EVERTON 9 SOUTHPORT 1 (FA Cup Game 130)
March 2 nd 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury.
Everton Rush to Victory
Southport Defence Riddled.
Third Division side's Brave Efforts
Seven goals scored in first half for Everton
Southport bade a very bad afternoon to the English Cup when they let Goodison Park's snowflakes on Saturday, after having engaged in a very captivating game, and paid their respects to the team that beat them handsomely and without venom. They scored 9 to 1. I do not think Everton would have scored so many, but Southport got a move on after the interval, took a goal by their regular member in the score sheet –Waterston –and Everton thought they had better take no chances with a team that had been named as a shock side competent to upset the best of opposition. Everton have never gloated over their victories or their margins; they take enough to ensure safety and then “play.” They intended to do this after they had made a lead of seven before half-time, but Southport never ceased their effort, and at times they looked like a very sharp side; a good side; a side with much speed and more pluck and daring. But they played the right sort of football, never condescending to touch the Third Division style as many know it, so that they were to be congratulated upon their methods and upon their keenness.
Southport Start Well.
Never were there signs of their weakness; they played on as valiantly when a margin of eight divided them with the coming First Division team as when the game started. And be it known, Southport started in a way that was ominous. They shot well; they skirted the touchline; they thought nought of the snow that lay around the corners of the field and made the ball a veritable snowball. They shot so well that nothing but the sound keeping of Coggins prevented them taking the lead. After that the Everton forwards started to work and the meant goals were coming. They appeared to be able to score at will, but the root feature of this big goal crop was the fact that each forward lived for his fellow forwards. The utter unselfishness that has stamped Dean;s game all his life, has led to the other forwards realizing the wisdom of pairing off for goals rather than making single handed efforts. When Dean broke 60 goals in a record making season he made many of the goals –yes most of them –by his own unaided effort. Today he has fine lieutenants beside him. Each goal was more or less the result of an offering of the thankfulness of the part of a fellow forward. Every goal created a shake of the hand from the man who had placed the goal at the scorer's mercy. And to that fine spirit the slashing shooting that went on against Baker and his over run backs, and remember that Dunn and Johnson were always schemers, whose work had to be looked into hard to find the true value of it, and you will sense how this forward line would on this showing, have beaten almost any side.
Four for Dean.
Dean got four goals, Dunn two, Critchley two, and Johnson got the other apart from Waterston's consolation stroke. And the best was probably Dean's master header to make the eight goal of the day. I don't remember a senior match were seven goals lead has been taken in the first half, unless we go back to the days of the 26-0 score put up by Preston North End against Hyde. Certainly Everton are collecting goals with a rare freedom, and this year to date they have scored 53 goals in cup and League. They make the game look frightfully simple and simply effective by means of the positional play of the line, each of whom has a fine understanding with the rest of the side, what time the half-backs join in with their fine passes along the ground. McClure was hard, Gee was a dribbler, forrager, and joyful playmate of the man in front of him; he gave him a squeezed in pass to make one of Dean's foursome goals, and Stein kept his best for the later stages, when his centring was full of judgement.
What of Southport then? Still can I say that Southport did uncommonly well under the circumstances. There was not sure in front of goal; they imagined they had time to spare when they got their golden chances, and therein lay the secret of their being smothered or covered by Williams and Cresswell. I though Vincent played a great game till he tired yet Seagraves was the most consistent of their side. With Holmes not quite so powerful as I have seen him in previous games. Southport were valiant hearts, they had frittering, fitting forwards, with the extreme wings always the most dangerous of the line. Hill giving a uniformly good show throughout the awkward day. At midday the snowstorm threatened to put an end to thoughts of cup-tie strife, but the ground actually played a shade better than usual through the snow failing on the heaps of mud and making it a trifle stickier than usual-hence the ball travelled almost normally. Everton made it do a lot or work, and well as the backs defended in a difficult task, the gaolkeeping of Baker was unsettled until half time and then it bore a bright mark. Teams; - Everton; - Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; McClure, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson and Stein forwards. Southport; - Baker, goal; Little and Robinson, backs; Seagrave, Vincent, and Holmes, half-backs; Hill, McConnell (captain), Waterston, Cowan, and Roberts, for wards. Attendance was 45, 647 and receipts of £3, 971.
March 2 nd 1931. Evening Express.
Aston Villa passed Everton in the Football league goal race. They have scored 102 goals or one more than Everton and the Arsenal.
Harold Houghton and Arthur Davies are Merseyside natives and former Everton players who are helping Exeter City to make cup history. Houghton got the equalising goal against Sunderland on Saturday. Exeter paid £300 to Everton for Houghton, and they have already turned down an offer of £3,000 for him.
EVERTON WILL TRAIN AT HOME
March 4 th 1931. Evening Express.
No special course for Cup Semi-Final
Policy That has been justified.
By the Pilot.
Everton will train at home for the FA. Cup semi-final match at Old Trafford on March 14. Until this season it was custom of the club to send players to health resorts to prepare them for special games, but this season the scheme was revised, and ordinary League training, with one or two additions, at home substituted. The players are fielding their full cup side against Reading at Goodison Park on Saturday. This will be the Blues fifth successive home match. They have a splendid opportunity of pulling off an other double, having beaten Reading at Elm Park by 2-0. Team; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; McClure, Gee, Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein.
DEAN'S HAT-TRICK FOR ENGLAND.
March 5 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
England beat beat the Rest 3-2 at Highbury yesterday, in front of 17,000 spectators. The Rest were winning by 2-0, when Dean scored all three goals before the interval.
Hodgson collision with Tommy Johnson, that cracked the back of his head, and Johnson limped his way through the second half with a groin injury that may keep him out of the side against reading on Saturday. Dean gave many beautiful passes chiefly with the foot whereas he generally sends the ball along by his head. He got three goals and missed three unaccountably.
Dean first hit the bar with a header, from a few yards, drove wide a bad miss. Dean however scored after 16 minutes, from a mistake by a back following a corner. Dean scored again from a scramble in the goalmouth, Talbot hooked the ball into the goalmouth, and Dean with great coolness, lobbed it over Spiers the goalkeeper into the net. Dean after fine work by Hodgson played Dean in front of goal alone with Spiers, but the general surprise Dean hesitated, long enough to miss his change.
BOLTON WANDERERS RESERVES 2 EVERTON RESERVES 2
March 5 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central league (Game 30)
Everton; - Sagar goal; Griffiths and Lowe, backs; Britton, White, and McPherson, half-backs; Wilkinson, Martin, Hodgson, Webster, and Leyfield, forwards.
JOHNSON WILL PLAY TOMORROW
March 6 th 1931. Evening Express
Injured Everton forward passes test.
Will Dean get his 200 th goal?
By the Pilot
Tommy Johnson, Everton's international inside left, who strained his groin in the international trial match at Highbury, was given a test today, and was found to be sufficiently fit to make his place in the team to oppose Reading at Goodison Park tomorrow. Chief interest in the match centred on Dixie Dean, who requires one goal to complete his second century of football league goals, with Everton Football Club. He has obtained his 199 goals in 194 matches. The ground is in better condition than it has been for some weeks, owing to the dry weather experienced during the past few days. If Everton beat Reading –and they should easily –this will be their sixth double of the season. Reading are certain to make superhuman efforts because they are fighting to escape relegation. Gilhespy, the former Liverpool winger, is suffering from tonsillitis, and his place at outside right in the Reading team will be taken by Davies. Barley deputizes for the injured Featherby. Teams; - Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; McClure, Gee Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. Reading; Richardson (l); Hodhgkiss, J Richardson; Allan, McNell, Darrnell; Davies, Eaton, Bacon, Barley, McPherson.
Everton, it is believed have developed an interest in Andrew McCall, an Ayr United half-back
EVERTON AT HOME AGAIN
March 7 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Reading's First Visit
By John Peel
The Cup and League successes, achieved by Everton have aroused tremendous enthusiasm among their followers and there is likely to be another great crowd at Goodison Park today to welcome the Cup semi-finalists; when they step on the field to face Reading in the return League match. The first match ended in a win for Everton by 2 goals to none, and I fully expect the Goodison Park team to record their thirteen victory this year, though they must play up to form to achieve their object for Reading, whose first visit to Goodison Park it is, are in desperate mood, occupying as they do the second position from the foot of the ladder. Dean is expected to complete his 200 goals in League football. The teams line up at 3-15 as follows; Everton; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; McClure, Gee Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. Reading; L Richardson; Hoggkiss, Richardson (j); Allan McNell, Damell; Davies, Eaton, Bacon, Barley, McPherson.
EVERTON 3 READING 2 (Game 31)-(Lge Game 3083 over-all)-(Div 1 3052)
March 9 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Everton's goals Record
A narrow win against Reading
For the second time in a fortnight Dean sought to obtain the goal needed to make his individual total 200. Again he was denied it, but he helped others to get the goals that gave Everton their 3-2 victory over Reading. It was for Everton a surprisingly narrow margin, and their policy seemed to suggest they were not prepared to risk injury for a big win being satisfied to hold their opponents to a safe victory. Their goals for reached 104, and a new record as the best obtained in any one season. The game with Reading, however, was not impressive, although there were bright patches, that helped to relieve much of the work that was unconvincing. Beyond doubt Everton were not at their best. They found difficulty in controlling the light ball, and if Saturday's contest could be taken in a guide it would seem they do better on a heavy ground than on a hard dry surface. The conditions were the direct opposite of whose under which recent games have been played, and while Everton probably went for safety, Reading were more venturesome, and in a blank first half had quite as much of the play as Everton. Shortly before the interval Reading lost the services of Eaton who sustained a fractured nose and was taken to hospital for treatment, while seventeen minutes from the end Critchley retired with a damaged ankle. In seven minutes Everton put on three goals, the scorers being Johnson (53 minutes), Dunn (56 minutes), and Critchley (60 minutes). That seemed good enough to carry them to a comfortable victory, but the plucky Reading side, with ten players, strove gallantly and twice Bacon reduced the lead, the fine goal being scored a minute from the end. Dean made many good attempts to get the much-anticipated goal, although his colleagues had difficulty in giving him the ball, especially in the first half.
Dean had better chances afterwards, and his nearest attempt at scoring came five minutes from the end, when he headed against the crossbar. As a distributive agent Dean was up to his usual standard. He timed accurately his passes to the winger and his heading was generally well done. While the forwards as a line were not at their best, they showed how deadly they could be by scoring three in seven minutes, and at that stage the sound Reading defence was badly shaken. The half-backs made an effective line, and the defence generally had the measure of the Reading forwards, Richardson in the Reading goal, impressed with the safe, clean handling, and the backs especially Hodgkiss kicked well. Allan was the best of the middle line, and of the forwards Bailey was a prominent worker . Teams; Everton; Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; McClure, Gee, Thomson, half-backs, Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, and Stein, forwards. Reading; - L. Richardson, goal; Hodgkiss and J. Richardson, backs; Allan, McNell, and Darnell, half-backs; Davies, Eaton, Bacon, Bailey, and McPherson, forwards.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY RESERVES 3 EVERTON RESERVES 0
March 9 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 31)
Everton Reserves played clever but ineffective football at Hillsbrough, and the more direct and forceful attacks of Sheffield Wednesday gained the victory. Sagar made some thrilling saves and Common was excellent at back, while Griffiths was the pick of the halves. The visiting forwards were attractive to watch, both Wilkinson and Leyfield being prominent on the wings, but all their efforts were negatived by Breedon's excellent goalkeeping. Aitkens and Jones (2) were Wednesday's scorers.
St James C.Y.M.S 2 Everton “A” 2
Liverpool County Combination
At Bootle. A draw was a fitting result. Both sides had plenty of chances to gain the lead, but neither scored before the interval. Soon after the resumption, the home side went in front through Bule, but Fryer soon put Everton on equal terms. Davies later increased the visitors' score, but Tole levelled the scorers in the last minute.
CRITCHLEY MAY NOT BE FIR FOR THE CUP-TIE
March 9 th 1931. Evening Express
Who will take his place?
By the Pilot.
Critchleys mishap come as a sever blow to Everton. Today, it was impossible to say whether or not Critchley will be fit for the Semi-final. His ankle is twisted. It has given him some pain, but it is certainly making progress under the presented treatment. Even if Critchley is fit for Saturday he will not be able to train more than one day this week, but this is not regarded as a serious handicap, for at this period of the season, it is not a question of getting players fit, but of merely keeping them fit. Incidentally Critchley is as fit a player as you will find in League football. If Critchley should not be fit what then? Everton will be left with the problem of either reintroducing Monty Wilkinson, the former Newcastle United winger or experimenting with Rigby in the position. Another solution would to be transfer Stein across to the outside right and bring A
Rigby back to the outside left. Stein uses his right foot even more than he does his left, but memory tells me that when he was tried on the right before he was not a great success. In any case I think it would b folly to break up the Johnson –Stein –Thomson combination. If a place has to be filled put in the best man available and leave it at that. Critchley's accident as unfortunate and I attribute it to the hard, frostbound ground, just as I advance the same reason for the mediocre game. He injured his left ankle when tackled by Darnell.
A broken nose.
There was another accident in the first half on Saturday's game at Goodison Park, when Eaton, the Reading inside right, was accidentally kicked in the nose by Thomson. He had to be treated at the hospital for a compound fracture of the nose. Had both teams been at full strength all through, I think the result would have been the same. There was just about a goal differnce between the sides, neither of which was happy on the iron-like turf. It was the poorest game seen on the ground this season and considering the time the Everton men took to shake off the mud complex and return to dry ground methods, one naturally wonders what will happen at Old Trafford. The Reading match proved that Everton show to better advantage on a muddy ground. In this match only Johnson and Gee were able to manipulate and control the ball with any certainty in the first half. There was an all-round improvement after the interval, but even so it was poor football. Reading were a better team than most people though. Their defence was sound, and the half-backs strong and willing. Forward, Bacon compared favorably with Dean, and while I know Reading are searching the land for scoring inside men I do not think they need worry about the centre forward position.
Yet Reading was not opposing the real Everton. The ground upset the Blues' customary smooth working machine. Johnson was the best of the attackers because he always mastered the ball instead of allowing the ball to master him. Dean tried hard for his 200 th League goal for Everton, but the fates were against him, and Dunn carved out some clean-cut openings for both wingers who were much better after the interval. Gee was excellent all through. Besides being the best purveyor of the ball in the game, he was ever ready to fall back and help the defence when matters were not running smoothly. This happened rather too much. After the match I heard some people saying, “Ah, Everton were reserving themselves,” I do not agree.
EVERTON RESERVES 2 OLDHAM ATHLETIC RESERVES 1
March 12 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 32)
Everton Reserves win
Everton beat Oldham Athletic in the Central League match at Goodison Park, yesterday by 2-1. In the early part of the first half, Oldham played the better football, and were the nippier and more definite in front of goal. Oldham took the lead through Seymour, scoring from a good pass from Kennedy, the former Everton and Middlesbrough player, who has been appearing at inside left and outside left, and yesterday was in the inner berth, playing with trickiness, skill, and power. Martin headed the equaliser just before half-time, and finally a free kick taken by Towers, the half-back, found the Oldham goalkeeper unsighted, and the ball sole into the net. The second half provided many thrills but although the goalkeeping of Hacking and Sagar was of a high character. Hacking was the more demonstrative, and each goalkeeper lost possession of the ball at times but recovered it with great daring.
In the Everton side were many experiments. Griffiths appeared at right half with White centre half and both got through a heavy day's work. Britton tried at outside right, was more than successful in centring, but was inclined to double back too often in a dribble. Rigby at inside left, kept young Leyfield going smoothly and also produced his driving forces. On the losing side Hacking was defended by sound backs in Stafford and Brown, Finney at centre half-back was the best in the intermediate line, and Worrall and Dyson were the superior wing. Seymour at centre forward had not sufficient chances.
IT IS 100 TO 1 AGAINST CRITCHLEY BEING FIT.
March 12 th 1931. Evening Express.
But Everton will make decision after test tomorrow-official.
By the Pilot.
I cannot now see any possibility of Critchley being sufficiently fit to play in the Cup semi-final tie on Saturday. If he is really well enough to take his usual place, it will be little short of a miracle. His injured ankle is to be tested tomorrow, when the directors will make a final decision. The substitute for Critchley definitely will be Wilkinson, the former Newcastle United player, who used to be a centre-forward, and has developed as an outside-right since he has been with Everton. West Bromwich Albion's team will not be chosen until Saturday morning. The hopes that Critchley would recover in time for the Old Trafford game have faded badly in the Everton camp. The ankle injury he sustained in the Reading match has made excellent progress, but not sufficient to increase hope that he will be capable of enduring 90 minutes of strenuous cup tie football. Today he was still limping and the match is only 48 hours ahead. Everything possible has been done to get Critchley right. No club could have given a player better attention. Yet, six days is all too short to effect a complete cure.
Everton directors will take no risk in playing a man about whom there is the slightest doubt on the grounds of fitness. Their policy will be; A sound reserve player is better than a half-fit first team man.
Everton are not likely to forget the Chedgzoy incident at Brighton in 1924. The outside right was limping for some days before the match. Curiously enough, it was a Cup-tie. He was still limping when he took the field after having run up and down the touch-line for 10 minutes before the game, Everton lost that match by five goals to 2, and though the defeat could not be attributed to Chedgzoy, undoubtedly the knowledge that he was not sound upset his colleagues in addition to not allowing him to give of his best. All the rest of the Everton players will play as selected. Coggins bruised his hands at ball practice on Tuesday, but this was slight, and it has left no ill-effects. Every player is in the pink of condition, and the remainder of the preparation will be merely muscle looseners to keep the men in the excellent conditions they have reached.
Albion team choice deferred
Anxiety about two positions.
West Bromwich Albion's eleven will be selected on Saturday morning, when the conditions of the Old Trafford ground is known. The weather, too, will be taken into account. The players to travel are Pearson, Shaw, Trentham, Finch, Magee, WE Richardson, Edwards, Glidden, Raw, Carter, WG Richardson, Sandford and Wood. The extra player to the usual Cup eleven are Finch and Raw, and unless the directors take a risk and make an, experiment which would involve changes in at least three positions –which they are scarcely likely to do –the team which beat the Wolves will carry the club's colour in the semi-final. At the same time, one or two positions have caused the directors some anxiety. Glidden lately has been off colour and Magee, the right half back, has been suffering from lumbago. Rambles in the country have formed the chief item in the training programme of West Bromwich Albion, and the trainer report that he is thoroughly satisfied with the conditions of the men.
WILKINSON TO PLAY FOR GOODISON SIDE TOMORROW
March 12 th 1931. Evening Express.
Critchley's injured ankle fails to stand the test
By the Pilot
I hope for a good, clean game, with the better team getting the Wembley plum. I think that team will be Everton. We realise this is the hardest tasks we have had so far, but the Everton players, are determined to make this a record-season. If we lose it will not be for want of fighting. Ben Williams, Everton captain.
We have every hope winning. We know the might of Everton, but we shall do our best to counter it with our skill and our enthusiasm. West Bromwich and Smithwick people expect us to advance to the final. Depend upon it we shall do, our best to justify our supporters' highest hopes. –Tommy Glidden, West Bromwich captain
Critchley's test at Goodison Park today shattered all Everton's hopes of his inclusion in the team for the F.A. Cup semi-final with West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, Manchester, tomorrow. Wilkinson has been selected to take his place at outside right. Everton therefore, make the first change in the eleven, which has carried them to the last four of the competition. Wilkinson will be making his debut in the F.A.Cup in Everton's colours. Good luck to him! It is hard luck on Critchley that he is unable to play in such an important match. Wilkinson, if he strikes his real form, is a menace to any defence. He has a big heart, is quick off the mark, fast, and can deliverer a tremendous shot on the run.
Match of the season.
The match is certain to be one of the best of the season, and in my opinion Everton will win at the first time of asking. My reasons for being so emphatic are; They are the form team. Twice already in the Second Division they have defeated the Albion. Everton have scored 22 goals in four Cup games against exactly half the number by the Albion in seven games. They have secured 52 points from 31 League matches, whereas the Albion can only claim 39 from a similar number of games. Tradition indicates the Blues as the winners. Three times the clubs have met in the cup-twice in the semi-final-and each time Everton have proved victorious and always reached the last two. The Throstles have a wonderful away record. They have lost but four away games since last March. But their record on foreign soil this season is not as good as Everton's. The Goodison Park men have won 21 points out of 26 played for, and the Albion have collected 17 out of 30 played for. It is true that League form does not count much in cup-ties, especially when that tie is a semi-final and your opponents are West Bromwich Albion –undoubtedly the best team seen at Walton this season. West Bromwich Albion play good football. They are quick-thinking and quiet of action, and they have one of the finest defences in the land. Everton will have to be at their best to win. One thing is certain. If the Albion are to win they will have to get plenty of goals, and I am convinced Dean and company will get goals. The Everton forwards can win this match if they reproduce their recent shooting abilities.
The Albion, who, like Everton, have been training quietly at home, have decided not to select their team until tomorrow morning, but I am informed that there is little likelihood of any change being made from the team which defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers. The ground at Old Trafford is, I am informed, in excellent conditions, and is now “plumb.” This will suit both teams. I understand that Everton are to use the Manchester United dressing room –popularly known as the lucky room. Huddersfield Town used if for last season's semi-final with Sheffield Wednesday and won. Teams; - Everton; - Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; McClure, Gee, Thomson; Wilkinson, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. West Bromwich Albion; (from) –Pearson; Shaw, Trentham, Finch, Magree, W Richardson, Edwards, Gliddens, Raw, Carter, WG Richardson, Sandford, Wood. Referee; E. Wood (Sheffield).
EVERTON'S BID TO REACH WEMBLEY
March 14 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
The old Trafford Due!
By John Peel.
Cup football is full of pitfalls, and while a good measure of confidence is an essential tonic in the endeavours to secure victory, I have seen too many upsets in “form” during a long experience of football to adopt the attitude that anything is “certain” in a Football Association Cup-tie. Clubs who reach the penultimate stage have an even chance, and those super-optimists, who have talked freely of an Everton “walk-over” should pause to remember Fallow-field, and the Crystal Palace, and in more recent times, where a Merseyside club figured in one of the many surprises in Cup semi-finals. In 1914 Aston Villa and Liverpool met at White Hart Lane, the tie was looked upon by the football world (outside Merseyside, of course) as a “grit” for Aston Villa, but Liverpool shattered that dream. Nichol's smashing shots rounding off a very clever performance on the part of Liverpool. It is well to bear in mind there are many other cases of favourities crashing when least expected, and so today we should approach the tie at Old Trafford, in a same spirit. Everton are undoubtedly faced with a difficult task. There is no certainty about what will happened. I know the players do not underestimate the formidable task set them. That is the proper attitude.
Which way will the luck turn?
Luck plays a big part in these games, a mistake or an injury to a player might turn the whole course of a game and shatter all forecasts. Having ventilated this aspect of Cup warfare and the danger of “counting chickens” one must say that Everton at their best are a very powerful side, and will require a tremendous lot of beating providing the players escape injury, and I expect the men to make a bold bid to reach the final once more. They must be encouraged by the knowledge that they have beaten the Albion on three previous occasions in Cup-ties, while this season Everton have prevailed in the two League matches, in each case after being in arrears at the interval. These facts must make for a certain degree of confidence, and the general record of the team is such that a victory today would crown a great season. Prolific scorers, the forwards are the main hope of attaining the desired success, and it is a pity that Critchley will be unable to take his place. Still Wilkinson will make an able substitute, for he is a dashing player who knows how to cut in at the right time. The half-backs are a workmanlike trio, and the backs are experienced and reliable players.
Albion's Trust .
The Albion has the reputation of being a terrier like and trustful set of players, who never know when they are beaten. Their defence is one of the best in the game, while their left wingers will require a deal of watching. It should be a great game with little between them, but I think Everton will have sufficient reserve power to turn the scale. The teams are expected to line up as follows, kick-off at 3- Everton; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; McClure, Gee, Thomson, Wilkinson, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. West Brom; Pearson; Shaw, Tretham; Mageee, W. Richardson, Edwards, Glidden, Carter, WG Richardson, Sandford, Wood.
CROWDS INVADE PLAYING PITCH
March 14 th 1931. Evening Express.
Many People reported unjured.
Dash to the Stands.
Amazing scenes were witness at Old Trafford, Manchester, today, at the F.A. Cup semi-final between Everton and West Bromwich Albion. Crowds rushed the gates and thousands swept over the playing pitch, the police being unable to stem the tide. More than 200 people, including Woman and boys, are reported injured. Three quarters of an hour before the kick off the ground was packed and most of the entrances had been closed, although thousands had assembled outside.
Police fail to stem rush
At Manchester. Today. The scene reminded one of the memorable opening Cup Final at Wembley, when the crowd opened the gates. Three quarters of an hour before the kick off the ground was packed. Many gates were closed and the people stayed on the banks like corn in a field. People were crushed and had to be carried to the touch line, where an number of ambulance men and police did their best to attend to them. An uninjured people commenced to push the rails and take up places on the edge of the playing pitch. Mounted policemen and foot policemen tried to help them, but no sooner did they rush at a point than the people were over another. At 2-20 the inevitable happened, the crowd on the far side of the ground push over the rails in thousands, the cordon of police, and dashed to the ground at a wild pace to the area. Police on the stand side of the ground were ready to meet the charge, and conceded to some extent in holding up the good tide of humanity.
Extra police called.
Some people, however, scrambled into the stands. Van loads of extra police rushed to the ground, and they many strenuous efforts to push the spectators off the playing pitch.
Yards from the touch line.
Many hung about inside the railings, to the efforts of the police could remove them. It was impossible, for in the time spectators had filled up the it places, so we were to have this line with spectators a yard from the touch line all sides except that of the main stands.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 EVERTON 0 (F.A. Cup game 131)
March 16 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Chances that were too easy
How Everton hopes were shattered
Glidden's header deceives defence.
Everton bade good-bye to the English Cup on Saturday, and disappointed the majority of the 70,000 spectators who came from far and near to see the side, known as the “scoring machine.” A cog had gone loose at Old Trafford. Everton were not themselves, and Glidden got the only goal of the day to take his side to the final tie at Wembley on April 25 th . It was a bitter blow and the manner of its making was the more galling to the thousands of people from Liverpool, who knew this was not the real Everton, but a harried hurrying almost too-confident Everton, who had enjoyed so much attack in the first half, that they felt a goal would come automatically. Wherein they were all wrong. Everton have gained most of their points away from home through stemming the first half rush of their rivals. The rush was here. West Bromwich Albion raced through by means of their wing men, Everton commanded the game almost from the start. They did not fear these occasional raids, nor could anyone else, when one remembered that wood at outside left was the one forcing character of the Albion attack. Take away Wood and there is nothing left. That was the position so far as the Albion's chances of snapping a goal were concerned.
Four open goals lost.
When they broke away, they were beaten on the rousing back of Williams or the canny Cresswell. Thus everything depended upon the capacity for goals of the Everton forward line. The line had lost a link by reason of Critchley's accident. That is only a partial response to the call. “Why did Everton refuse four open goals?” Everton lost the game through ruthless careless, for hasty notions of play when the simple chances came their way. If they could not, or would not, take “gifts” in the first half then they might expect a change of front in the second half. Williams had won the toss and had taken the value of the wind. It was valuable, yet I believe some of the Everton players did not realise how strong the sun and wind were until they came to the second half, and found the true state of affairs. Really the openings of the first half were too easy; this was the tragedy of the Cup; Everton left the field beaten by a freak goal to nought. It was absurd to think of them being beaten when the first half misses were recalled. Yet in the end I made up my mind that the better side had won. This is sure to be challenged by the people who use the word “better” in a curious sense. If Everton could overpower the West Bromwich Albion half-backs for more than half an hour and stand before the goal four times with the most ridiculously easy chances against a goalkeeper who was so nervy that he nearly put the ball into his own net on two occasions –well. Everton cannot expect praise from me in their narrow defeat. One goal is sufficient in the Cup struggles.
Albion call the tune.
To be quite fair to gallant winners, let me state that in the second half, West Bromwich called the time and all the stresses and strife of the crack Everton forwards counted for nothing. They had an occasional chance to score, but generally speaking Albion took command and having weathered the first half storm, I claim that their performance in the second half stamped them as “the better side.”?
The goal they got was a golden one –by Glidden, the captain. It was not a pretty one; it faulted Coggins to a degree; I think he and his backs though the ball would go outside the post. Actually it was a header that bounced into the far-left corner, and Coggins at a second attempt to save, merely brushed the ball with his gloves. Where Pearson had committed every offence in this goal in the first half, Coggins had made but a half mistake and that had meant his side leaving the cup hopes behind them.
Forwards off colour.
Do not let us get the wrong out-look on this goal. It had been said that Albion to win must get 3 goals. Everton's forward line must therefore take the blame of this defeat. They were not themselves. Where they had been crack goal-getters, they were now the merest maudlin forwards in the goal area. They should have taken a four goals lead in half an hour and then Coggins part-parry would not have been considered the keynote to the day. Actually one must give high praise to the Albion defence. Shaw and Tretham even more so were brilliant backs –only superior to our own backs, because they had so much more work to do than the Everton pair. It was in the manner of their positioning that the Albion defence scored so heavily. They were astounding in their forethought and their knowledge of where the Everton forwards must make his next pass. Thus it was made to appear that Johnson was notably below his known style in making the play by wise passes. Many times he could not get his pass to the most dangerous winger on the field, Stein, whereas Albion always found a passage to Wood, who in very pleasant manner kept raiding –and centring. Dunn tried to make the close game fitting to the occasion. He was fairly successful in keeping the line from losing its sense of balance. There was in the centre a rousing man who ran into a first class centre half-back and two of the best backs the game knowns.
Dean Attempts Too Much
Dean has had his joy days; there he did many things single handedly, but I think he fan a trifle wild! He attempted too much, worked too hard argued with the referee over decisions got away with a patent handling cases that might have cost the Midlanders a goal. Dean was too keen. He blazed at goal with a devil may care manner; he headed beautify, but after the first twenty minutes when he made Everton look so onerously “on top” he had little change for his charge and his challenge. Wilkinson was naturally perturbed. He should have taken two goals early on; but he was not alone in his uncertainly. McClure for instance, was inclined to slice his asses. Gee had good command and played in his nonchalant manner against Richardson, the winners' centre-forward, who once let out a fine drive that Coggins gripped very ably. Everton had no long shot; no far range shot, if we except Dunn's endeavour that thawed up Pearson a nerve ridden state. It was the short shot that Everton threw to the winds.
Galling defeat where none need have beer and where one could have been prevented must not debar the Albion their due mead of praise. Standford, a boy of eighteen, did remarkably well; Glidden was a fine leader and worker, together with stout hearts at full-back and half-backs, and Wood the most dependable forward on the field. Carter was not at his best till the second half, and then he made telling single-handed runs and was also a fine helpmate to his veteran half-back, Magee, who seems to defy all age rules. It was close, sporting, varying fluctuating, and enjoyable football to watch and Everton took their defeat in a sporting manner . Teams; - West Bromwich Albion; - Pearson, goal; Shaw and Trentham, backs; Magee, W. Richardson, and Edwards, half-backs; Glidden (captain), Carter, WG Richardson, Sandford, and Wood, forwards. Everton; - Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; McClure, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Wilkinson, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, and Stein, forwards.
EVERTON RESERVES 1 STOKE CITY 0
March 16 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 33)
The goal at Goodison Park came eighteen minutes from the start, Webster netting following sound wing work by Britton. The home side deserved their success, although the City attack subjected the Everton defences during the first half to some very severe gruelling spasms. That Everton did not get any more goals was due to the sound defence of Beswick, Williamson, and Dawson, and the ability of the line to counteract Stoke's offside tactics.
Everton “A” 6 St James C.Y.M.S 1
Liverpool County Combination
At Stopgate-lane. Gorry for Everton, made some clever saves. Fryer (2) and Jones scored for Everton and Caughley replied for the Saints before the interval. After the resumption Lloyd, Jones, and Cunliffe netted.
WHY EVERTON FAILED TO REACH CUP FINAL
March 16 th 1931. Evening Express
Attack fails in front of goal; Albions great defence.
By the Pilot.
“We are disappointed because we are out of the Cup; we congratulate West Bromwich Albion and hope they will win it. Our boys failed today, but that is not everything. They have brought to us the greatest honours that any team could bring to the club in the history of football.”
These words of Mr. W.C. Cuff, at the Everton Football Club dinner in Manchester, after Everton's surprising defeat in the Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, epitomises the feeling of every supporter of the club, no matter how great his disappointment. The West Bromwich view is; “We were lucky to win. It was a lucky goal, but Everton had the luck in the two League games. Now the account is balanced.”
The moving finger has written, and it is useless to “tempt it back to cancel half a line,” but even so there cannot be any two minds about the fact that the goal that took West Bromwich Albion to Wembley was a freak. That a goal was a tragedy. I am certain Glidden never meant to score when he did. When he saw the ball in the net he stood still and gasped until he was mobbed by his colleagues. It happened this way. The ball was dropped across to the Albion captain standing just inside the penalty area. He promptly headed it in a lob manner back into the goalmouth Williams and Coggins were alone, except for the inrunning Richards (WG), and I think Coggins laboured under the delusion that Williams was going to take the ball. Instead, Williams was moving out to ward off Richardson. Coggins allowed his eye to stray from the ball the fraction of a second, and before he could do anything it had made one slow, big hop, passed over his head and squeezed inches inside the post. Coggins made a frantic, desperate effort to turn it aside but was too late. That, however, was not the only tragic thing about Everton's play. The forwards had sufficient chances in the first half to build up an unassailable lead. This is the real tragedy, for had they done that which they have been accomplishing with such regularity throughout the season, the Albion goal would not have mattered. Everton were fifty per cent the better team in the first half. They played the better football; they possessed the cuter ideas; their execution was more exact and elevating. Their manceurves won them the openings for which they worked –them, they failed hopelessly.
I will enumerate the occasions when the most potent attack in the land was absolutely impotent;
Wilkinson shot outside when running in from the right to meet Stein's centre.
Johnson went clean through from Wilkinson's pass, and with only Pearson to beat from 10 yards range shot weakly straight at the goalkeeper.
Wilkinson, running in after Pearson had patted out a Dean header, hit the ball with his wrong foot from two yards range, and was hopelessly wide, when a side tap would have brought a goal.
Dean, right through from Dunn's lob pass, took a chance with a first time shot, and was high over when he could have brought the ball to ground and scored at will.
These are the four most obvious misses of the first half. Everton should have had goals on each occasion. Everton were seen at their best in the first half. In the second half they slowed down, and there was not the same smoothness about their work. When the goal was scored they were infected with over-anxiety, and though still on top territorially they lost a deal of their subtlety, which alone could have broken down the greatest defence in England today. I have seen Shaw and company in action four times this season. On each occasion they have impressed me. On Saturday they thrilled me by they perfect covering, intrepid tackling, deadly interventing, and sure kicking. Their tackling was tenacious to a degree. They swept ball and man; it was earnest and dour. By nursing the ball the Everton aided them. Shaw, Trentham, Richardson (W.), and Edwards were positively brilliant. I recently wrote that Shaw should be given international honours. Now I am more convinced of this than ever. Coggins played well apart from his one lapse. A save from Sandford in the second half was almost super-human. The backs were good even though somewhat overshadowed by the rear divisions of the winners. Cresswell was cool, deliberate, and sound in all he did; Williams was determined, a fine tackler, and a fine leader, I thought of Jimmy Jackson when I saw Williams dashing up among the forwards in the last minutes rallying his forces.
Gee was the best half-back on the field. His first half display was as good as anything he has done for Everton. He always made good use of the ball, and his heading and defensive powers could not have been better. Thomson and McClure were earnest intermediates who contributed pretty football touches without aspiring to brilliance. Stein took the forward honours. He was even more effective than the Albion's best raider, Wood. Magee was never a match for the swift Scot, who showed amazing ball control, while travelling at top speed, and his centres were always a menace. Johnson played the “W” formation to his detriment, and Dunn was inclined to use the inside pass far too much. Neither played as well as usual. Dean was essentially a worker, yet he was so well watched that few opportunities came his way. Wilkinson was not given many chances, but never inspired. There is no doubt that Critchley was missed.
Their Best –But Unlucky
At the Everton club dinner, after the match, Mr. W. C. Cuff, in addition to the remarks quoted above said; - “The team has set out to lift us back to the sphere of football in which we were always an ornament, and have always been missed since we have been out of it. “We take off our hats to the team. They have done nobly, I trust we shall finish this season demonstrating beyond any doubt whatever that we are fit and proper members of the First Division.
“I expressed the thanks of all to the players for all they have done to make this a record season.”
Ben Williams, the captain said. “All our players are on the level –we are all good pals. We are disappointed, it is true, but we have done our best only to find luck against us.” “If the spirit of determination which exists among the players is preserved, there is no reason why we should not go on and win the Cup next season,” said Tommy Johnson. “That is what we all hope.” “We have tried our hardest, but we have been unlucky,” were the words of Billy Dean. “We have done our best. We have got a useful lead in the League. We are out on our own in League matches, and I think we shall finish up with a record lead in the Second Division.”
Warny Cresswell said; “I am really sorry we were beaten. I do not suppose I shall have the same opportunity again. I would like to see the Albion win the Cup. They were lucky, but you must have luck to win the Cup.”
Mr. Ernest Green, the vice chairman proposed the health of Mr. Cuff, and Mr. Jack Sharp, director, seconding, recalled how he once missed a penalty in a cup semi-final at Old Trafford against Barnsley and this lost Everton the match. “I can realise how Billy Coggins feels,” he said, “but he must not worry over it, for he is the best goalkeeper in the country today.”
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 EVERTON 0 (Game 32)-(Lge Game 3084 over-all)-(Div 1 3052)
March 17 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Another Blow for Everton
Spurs' take valuable points.
Mistake which cost a goal.
For the second time in three days Everton lost by a goal to nought. First it was the Cup, yesterday, it was a League game at Tottenham, and for the second time this season they failed to score. The weekend's sadness was carried a further point by the fact that the only goal scored, as in the cup semi-final came though a mistake on the part of an Everton player. McClure kicked over the ball after the game at Tottenham had gone ten minutes, and Harper went in to score with a low left-footed shot.
The reaction that sets in following a cup defeat often carries a heavy weight, and although Everton played moderately in the first half, when the wind was favourable to them, they once again showed their staying propensities and moreover gave a very fine rallying second half, display when they elements were against them, and when Fate caused them to play ten men and a damaged member in Thomson, who gave a plucky display for an hour in spite of a badly damaged leg. He worked with rare will and skill against the Tottenham left wing, which is made up of two Welshmen, and behind Thomson was the Peter Pan of football, W. Cresswell.
Cresswell at his best.
Cresswell had more kicks at the ball than any other of the twenty-two players. He was a thoroughly captivating defeners, and what is more rare in a full back, vary able in the placing of the ball, often running forward for the purpose of linking up with the half backs and forwards, but to be quite frank he did not get much response to his call because when he “proposed” his suit was not pressed by Johnson, who played as though he were stale.
Dean's Claim Overruled.
Gee likewise faded out in the second half after a superb first half display, it did not seen possible that Everton could play so well in the second half. They had the Spurs on the stretch through practically the whole of the period, and against that it must be declared that Spiers had a comforting day. The referee in the estimation of the spectators, who had come to see this promotion battle, was generally at fault, especially in offside decisions which Cresswell and Williams made fairly patent. Dean claimed a penalty kick for hands, but the rule says the handling must be intentional, and he was the only one who claimed for a spot-kick, and it was no surprise to me that the claim was overruled. The Spurs were a big side, with backs, who stood up to their task, while Messier rarely gave Dean a chance to show his ability as a header of the ball. Once, however, Dean definitely headed the ball to astutely that the referee imagined he had handled the ball. This was a period when Everton were playing well, and when the home right wing was being held by the subtely and charm of Cresswell and Thomson. In addition, the remainder of the left flank, Stein and Johnson were at this point in their best form, Stein particularly so. Everton's forward line, however, did not live up to the title of the Big Five when they got near goal, and in the first half the “W” plan was foiled. It was in this period that Wilkinson showed much better form and more confidence than in the Cup semi-final. These were valuable points to the Spurs, who are racing neck and neck with West Bromwich Albion, and they have rarely had to work so hard for the narrow margin of a goal.
Power of Messer.
Messer was their power. Lyons was particular good at full back and Alsford struck me as an able young wing half-back. The forward late was readily held after the game has settled down. On the Everton side Gee had a brilliant first half. Coggins was much the busier goalkeeper and was never at fault until in kicking away from hand, the ball struck a forward and rolled towards goal. However, the match will be remembered as Cresswell's match, and Williams in spite of his thigh injury of the week-end, did very excellent work, and was a rousing and able defender. Everton have such a good lead that the defeat should not worry them; but coming, as it does, on the top of the semi-final defeat, one can hardly anticipate whether it will have an effect upon future games. There was not disgrace in this defeat, but there was a sting in it for Everton, because a win yesterday would have made it a walk-over for the championship. Teams; - Everton; - Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; McCLure, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Wilkinson, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, and Stein, forwards. Tottenham Hotspur; Spiers, goal; Lyons and Hodginson, backs; Alford, Messer, and Meads, half-backs; Davies, O'Callaghan, Harper, Cook, and Smalies, forwards.
EVERTON STRIKETHE “BAD PATCH.”
March 17 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
By John Peel
Everton seem to have struck the “bad patch” to their season's work at the most critical time, and it is hoped that the defeat in the Cup and the failure to score at Tottenham, yesterday will not upset the side, for they have a fine chance of winning the Second Division Championship by a record margin. The victory places Tottenham in a fine position for they have gamed four points over the Albion, who, however, have two games in hand, but the knowledge that they have secured the points must be a district advantage to the Spurs in the race for second place. That it is going to be a very keen struggle is obvious. The fact that the Albion are in the Cup final should not disturb their League position, as the Wembley duel will not be played until April 25 th . Everton have ten matches to play four at home and six away, and a lead of nine points they should win by a distance.
Everton to visit Prenton.
The Tranmere Rovers team to meet Everton in the semi-final of the Liverpool Senior Cup, at Prenton on Thursday, kick off at 5-15, is the game as that which defeated Wigan Borough namely; Briggs, Shears, Livingstone, Barton, Kennedy (a), Lewis, Meston, Watts, Dixon, Kennedy (j), Urmson.
THOSE EVERTON BLUES
March 17 th 1931. Evening Express
Lack Harmony at White Hart Lane.
Cresswell the Brightest Soloist.
By the Pilot. Two matches lost in succession! This is not the real Everton –the wonder team we have known this season. Was it the lively ball and the dry ground at White Hart lane that caused yesterday's 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur? Was it that the great unavailing effort in the Cup semi-final two days before took the sparkle out of the Liverpool men? Was it the keen desire that Dixie Dean should score his 200 th League goal that upset the Blues' attack –that hitherto almost irresistible scoring machine? One's mind is bound to run in the groove of speculation after seeing the League failure against the moderate ‘Spurs, but whatever conclusion one might arrive at, the fact remains that this was not the wonder team that has thrilled the football world this season.
The League positions now is-
P W L D F A Pts
Everton 32 24 4 4 104 47 52
Tottenham H. 33 20 10 3 76 41 43
West Brom A. 31 16 8 7 62 37 39
“There is many a slip –“ But I don't think is any cause for aniexty.
If Everton's promotion rivals are no better than Tottenham Hotspur than six more points will see the Blues back in the First Division. The ‘Spurs must consider themselves fortunate to be second in the League if yesterday's form is to be accepted as a criterion, and the Tottenham directors assumed me that they were almost as good as usual. West Bromwich are 50 per cent better and despite the Cup defeat Everton are a better team than the Albion. There you have the situation in a nutshell.
Cresswell's Great Game.
Cresswell was the man of the match yesterday. He opened the season in the strange position of left back, and did it well. During the first four months of the season he was as good as any back in the League, and gave many a splendid exhibition. Recently, however, he has felt the strain, and the wiseheads have said, “Cresswell is cracking.”
He upset this idea yesterday, in fact, he played his best game of the season. “Charlie Buchan, Cresswell's former club-mate, sitting just behind me, was astonished that a player now-styled a veteran could interpret the subtle arts of defensive play with such skill. The secret of Cresswell's success, his wonderful tackling, clever dribbling and precise placing was that he always came to meet the ball instead of waiting for it to come to him, like so many other players of both sides did. Everyone rose to him, and he deserved it.
The first half was Tottenham's without the shadow of a doubt, and it was during the ninth minute that McClure's tragic miskick allowed Harper, Dean's rival in the race for goal-scoring championship of the section, to score the all-important point. Second half honours went to the Blues, but in addition to there being a slowness to shoot, the general plan was moulded too much on Dean instead of on the wingers. Dean did not have a good match, thanks to the attentions of Messer. Everton carried a semi-passager in Thomson, who twisted his ankle in the first ten minutes, but he played on, giving a good exhibition in face of his handicap. Gee played well for an hour, and McClure got over a shaky start against a lively winger in Smailes. Williams was a grand supporter of the brilliant Cresswell except that a slight bruise affected his placing. Coggins made one or two good saves in goal, but like others often found difficulty in dealing with a windswept ball. Forward Stein again took the honours.
Mr. W.C. Cuff, the chairman, Mr. Clarry Haynes and Mr. Tom McIntosh, secretary, will attend the Football Association Commission inquiry into the Ronald Dix case on behalf of the Everton club in London on Monday.
EVERTON TO TOUR
March 18 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
By John Peel.
A message received from Stockholm states that Everton are to play a match in May, by Mr. W.C. Cuff the Everton chairman, informs me that the decision has yet been arrived at by the directors. The club has received the invitation to tour in the continent and it remains to be seen weather they will accept one of them. Meanwhile Everton resume their efforts to increase their advantage at the top of the Second Division on Saturday, when Millwall are to visitor Goodison Park. Everton have made a couple of changes, Critchley is fit again, and he will resume his usual position at outside-right. An unexpected change, however, is the inclusion of Britton at right half in place of McClure, who has had a long and successful run, and he is taking a rest.
EVERTON'S TWO TEAM CHANGES.
March 18 th 1931. Evening Express.
Britton at Half-back, Cxritchley in the wing.
By the Pilot.
Everton make their first voluntary team change since Jan 10 th for their Second Division match with Millwall at Goodison Park on Saturday. McClure, who displaced McPherson at right-half, after the great victory at Swansea in January, and who has been playing exceedingly well in all the subsequent cup and League matches, stands down in favour of Britton, the former Bristol Rovers player. Critchley, who twisted his ankle in the game with Reading at Goodison Park, is fit again, and returns to his place at outside right to the exclusion of Wilkinson. Teams; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; Britton, Gee, Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. The Millwall team will be selected from Wilson, Sweetman, Pipe or Moran, Newcomb, Hancock, Graham, Wadesworth, Swallow, Landells, Forsyth, Pixton,. Pipe is suffering from a strained muscle in the groin.
TRANMERE ROVERS 3 EVERTON RESERVES 3
March 20 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final
Everton pull up in the Dusk
Six goals shared in Local Cup-tie.
From Tranmere Rovers' point of view, a draw of three goals each was the worst possible result for their semi-final tie in the Liverpool Senior Cup against Everton, because this means an extra game when the fixture list is getting overcrowded. It was an entertaining game at Everton, and yet Tranmere should have won. The last quarter of an hour was played in semi-darkness, and it was during this time that Everton pulled up from being 3-1 down. If the result had been 3-1 it would have favoured Tranmere unduly, but the 3-3 decision is not quite the right return from their point of view. White appeared to have scored a perfect goal, which the referee disallowed, and on another occasion it seemed that Sagar scooped the ball away before it had crossed the line, whereas the official decision was a goal. Maston got the first goal, and nearly took a second when Towers intervened and was injured. The Everton had a goal disallowed, and Dixon from a doubtful position, made a splendid lob over Sagar's head, the goalkeeper touching the ball upwards slightly and then making a dash and a scroop away, all of which was of no avail.
White in Good Form.
Tranmere led 2-0 at the interval, but White got a final goal before Dixon made it 3-1 following a dash down the centre of the field. Wilkin scored late on, and Griffiths three minutes from the end, from a corner kick, headed into the net. It was good clean, hard football on a ground, which did not lend itself to first time passing, and on which the ball bounced awkwardly. Tranmere, who have rarely beaten Everton in a match of this character, did very well to built up a lead, but when Everton stayed the course better the bad light contributed to the home side's down fall. No player worked so well as White, whose first half display was brilliant. Everton's attack was not seen in a good light until the game was nearly over, and their half-backs apart from Griffiths, were rather lethargic and inclined to treat matters too lightly. Sagar, who was injured, saved one particularly good effort from Urmson, and was fairly safe otherwise Fishwick, who played at inside right instead of Watts did not get into the stride of the game, until late on, but Urmson, Dixon, and Meston were successful attackers, and Barton, in opposition to Rigby, an outstanding half-back. The team played well as a whole until they started to fade out a matter of minutes from the finish. Teams; - Tranmere Rovers; - Briggs, goal; Shears and Livingstone, backs; Barton, A. Kennedy, and Lewis, half-backs; Meston, Fishwich, Dixon, J. Kennedy, and Urmson, forwards. Everton; - Sagar, goal; Common and Cook, backs; McPherson, Griffiths, and Towers, half-backs; Wilkinson, Martin, White, Webster and Rigby, forwards.
March 20 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury.
By John Peel
Tomorrow Everton have Millwall Athletic as visitors at Goodison park for their return Second Division engagement, and at this will mark the London club's first appearance on Merseyside. They are bound to make a bold bid to carry off the points. Only twice previously have the clubs met, the first occasion being in 1903-04 in the third round of the English Cup, when Everton prevailed 1-0 at the Den, (Everton Lost 1-0) and during the early part of the present season, when Everrton were again successful at the Den in a League game by 3-0. Since that time, however, Millwall have shown a declined improvement and have had a good run during recent weeks, including victories over Preston North End (3-1), Bristol City (2-1), Barnsley (4-1), Swansea Town (3-1), and a division of the points with West Bromwich Albion. Millwall gained promotion to the Second Division in 1927-28.
EVERTON TEAM CHANGES.
March 20 th 1931. Evening Express.
By the Pilot.
A last minute change is necessary at Everton for tomorrow, Thomson, the Everton left half-back, was given a test today for his ankle injury received against Tottenham Hotspur, and was found to be unfit, White comes into the team. This is Thomson's first absence from the side this season. Everton have an opportunity of completing their seventh double of the season. They have taken four points from Plymouth Arygle, Swansea Town, West Bromwich Albion, Bradford City, Charlton Athletic, and Reading. Dean has another chance of registering the elusive 200 th football league goal for Everton.
MILLWALL VISIT EVRTON.
March 21 st 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
By John Peel.
Compared with the excitement which no doubt contributed to Everton's downfall in the cup, they will face the League task against Millwall today in a more tranquil spirit, and I expect the team to settle down to their former dominating play. With nine points advantage and a game in hand, Everton seem assured of the championship, but the object in view is to obtained as many points as possible, and in the ordinary course of events two points should be added to the club's fine record today. Millwall have been playing well of late, but I belivie Everton will prevail by a good margin. Critchley returns to the team, and Britton comes in for McClure, but Thomson is unable to play owing to the injury received at Tottenham, and White takes his place. On the visitors side a notable personality is Harold Wadsworth, who formerly assisted Liverpool. A collection is to be made at the ground for the National Playing Fields for Boys Fund. Collectors should be at the ground not later than two o'clock. The match starts bat 3-15. Teams; Everton; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; Britton, Gee, White; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein. Millwall; Wilson; Sweetman, Pipe (or Moran); Newcomb, Hancock, Graham; Wadsworth, Swallow, Landells, Forsyth, Poxton.
EVERTON 2 MILLWALL 0 (Game 33)-(Lge Game 3085 over-all)-(Div 1 3052)
March 23 rd 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Everton below Best Form.
Millwall Prove Difficult to Beat
Penalty Missed by Dean
Poor finishing made Everton's task more difficult than it should have been in the game with Millwall. They won by two clear goals, but it could not be said they touched championship form. The forwards had enough chances in the first half to win the game with ease, but they left the scoring till the second period, when Johnson (54 minutes) and Critchley 82 minutes) scored. Again Dean went goalless, and his individual total is still 1999. Early on he did get the ball in the net, but was given off-side –a rather fine decision.
Wilson Thwarts Dean.
The hero of the game was Wilson, the Millwall goalkeeper, and it almost looked as though he had a special mission in thwarting Dean. Time and again the Everton centre fired in shots that must have beaten any ordinary goalkeeper, but Wilson seemed inspired. He took the ball cleanly, and several hot volleys from point blank range were taken with the safety and assurance of a county cricketer. Even a penalty kick brought no luck of Dean, as his shot struck the foot of an upright and although he netted from the rebound he was than offside. That happened five minutes before Johnson, Johnson, from a pass by Dean, scored a shot that struck the woodwork before entering the net. Critchley's goal eight minutes from the end came from a free kick given against Wilson for taking too many strides before clearing the ball. The kick off was taken a few yards from the Millwall goal, and Johnson with admirable tact passed the ball to Critchley, who was one of the few unmarked players, what time Critchley drove well into the net. Millwall were more dangerous in the second half, and their work at times reached a fairly good standard. Throughout the first half, however, Everton practically monopolished the attack without being able to get beyond the Millwall defence. It was not a creditable display from an Everton viewpoint.
Defence Stands Out.
The scoring machine did not function well and considering the chances the accrued, Everton made a mountain out of a molehill. The defence, however, was beyond criticism, Cresswell's work reached a high standard. Cool and resourceful, he positioned himself so that his interceptions were both timely and helpful. In a more vigorous way Williams made light of the Millwall attack, while Coggins, although he had not a great deal to do, was safe and sound. Thomson missed his first game since joining the club, and in a fairly strong middle line Gee and Britton were prominent workers. The extreme wing men, Critchley and Stein wasted a number of good chances, and it was this weakness that made the line unbalanced, Dean was a trier all through and was well supported by both Dunn and Johnson, although often they kept the ball too close. The best on the Millwall side were Wilson, Sweetman, Moran, and Hancock. Teams; - Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; Britton, Gee, and White, half-backs; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, and Stein, forwards. Millwall; - Wilson, goal; Sweetman and Moran, backs; Newcomb, Hancock and Graham, half-backs; Wadsworth, Swallow, Landalis, Forsyth, and Poxton, forwards.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS RESERVES 4 EVERTON RESERVES 2
March 23 rd 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 34)
Everton Reserves provided the Wolves with the hardest game of the season at Wolverhampton. The match took a dramatic turn ten minutes from time. Phillips for the Wolves scoring two goals in five minutes. Everton were strong all round, with Griffiths outstanding. Wilkinson improved as the game progressed. The goals were obtained for Wolves Martin and Phillips (3), and for Everton, Martin was the successful marksman . Everton; - Sagar, goal; Common and Cook, backs; Chedgzoy, Griffiths and McClure, half-backs; Wilkinson, Martin, Davies, Webster and Leyfield.
FORGET THAT 200 TH GOAL!
March 23 rd 1931. Evening Express
It is Cramping Everton's Style.
The Lions Roar But Do Not Bite.
By the Pilot.
I wish Dean would get that 200 th League goal! In his last four League games –against Nottingham Forest, Reading, Tottenham Hotspur and Millwall –he has done his level best and has failed. More than that, his colleagues have done everything possible to help him, but that goal still eludes Dean. I wish he would score it, not so much for his personal record, although it is a matter for admiration, but for the sake of Everton as a team. One cannot be blind to the fact that this one goal is proving the bugbear of the Blues at the moment. It is affecting Dean's play. It is affecting that of Johnson and Dunn. Why cannot Everton forget it and play their ordinary game? Against Millwall the side even deviated from its customary plan by making Johnson the regular penalty taker, stand down when they got a spot kick to allow Dean to take it. Dean can score penalties – I have seen him –but on this occasion he hit an upright, and was so chagrined at his failure that he played the ball a second time so that his scoring shot was rightly disallowed. You see the psychological effect it has on the player.
I think Dean did get the elusive goal legitimately when he put the ball into the Millwall net in the first ten minutes of the game. The referee Mr. Clark, though otherwise. Dunn placed forward to Dean, positioned between the backs, Dixie gathered the pass well and beat Wilson easily, only to find that the referee had whistled, apparently for offiside. After the match I asked Mr. Clark why he disallowed the goal and he said, “Dean was not offside when he scored, but he ran from an offside position.” This is the official view and one cannot question it, but I disagree. In my opinion Dean ran forward and not back to accept the pass. Wilson, the Lion's goalkeeper was yet another bogy to Dean. Some of his saves at the expense of Dixie were remarkable. This was Wilson's day, yet his propensity for carrying directly led to Everton's second goal, scored by Critchley, Johnson having obtained the first. The Lions were game defenders, but so prefect were Williams and Cresswell that their attack was reduced almost to impotency. The Everton backs are playing right at the top of their form at the moment, and I am happy to think that Cresswell has shaken off the uncertainty, which troubled him for two or three matches. No one could doubt the subtlety and accuracy with which Johnson and Dunn initiated attacks. They were the best forwards on the field and put in that extra bit which was necessary when it was found that neither Critchley nor Stein could really master two purposeful wing halves in Newcomb and Graham.
White Does Well.
Congratulations to White on his versatility. Deputising for the injured Thomson, he played as if he were born to the left half position. Praise also to Britton, who was a nippy intervener and clever user of the ball. More praise even to Gee, again the best half-back on the field.
Everton are stated to have been represented at the Bury v Oldham match on Saturday, and Robinson, the Bury left-half, is considered the object of their quest.
Mr. W. C. Cuff was at den's Park to see the Dundee United –Airdrieonians match.
Tootenham Hotspurs and West Bromwich Albion, Everton's closest rivals, for promotion, meet on Saturday. If either club wins this, and all its remaining games and Everton retain their present goal average the Blues will need only five points to make certain of going back to Division 1. If the match is drawn another six points will see Everton realise their ambitions.
DEAN CANNOT PLAY TOMORROW
March 24 th 1931. Evening Express.
Everton leader Barred by International.
By the Pilot.
Dixie Dean will be absent from the Everton side for the first time since September 27 tomorrow when the Goodison Club play their rearranged League Game with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Wolverhampton. The choice is neither his nor the club's. By the ruling of the Football Association, a player selected for an International match cannot play in the week proceeding it, and as Dean will be England's leader against Scotland on Saturday, he must take an enforced rest. The Blues have an excellent chance of bring off another double, for when they Wolves visited Goodison Park in November, Everton won by four clear goals. They will, however, find the Wanderers a formidable obstruct in their efforts to secure two of the five points the Blues need to make certain of promotion.
The Everton team will not be selected until the directors meeting tonight, but I understand that Thomson will be fit to resume at left-back. Should he be fit it will help solve the problem confronting the selectors, for they will be able to move the versatile White to centre forward. White scored nine goals for the first team from inside right early in the season, and he secured 21 for the Central League team. It is probable that Lumberg, the former Wrexham and Welsh International full back will appear at left back for Wolves.
The probable teams are; Coggins; Williams, Cresswell; Britton, Gee, Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, White, Johnson, Stein. Wolves; Tootill; Lowton, Lumberg; Lax, Hollingworth, Rhodes; Crooke, Bottrill, Hartill, Deacon, Hetherington.
EVERTON TO GO ON TOUR
March 25 th 1931. Evening Express.
Visit to Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Everton have agreed to tour Sweden, Denmark and Finland at the end of the season. The directors have decided to accept the offer for matches to be played at Stockholm, Helsingfors, Gothenburg and Copenhagen. All that remains is for the contracts to be completed.
George Harrison, the Preston North End and Former Everton winger, requires one goal for his century of goals.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 3 EVERTON 1 (Game 34)-(Lge Game 3086 over-all)-(Div 1 3052)
March 26 th 1931`. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Everton Slip Back.
Goalkeeper's Errors at Wolverhampton
Forwards Fail with Light Ball.
Everton lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers, at Wolverhampton, yesterday by 3 goals to 1. Two of the goals were presentations. It would seem that Coggins, the Everton goalkeeper, has lost touch with his form, because he was in error on two occasions; in the first case a simple header was attempted near the left wing by Beacon, and the ball which had little pace, must have been, in the estimation of Coggins, passing outside. He stuck out a foot, but was too late, and a goal was scored. Later Coggins went down to a ball that he should have taken cleanly, but when challenged by a forward the goalkeeper began to bore his way through some opponents. Coggins scrambled up and threw the ball to the feet of Bottrill, who easily scored. The game was Everton's for the asking for they were so much on top at the opening. They got a goal from a corner well taken by Stein, White (deputising for Dean, who was debarred from playing owning to the international match) heading the ball into the net, although in my estimation Tootrill was at fault in not handling as the ball came across the goalmouth.
Lack of Pace.
Having taken the lead, Everton should have been competent enough to beat this side, but allowing for goalkeeping failures on either side the result does not overestimate the preponderance of attack on the part of the winners. Everton lost because they were unable to show pace, and decision on a dry ground with a light ball. The change of turf seems to have upset the Everton forwards. They are unable to keep time with the swift movements of a side like Wolverhampton, who are not only sharp, but also, trustful. This is particularly noticeable at outside right and outside left. Critchley had a most extraordinary day. He was frequently falling foul of Referee Attwood. Critchley simply had nothing to do except contend with a lot of fouls, Stein had a good first half and a bad second half, but the Everton side, with the exception of the full backs, was below par even allowing for the endeavours of Thomson, Gee and Britton.
Hartill's Fine Goal.
Actually the only good goal in four was that which made the equaliser in thirty-three minutes. Hartill scoring a good shot after smart work on the right wing. The Everton forwards never really got down to their normal game, and Johnson and Dunn in particular, were working without effect. White deserves praise because he passed well in spite of his comrades. His heading was a feature in a game that was rather dull because on the one hand we had-go-ahead methods, and on the other the lax Everton side, and neither team in front of goal was value for a score, except in the case of Hartill. Wolverhampton played a reserve back and a reserve half-back; Shaw making his debut in the League in place of Lumberg, of Wrexham, gave an excellent show, Lax and Rhodes dour half-backs and the home wing men; Barraclough and Phillips in spite of the forgetfulness of the rules, were extremely dangerous until they were within shooting distance.
Williams Stands Out.
Williams did his best; in fact, I will say that this was one of the greatest games that Williams has played, Cresswell also delighted with his touches and his judgement against a facing five, but the 12,000 spectators knew that this defence, could not possibly home to hold out for four-fifths of the evening. There was no relief, however, and although Everton had taken the lead one sensed that the side was still suffering a cup-tie memory. It was a setback to Everton in the League championship desire, but it has its pointer for future reference. The goals were scored as Follows; White, thirteen minutes, Hartill thirty-three minutes, Deacon thirty-five minutes. Bottrill sixty minutes. In addition to which Phillips struck the bar when Coggins was beaten, this being the best shot of the match. Teams; Everton; Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; Britton, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Critchley, Dunn, White, Johnson, and Stein, forwards. Wolverhampton Wanderers- Tootill; goal; Lowton and Shaw, backs; Lax, Hollingworth, Rhodes, half-backs; Phillips, Botrill, Hartill, Dean Barraclough, forwards. Referee Mr. Attwood, Newport.
EVERTON RESERVES 4 BURNLEY RESERVES 0
March 26 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 35)
Everton Reserves beat Burnley Reserves by 4 goals to nothing in a Central League game at Goodison Park, yesterday. Play throughout was interesting with Everton the better finisher. In midfield Burnley did well, but when they got near Sagar their movements generally broke down. At the same time the last named brought of several fines saves from Gates Weaver, and Kelly. Everton had Chedgzoy a son of their old winger, a right-half, and he did well, Everton in the opening half got three goals through Webster and Davies (2) and in the second half, Webster also brought his total to two. Leyfield, the Everton left-winger, was hurt in the second half and retired. This was about fifteen minutes from the restart. For the winners, Martin, G. Davies, a local amateur who led the attack, and Griffiths were in the pick, the Welsh international feeding his front line splendidly. McCluggage was a stout defenders for Burnley and Weaver, the old Birkenhead boy, did good work on the wing. Everton; - Sagar, goal; Common and Cook, backs; Chedgzoy, Griffiths and McClure, half-backs; Wilkinson, Martin, Davies, Webster and Leyfield.
NOT THE REAL EVERTON
March 26 th 1931. Evening Express.
Blues find test Ball too lively
By the Pilot
Everton gave their poorest display of the season at Wolverhampton last night, and deserved their defeat by 3-1. The main reason for their defeat was that the Blues are not a hard ground team. Since the conditions have changed Everton have lost much of their power. The Wolves are experimenting with a new type of ball, Everton wished they had not, it was lively and small, and added to be difficulties of the played, but it stands to the credit of the Wanderers that they could gave lessons to the Blues in the matter of ball control. The truth is that the confidence of the Blues has been badly shaken. The players feel it. They are going through one of those periods when they cannot strike true form, which strove to pull a ragged line together, but only Stein responded. For Critchley it was a nightmare match, every time he touched the ball he was pulled up for a foul. The half-backs were below standard. The bright spot in the team was the backs. Williams and Cresswell tackled and kicked splendidly against a nippy attack.
WILL EVERTON GET BACK ON FORM?
March 27 th 1931. Evening Express.
They should beat Stoke, but-
By the Pilot.
Everton have struck a bad patch, and their visit to Stoke ground cannot be viewed with any confidence. The shock of their Cup-tie defeat has unsettled the team, and as Dean will be an absentee, Everton's task is all the harder. White, who deputizes again for Dean, has plenty of experience in the Centre-forward position, and he should make a capable substitute. In the Stoke game at Goodison Park Everton won by five clear goals, I expect them to complete the double, but the winning margin is likely to be much narrower. Everton are fielding the identical side which lost at Wolverhampton –on Wednesday, which means that Britton will again appear at right half instead of McClure. Stoke have had only a moderate season, and figure in the lower half of the table. A win for the Blues tomorrow will mean that they will require only three more points for promotion, should West Brom beat the Spurs'. Teams, Everton; Coggins, Williams, Cresswell; Britton, Gee, Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, White, Johnson, Stein. Stoke City; Lewis; McGrory, Spencer; Armitage, Jackson, Sellar; Liddle, Bussey, Kirkham, Sale, Archibald.
STOKE CITY 2 EVERTON 0 (Game 35)-(Lge Game 3087-over-all)-(Div 1 3052)
March 30 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Everton Lack sting.
Players, Beaten by Bounce of Ball.
Stoke City Adopt the Right Tactics.
It is now proved beyond doubt that Everton cannot act on the hard ground, for their display at stoke was one of the poorest they have played this season. If they had been beaten by a good side no one could have caviled, but Stoke were just a moderater combination who adopted the right tactics, found the speed, and two shots which were sufficient to account for the leaders. Everton were never together. They lacked punch in front of goal, and could not fathom the bound of the ball, while their passes were of such a character that the Stoke men picked up most of them and turned them to account. It was astonishing to see so many fine players completely beaten by the bound of the ball, but more annoying was the lack of shooting. Everton could only lay claim to one decent shot throughout the whole of the ninety minutes, and but for the magnificent save by Lewis a goal would have resulted, for Johnson's shot was not only of tremendous power but was going away from the goalkeeper, who however, pounced across his goal and thumped the ball away.
Everton did place the ball into the net, but White was adjudged offside, when Critchley shot. It was a peculiar decision, for I saw a full-back standing on the goal-line along with Lewis throughout the whole of the incident. The referee said “no goal,” so there it ended. I have not seen Everton so ineffective for many a long day, but that is because they were not operating on their own ground. The mud of Goodison may be difficult to work upon, but it has given Everton many victories for whereas Everton cannot work on the top of the ground; visitors to Walton have floundered and fallen because of the heavy going. Everton had hoped for rain. They got it at Stoke, but not in sufficient quantities, for the morning drizzle had no effect upon the turf, and from the start it was apparent that Everton were going to be hard pressed. They never tackled the situation as their opponents had done. The sweeping pass and the quick tackle was their undoing.
Forwards too Slow.
Stoke never attempted to the intra-scientific, but made straight for goal by the quickest routs, but even they faltered when they reached the penalty area. Cresswell and Williams and Gee kept plugging the ball up to their forwards, but it was all to no purpose, for these forwards who had been the bane of goalkeepers, were too slow. The wingmen were fast enough, but did not get the scope to use they speed, and when I think of the lumbering McGorory, a veteran who had lost his pace, and the speed of Stein, I could see the full back being “murdered,” but he never was for the ball was kept away from the outside edges and confirmed to the middle, where none of the inside men can be called fast. White never really got a good pass –the ball was too often in the air –and with a tall half-back against him, White was then out-headed in fact the forward line was ragged. It has no punch about it, and but for one brief spell the Stoke defence was always its master. I would not lay any blame on Coggins, Williams, Cresswell and Gee, for these men did their level best; in fact Cresswell because so “cross” with the efforts of his forwards that he went up among them more than once.
Much Room for Improvement.
Everton are still in a good position in the League table, but they will have to produce something better than this if they are to gain the championship of their division. They have not won the League yet, and while I think that they will because of their home matches, I cannot imagine them collecting many points on foreign grounds unless they make a marked improvement. I agree that the ball was difficult to play, but if Stoke were able to do it, then surely Everton should have been capable of doing so, for man for man. Everton were the more skilful, but whereas they waited for the ball, the Stoke players went for it and often took it away from opponents. Stoke were fiery. Although they missed a couple of early chances, Liddle and Bussey were able to make up for those defienceies. Kirkham was fast, if not a perfect leader, but I would award the half-backs the palm for this great –the Stoke people thought it was a great win –victory. This was Stoke's first win at home since February 2 nd . Teams; - Everton; - Coggins, goal; Williams (captain) and Cresswell, backs; Britton, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Critchley, Dunn, White, Johnson and Stein, forwards. Stoke City; - Lewis, goal; McGrory and Spencer backs; Armitage, Jackson, and Sellers, half-backs; Liddle, Bussey Kirkham Sale, and Archibald, forwards. Referee Mr. J Caswell, Blackburn.
DEAN ENGLAND CAP
March 30 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
England lost to Scotland at Glasgow, before nearly 130,000 spectators, at Hampton Park.
Dean hardly got a ball to his toe all day from wing men or half-backs. Thus his position was an awkward and unenviable one. “By Bees”
EVERTON RESERVES 3 ASTON VILLA RESERVES 7
March 30 th 1931. Liverpool Post and Mercury
Central League (Game 36)
Everton were not as much overplayed as the score might suggest –still, as a team they played mediocre football, and the Villa deserved their victory. Everton had their chances, but against a sturdy defence were hesitant. The losers were often hammering the Midlanders' defence, but with the exception of Martin, the front line was not convincing, and more often than not half a yard slower than the visitor's defences. The home defenders also had their lapses, and generally it was a poor day for Everton collectively. The scorers in the first half were Brown and Chester for the Villa, and after the interval goals came with surprising regularity –Brown (2) Stepheson (2) and Tunstall for the winners, and Webster, Leyfield and Martin scoring for Everton.
Skelmersdale United 0 Everton “A” 0
Lord Wavertree Cup
Everton gave a trial to Speakman, a Skelmersdale youth who has also attracted the attention of Southport, for whom he has played in the Lancashire Combination. He did fairly well. Collier and Woods, Skelmersdale players were injured. Everton later had more of the game, but the Skelmersdale defence held out. Parker Everton's right back, was in excellent form.
EVERTON A WET GROUND TEAM
March 30 th 1931. Evening Express.
March has been a Costly Month.
League Defeats Doubled.
Ball Their Master at Stoke
By the Pilot.
Everton on a wet ground and Everton on a dry ground are two different teams. The results this month have proved them to be essentially a wet ground side. During March they have lost three League games and a Cup game while during the first six months of the season, when wet grounds were the rule, they were only on the losing side three times. No team in the country has had better command of the ball on the wet pitches, but on the dry grounds the ball appears to have mastered them. The sooner the muddy grounds return the better it will be for Everton, who under present conditions are not the Everton we know them to be. The players themselves are anxious for the return of wet pitches. They struck another hard ground at Stoke, and gave another inglorious exhibition. Stoke City were by no means a good side, but they deserved their two clear goals' victory.
Match of Mistakes.
A shall remember the game as being the match of mistakes. I saw more passes go astray in this 90 minutes than I have seen in hours of football this season.
Everton's chief trouble was an inability to trap the ball quickly –the same fault was apparent at Wolverhampton –and the hopeless exploitation of an exaggerated “W” formation. Gone was the craft and artistry of the attack, the keen constructive ideas of the intermediates, and the general understanding between departments. In its place we saw raggedness and elementary effort. Stoke quite a moderate combination, showed up well in the first half just because they were snappy on the ball and used it speedily.
Everton' best plan was to use the extreme wingers as much as possible. They rarely did it. Critchley never touched the ball for the first twenty minutes. Critchley and Stein did well when given the chances, but Johnson and Dunn hung too far back up the field. I sympathized with White in the centre, because he never received one workable pass, and even when he did head to position there was no one there to take it. Gee, except for his propensity to feed the left in preference to the right, was the pick of the half-backs. He was a strong tackler and kept the ball low. Neither Britton, nor Thomson convinced. The backs were good. It was fortunate for Everton that they were. Williams made a few mistakes either in getting the ball or parting with it, and Cresswell suffered in comparison only because he took things rather too coolly at times. Coggins brought off several good saves and had no chance with the shots, which beat him. Everton have certainly struck a bad patch. I do not attribute it to their Cup defeat, for that has never been taken to heart. The fact is that they are definitely a wet ground team.
Everton, when they return from their match at Bristol on Friday, will stay the night at Shreswbury, completing the journey to Liverpool for the Bradford match.