Wednesday, 25 March 2015

End of season heroics - 1948-49

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 12TH MARCH, 1949                  Attendance 23,136

Burnley - Strong; Loughran, Mather; Atwell, Cummings, Bray (capt);
Chew, Morris, Billingham, Potts, Hays;

This was a poor display by both sides. Town were not helped by an ankle injury to Doherty, which made him move to the left wing, where Metcalfe had seemed to have the measure of the defence with his speed. Fortunately, wing halves Whittaker and Boot stood firm and looked more impressive than Burnley's Attwell, who has been selected to play for the the Football League XI. Two vital points for Town.

SATURDAY 26TH MARCH, 1949               Attendance 25,745

Newcastle - Fairbrother; Cowell, Batty; Harvey (capt), Brennan, Dodgin;
Walker, Taylor, Milburn, Stobbart, Hair;

A Town defence which so often this season has threatened to beat its own goalkeeper did so twice today. This presented Newcastle with two points the donors can ill afford to spare. Under pressure centre half George Hepplewhite and then left back Harry Stewart  tapped the ball past the astonished Wheeler. Which is more than Newcastle's star studded attack could do ! For fifteen minutes it was anybody's game but then came Hepplewhite's blunder. Newcastle provided the arts and graces of the game, so tangling Town's defence that Stewart passed back without looking to see where Wheeler was. Sadly Harry Stewart was to add to the own goal tally the following week at Chelsea.

WEDNESDAY 6TH APRIL, 1949                           Attendance 17,256

Man. Utd. - Crompton; Carey (capt), Aston; McGlen, Chilton, Cockburn;
Deleaney, Downie, Rowley, Pearson, Mitten;

A famous victory for Town against their illustrious rivals. Downie, the big money signing from Bradford Park Avenue replaced Johnny Morris, who has gone to Derby.
It was a tale of two penalties, Doherty scoring for Town, but the usually reliable Charlie Mitten had his kick saved by Harry Mills in the Town goal. This was Mills  third penalty save from the four he has faced this season.

SATURDAY 9TH APRIL, 1949                    Attendance 18,856

Mills; Hayes, Stewart (H); Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenna, K.A. Hansen, Rodgers, Nightingale, Metcalfe;

Robertson; Green, Jennings; Badham, Duckhouse, Ferris;
Stewart, Jordan, Daily, Harris (capt), Laing;

Huddersfield included Danish international Karl Hansen, who is to play for them as an amateur. Birmingham were without goalkeeper Gilbert Merrick and included Johnny Jordan, the former Spurs player who recently returned from Italy where he assisted Juvenus.
Even without Merrick, the Birmingham defence proved their ability which won promotion last season with the record of only 24 goals against. Town's best chance appeared to be an appeal for a penalty for handball against centre half Ted Duckhouse, but the referee was apparently unsighted. Robertson had an easy debut in the Birmingham goal.

HUDERSFIELD TOWN 0 LIVERPOOL (Balmer 2, Baron, Liddell)

Liverpool - Sidlow; Lambert, Shepherd; Williams (R.R.), Jones, Paisley;
Payne, Baron, Stubbins, Balmer, Liddell;

Town's relegation problems increased with this crushing defeat. Town could make little progress against the very tough Liverpool defence, but the highlight of the game was a brilliant goal by the Scottish international winger, Billy Liddell. It was made possible by a delightful piece of foot jugglery by centre forward Albert Stubbins to prevent the ball going out of play just inside his own half. This put Liddell away down the left wing, running through the Town defence like a steam engine and hitting an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area into the net.
Huddersfield's haphazard defence and pointless attack was the worst seen this season. Apart from Peter Doherty's first minute shot, which went just over the bar, and a close range effort from Glazzard that went close, they never looked like scoring. Town got what they deserved - a hiding, against a very good team.

Back row - Taylor, Spicer, Hughes, Sidlow, Lambert, Paisley, Kay (Manager)
Front row - Payne, Baron, Stubbins, Fagan, Liddell
TUESDAY 19TH APRIL, 1949                Attendance 18,000

Searson; Dunn, Milburn; McCabe, Charles, Burden;
Cochrane, McMorran, Browning, Igglesden, Rudd;

Henderson; McColl, James; McBain, Aird, Sharpe;
McCulloch, Brown (C), Houliston, Brown (J), Johnston;

Referee:- Mr R.A. Mortimore, Huddersfield

Leeds gave 17 year old Welshman John Charles his first senior game and in direct opposition to the youngster was Billy Houliston, currently first choice centre forward for Scotland, who played in the winning team at Wembley ten days ago and scored twice against Ireland. However, young Charles was not overawed by his opponent's reputation and despite the centre forward's robust style, shut him out of the game completelym showing great promise for one so young.
The referee, Mr Mortimore of Huddersfield, is to take control of the FA cup final between Wolves and Leicester on April 30th.
Lacking the bite of a league fixture, the pace was not as fast as usual for many of the players. Charles was not one of those, because of his opponent. Houliston's refreshing vigoour is welcomed by all but opposing goalkeepers and centre halves. Charles came through the ordeal no worse than the England players at Wembley and from his cool assurance, tactical skill and sturdy build it seems certain that Major Buckley has found a player with a great future.
                   John Charles                    



SATURDAY 23RD APRIL, 1949                        Attendance 19,051

Mills; Hayes, Stewart (H); Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenna, Nightingale, K.A. Hansen, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Sager; Saunders, Dugdale; Farrell, Jones (T.G.), Lello;
Powell, Wainwright, McIntosh, Fielding, Eglington;

Referee:- Mr. H. Holt, Rochdale

Veteran goalkeeper Ted Sagar was in fine form for Everton, who were also well served by the two Irishmen Farrell and Eglington, but it was the little Welshman, Aubrey Powell, signed from Leeds United, who scored the equaliser to rob Town of yet another point.

SATURDAY 30TH APRIL, 1949                    Attendence 42,000
HULL CITY 6 (Moore 3, Carter 2, Jensen) STOCKPORT COUNTY 1 (Herd)

Bly; Taylor, Berry; Greenhalgh, Meens, Durham;
Harrison, Jensen, Moore, Carter, Shepherd;

Bowles; Kenny, Monks; Walker, McCulloch, Paterson;
Barker, Herd, Cocker, Brown, Glaister;

By happy coincidence my mother was visiting her friend in Hull this weekend, which gave me the opportunity to share in a great footballing occasion at Boothferry Park, Hull. A huge crowd turned up to see Hull City crowned champions of the Third Division North and ensure promotion to the Second Division.

After creating a new record by winning the first nine matches of the season, Hull, well led by player-manager Raich Carter, have played consistently throughout. They won this game with ease and were unlucky to concede a goal, when Billy Bly brilliantly saved Herd's penalty kick, only for the former Manchester City veteran to score from the rebound. Even without two of their regulars, left half Mellor and left winger Eddie Burbanks, who played with Carter in the Sunderland cup winning team before the war, it was still very easy for the 'Tigers' who have made Hull a football crazy city.

Carter himself scored twice, but the hero of the day was centre forward Norman Moore, who scored a  hat trick with goals in the 20th, 73rd and 83rd minutes. However, it was a great team performance with the Danish International Vigo Jensen also prominent. Jimmy Greenhalgh at right half looks a great prospect and Billy Bly, the goalkeeper, has become a folk hero in Hull. With such a good team, good reserves and tremendous support and facilities Hull can look forward to second division football with confidence.                            

THURSDAY 5TH MAY, 1949                              Attendance 21,445

Mills; Hayes, Stewart (H); Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenna, K.A. Hansen, Rodgers, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Williams; Kelly, Springthorpe; Russell, Shorthouse, Chatham;
Smith, Cook, Wilshaw, Smyth, Hancocks;

Referee:- Mr J.H. Parker, Macclesfield

Great excitement before kick-off in this vital penultimate game of the season for Town. Billy Wright captain of England and cup winners Wolves appeared off the team coach with a battered wooden box containing the FA cup. He was mobbed by all the schoolboy autograph hunters, myself included, and was keen for everyone to actually touch the cup.

Wright in fact did not play as this was already Wolves' third game since the cup final last Saturday. They had played Preston on Monday and Everton at Goodison Park last night. So a much changed Wolves side faced Town, who with two home games left were bottom of the league with 30 points. Preston with one match to play have 31, Sheffield Utd with two matches to play have 32 and Middlesborough with one match remaining 33. It could not be closer.

The fact that Wolves had played three games, including the cup final, in the last five days, worked in Town's favour. Five members of the cup final side, Pritchard, Wright, Dunn, Pye and Mullen were all missing and Crook and Hancocks were in different positions. One of the reserves included was Dennis Wilshaw who since scoring a hat-trick on debut from outside left on March 12th ,has scored consistently from centre foward. He very nearly kept Jesse Pye out of the cup final.
Fortunately for Town they turned in one of the best displays of the season thanks mainly to the Dane, Hansen, who laid on goals for others as well as scoring himself.

For the first 37 minutes of the game, the much changed Wolves side looked capable of gaining a draw, with some brilliant goalkeeping by Williams. He cut out centres despite the glaring sun, dived at forwards fee and brilliantly celebrated his inclusion in the England party to tour the Continent. But in the 37th minute Town's fortunes changes when the ball struck the referee and gave Boot the chance to whip out a pass to Metcalfe and Town produced the fighting spirit their desperate position demanded and McKenna headed home a fine goal.

Then in the second and third minutes of the second half Hansen and Rodgers put Town three up, both from centres by Metcalfe. The final goal also went to Rodgers, following some brilliant co-operation with Hansen, who beat Chatham, Shorthouse and Russell and as Rodgers, well positioned, called for the ball, he slipped a perfect pass to the centre forward's feet. Not all Town's passing was so well conceived, but there was a welcome bite about their second half display. Whittaker and Boot were again outstanding, but the most welcome feature was the leadership of Rodgers - a great improvement. It would be unfair to criticise Wolves reserves, but their positional play let them down. Williams, brave to the end, saved a penalty from Bill Hayes in the last minute. Smyth who missed an open goal and Wilshaw trying to glide the ball in should have hit it hard, had Wolves best chances.

So it would all go down to the last match of the season in two days time when Town would be at home to Manchester City.

SATURDAY 7TH MAY, 1949                    Attendance 27,507

Mills; Hayes, Stewart (H); Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenna, K.A. Hansen, Rodgers, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Swift; Sproston, Westwood; Walsh, Fagan, Emptage;
Linacre, Black, Oakes, Smith, Clarke;

Not only the last match, but the last goal of the season, kept Town in the first division by the skin of their teeth. They finished with 34 points, Preston who won today and Sheffield United who drew, both go down with 33 points each. Again it was centre forward Arnold Rodgers, playing only his fifth game of the season, who scored the vital goal. In the last two games Rodgers has scored more goals than the other centre forwards, Glazzard and Whittingham, have scored between them all season. They each scored one goal and Whittingham's was in the first match of the season, when he was playing at right half!

This was England goalkeeper Frank Swift's last match before retirement and a large crowd of supporters had journeyed from Manchester to give him a good send off. The crowd surged onto the field at the end of the game and chaired him off the field. Later on he left in the Manchester City supporters' coach, decorated with flags and a banner which read 'Great Britain, England and Manchester City thanks you'.

Frank Swift has kept goal for Manchester City since 1933 and for the first 76 minutes f this match he alone stood between Town and the threat of relegation. Metcalfe was able to beat the slowing Sproston at will and the Dane, Hansen, passed immaculately and dribbled with delightful precision. Town in fact forced 13 corners in the first half, but Swift and Fagan, who once kicked off the line, kept them out. Hansen headed, Nightingale worried and Rodgers shot, but they could not beat 'Big Swifty'.

Then with Town's glorious twenty years in the First Division looking to have only 13 minutes left, Swift conceeded the 18th Town corner. The little Irishman, McKenna, took it and the vital goal came amid a hubbub unusual from the frequently indifferent Town supporters. Rodgers, the scorer, described the goal as follows:-
'I saw the ball coming and I thought there was room for me to dive to it before Swifty got there. I was scared stiff for there were boots flying all around and I thought my head was going to be kicked off, but the ball spun like an off break away from Westwood and the goalkeeper and I dived to the ground, ramming it home with my head'. Hansen also had a share in the goal, his header glancing it from McKenna's kick in Rodgers direction.


So ended a season in which I had seen every home game played by Huddersfield Town. A season in which for the second year running they had just escaped relegation by a thrilling late rally. For most of the season the football was of a very poor standard. Seven home defeats, including the cup game with Newport, bear witness to that.
The main weakness, until the arrival of Rodgers, was at centre forward where neither Glazzard or Whittingham could find a scoring touch.

Doherty, although perhaps past his best, worked tirelessly throughout the season and played a great part in the final effort. He was here, there and everywhere, bobbing up to take free-kicks, corner-kicks and throws-in all over the field. As he has now taken up the position of player manager with Doncaster Rovers he will be greatly missed, but let us hope he will have similar success to that of his former Derby County colleague, Raich Carter,with Hull City this season.
The two wingers were both competent, with Metcalfe improving considerably as the season progressed, under Doherty's watchful eye. Nightingale had an annoying tendency to hold onto the ball too long, which is a pity for he has the ability to beat a man cleverly. Whittaker settle down to play some useful games after the misfortune of his first match and George Hepplewhite was a strong man in the middle of defence. Even if he was prone to concede penalties, Mills could be relied upon to save them!

Eddie Boot was a very reliable left half and only missed one game throughout the season. Full back was, with centre forward, the position which gave most concern. Irish international Bill Hayes, who came back out of retirement was well into the veteran stage. He joined Town back in 1932 and was often too slow to match some of the speedy wingers he came up against. The brightest full back prospect must be Harry Stewart, who although still prone to the odd wild clearance, has improved a lot since he first came into the team. In goal there was little to choose between Mills and Wheeler, although probably the former's penalty saving exploits give him the edge.


Played - 21,  Won - 6,  Drawn - 7,  Lost - 8, Goals for 19, Goals against 24, Points 19

Scorers:- Doherty 3, McKenna 3, Rodgers 3, Nightingale 2, Smith 2, Whittingham, Hassall, Boot, Metcalfe and Hansen one each.

No comments:

Post a Comment