little later. Summing up –a promising debut. Everton might have won this game by a bigger score than 5-1 and yet the Rovers had some glorious chances which they failed to turn to account. The Blues however, too often fidded about and that was asking for it from a bunch of enthusiasts like the Rovers. Lawton’s two quick goal’s seemed to be the signal for Everton’s time-to-see-you-to-me” stuff and not until a goal had jolted them out of their complacency did Everton get back to real order. Grant sent up the Blues century from a corner, and in the second half Stevenson and Tommy Jones improved. Yet the best shot of the day was a Lawton 30-yard which flashed wide, but it was taken from the most awkward position which would have been refused by most. How that ball did travel.
Craft of Anderson
The Rovers had a defence of rare gameness ably marshalled by “evergreen” Anderson, who made craft and brain save legs. Anderson just stayed with McIntosh to keep big Jim subdued and he encouraged Harold Bell, the erstwhile centre-forward, who had to watch Lawton. I think Bell did exceptionally well and saved one certain goal when he hooked out with Foster beaten. Foster now always available was another vital cog in the Rovers’ defence, making some grand saves but the Rovers were deficient at wing-half and on the wings, while allowing for the fact that Steele received a nasty bump and was off for a spell. From the Everton point of view the major honours went to Watson, Jackson, and Lawton. Watson was easily the most consummate footballer on the field, his passing being perfection. Jackson was “tops” and Lawton the ever-present menace to Tranmere security while playing well within himself. Greenhalgh had always to keep a wary eye on Glidden –a grand player this –and did it well. Tommy Jones was drawn out of his ground many times, but was always unruffled and athirst for goals, but Joe Mercer did not have one of his best day through covering an amazing amount of ground. Stevenson’s leg flicks always had the Rovers running the wrong way, but Grant is a better half-back than winger. Just a word for the willing spirit of the Rovers. They may be the only cup side not to gain a qualifying point, but no one can deny their genuine honesty of purpose. Among the guest under Chairman Mr. Will Gibbins was Mr. Stanley Blenkinsop, the Leeds United director, looking as cheery as ever with news that Gordon Hodgson and Willis Edwards are now in charge of the colts at Elland-road. Well, they are two grand fellows for the job.
February 28, 1944. The Liverpool Echo
Tranmere Rovers did not make things so difficult for Everton in their return game at Goodison Park, for instead of the Goodison Parkers leaving their goal scoring until the last minute they delivered the knock-out punch in their early minutes of the game, and thus prevented the Rovers from springing a surprise. Two goals in arrears in ten minutes shook the Rovers to the depths and enabled Everton to play just as they want to play with a lot of flourish and fair degree of skill. Having accomplished what they undoubtedly set-out to do, they pranced their way about, sometimes missing the real objective of the game in their endeavour to produce good round of passing or scintillating dribbles. When he scored his second goal, Lawton reached his half-century of goals in all games this season. But you will want to hear of young Wootton. When I saw him before the match I lifted my eyebrows. He was not as big as Stevenson. I said to myself. “He will have to be good with such a handicap” well let me tell you he was good. He reminded me of Jim Caskie. He was not in the least bit over-awed by the presence in his side of four full internationals and other representative players.
MERSEYSIDE’S LEAD IN BENEFIT PLAN
February 29, 1944. The Evening Express
Merseyside once again takes the lead in an effort to bring to loyal servants of football their just reward for services rendered up to the start of the war. Both the Everton and Liverpool clubs have decided to make approaches to the Football League to pay to players who have qualified the accrued shares of benefit up to September 2, 1939. The directors of Everton decided at their last meeting to make application to the Football League for permission to pay the benefits and the Liverpool directors have adopted the principle of agreeing to pay benefits if permission is granted by the Management Committee of the Football League. Final word on the matter of course rests with President Mr. Will Cuff, and his colleagues but I have a feeling that they will take the view as do the club directors, that the moneys have been duly earned, and that but for the intervention of the war the players, or some at least would have had their financial reward. Several clubs have paid accrued shares of benefits to players who have left them and who are now out of football. The question regarding wartime service is still “open” and will remain open, but players services up to the war count for benefit qualification, and I think that the Management Committee will agree with our clubs that loyalty should be rewarded. Of course, it is not incumbent on any club to pay benefits. The rules state that clubs may pay benefits, but of course, the Liverpool and Everton clubs never fail to give the awards. This is a grand gesture on the part of our clubs, and I am hopeful that the Management Committee will give them the necessary permission to go right ahead with the scheme. Possibly the committee has discussed the matter, but in any case they have another meeting on March 11, at Leeds, and then we may get a decision.
Tommy Lawton, the Everton and England centre-forward, has now created a wartime scoring record. On Saturday against Tranmere Rovers Lawton brought his season’s total up to 50, and this is higher than any previous personal achievement since the outbreak of hostilities. The League and Cup record was set up last season by Ephraim Dodds, of Blackpool, who bagged 47. It looks as if Lawton will be well in the seventies before the season is brought to an end –his military duties permitting.