Tuesday 27 October 2015

Black Country football 1950-51 (Part one)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Although still a schoolboy, I travelled a bit further afield this season to take in games at West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. I also began to write detailed reports of most of the games I saw purely for my own amusement, but possibly with the vague thought that I might one day write a book of football memories. This never happened so some sixty five years later they now see the light of day for the first time!


LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH                     Attendance 11,178

WALSALL 1 (Chapman) SOUTHEND UNITED 2 (Wakefield, French)

Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Russon, Dearson;
Bowen, Sutcliffe, Chapman, Millard, Allinson;

Coombs; Loughran, Walton; Wallbanks, Sheard, French;
Sibley, Davies, Wakefield, Lawlor, Harper;

Referee: Mr A. Bond, Fulham 

Southend, who finished third in the league last season, started well with a goal from centre forward Albert Wakefield, who came from Leeds United last season. Walsall with something of a new look forward line and without centre half Reg Foulkes who has moved to Norwich, looked as if they might struggle this season.

Match report from Sports Argus.

The visitors were showing more craft in their approach work early on and the Walsall goal had several near escapes. On one occasion Lewis was only just in time to punch a header from Harper over the bar.
The Walsall defence was bewildered in the sixteenth minute when Wakefield opened the scoring.
Wallbanks, who had moved over to the left, swung the ball over to Davies who eluded a defender and placed it nicely for the centre forward. Sensing the danger Jones had moved back but Wakefield drove the ball between the defender and goalkeeper Lewis.

Southend continued in the ascendency with deft forward passing movements creating anxiety for the hard working Walsall defence. In the 39th minute Southend went further ahead when Lawler beat Lewis with a high cross shot from twenty five yards out. From the re-start Allison dashed away and skimmed the bar with the home side's best effort so far. Walsall started the second half at a brisk pace and Sutcliffe missed a good chance created by Dearson. The home side kept going and Chapman was unlucky after beating Sheard when his shot hit a post.

After 59 minutes Walsall did pull a goal back when Chapman scored when Millard lifted the ball over to him and he pushed it home as Coombs advanced. It was all Walsall now as they pressed hard for an equaliser. Allison and Chapman both went close as Walsall made an all out effort to salvage a point in the last few minutes. They were unlucky when Coombs saved but failed to hold a low shot from Chapman and the ball trickled just the wrong side of the post.



WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (Walsh) NEWCASTLE UTD 2 (Milburn, Mitchell)

Sanders; Rickaby, Millard; Kennedy, Vernon (capt), Barlow;
Elliott, Williams, Walsh, Richardson, Allen;

Fairbrother; Cowell, McMichael; Harvery (capt), Brennan, Crowe;
Walker, Taylor, Milburn, Robledo (G), Mitchell;

With Ray Barlow in splendid form at left half, Albion were on the attack for long periods of the game, but their finishing was poor, mainly because big Frank Brennan kept Irish international Dave Walsh under constant watch.
The first goal, to Newcastle, came after 37 minutes, when Milburn robbed Vernon on the half way line, passed out to Walker on the right and in no time took the return pass in his stride and hit it home from twenty yards.
Albion equalised just on half time following a mistake by Irish international Alf McMichael who headed a long ball from Kennedy straight to Walsh , thus playing him onside, and with only the goalkeeper to beat the centre forward made no mistake.
After 58 minutes Milburn beat Vernon for the second time and again pushed the ball out to the long striding Walker, whose centre was pushed into the net by Bobby Mitchell standing almost on the goal line. So although Milburn could only get past Vernon twice in this game it was enough to give his side both points.

Newcastle United


LEAGUE DIVISION ONE                             Attendance 45,127

ASTON VILLA 1 (Moss F.) LIVERPOOL 1 (Balmer)

Jones; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss F.;
Edwards, Gibson, Ford, Craddock, Goffin;

Sidlow; Lambert, Spicer; Jones, Hughes, Paisley;
Payne, Taylor, Stubbins, Balmer (capt), Liddell;

Referee;- G.L. Iliffe, Leicester

Veteran Jack Balmer's goal was the outstanding feature of this game. He had the ball in the centre of the field, on the edge of the penalty area, and waited for a split second for the goalkeeper Keith Jones to become unsighted by a defender and carefully shot the ball slowly into the corner of the net. It was not a fierce shot but just perfectly placed and admirably timed.

Match report from Sports Argus.  

Within the first three minutes Villa forced three corners but goalkeeper Sidlow remained untroubled.
Villa continued to press but Sidlow only had only shot cum pass from Ford to retrieve. Gradually Liverpool came more into the game and Balmer gave them the lead after 26 minutes after being put through by Liddell. The veteran inside forward took advantage of a wide open Villa defence and beat Jones from the edge of the penalty area. Liverpool's danger man, Billy Liddell developed a limp which slowed him down considerably. Apparently he had strained a right thigh muscle.

Goffin shot just wide after being put through by Ford following a movement started by Moss and then at the other end Keith Jones, on his knees, made a fine save from Taylor and then Stubbins having dispossessed Con Martin shot just wide. Villa should never have been behind at the interval and started the second half with a bit more directness. With Liddell still unable to raise a gallop most Liverpool attacks were directed down the right but Dorsett did an excellent job in defence.

Hughes was keeping a close watch on the dangerous Ford and when he eventually did get an opening after a mis-header by Spicer, he got in a hard ground shot which Sidlow turned round the post for Villa's 13th corner. Despite all this pressure the Villa just could not finish things off. Keith Jones made a spectacular save at the other end from a 30 yard drive by Stubbins. Villa continued to have endless chances and Dorsett went closest with a whizzbang drive just over the bar.

Frank Moss joined the Villa attack and his shot forced a corner, by then Villa's 15th of the match, when Sidlow again pushed it round the post. However after 80 minutes, following the corner kick, Moss rushed into the crowded penalty area to force the ball home and Villa were level. Liverpool did hit back during the last ten minutes but neither side were able to force a win.



ASTON VILLA 1 (Ford) MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Rowley 2, Pearson)

Jones; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Edwards, Gibson, Ford, Craddock, Goffin;

Allen; Carey (capt), Aston; Gibson, Chilton, Cockburn;
Bogan, Pearson, Rowley, Downie, Mitten;

The very strong United side ran out easy winners in a rather one sided contest. Reg Allen who is the most expensive goalkeeper ever, following his signing from QPR, was rarely troubled and the forward line looks as dangerous as ever.

Manchester United 1950-51

Match report from Birmingham Gazette.

Manchester got their first away points of the season thanks to the quick thinking Pearson and Rowley in attack, because they moved faster, and with a directness that Villa lacked, and because they took their shooting chances accurately and without wasting time. They also had more system in defence as well as goalkeeper Allen, who apart from keeping out Villa's three best shots, from Edwards, Goffin and Ford,
fisted out a Dorsett penalty towards the end of the second half.

Villa were 3-0 down when Chilton apparently handled in the area. The majority of players moved back upfield thinking the referee had awarded United a free kick. However he then placed the ball on the penalty spot to most people's surprise. Dorsett drove the ball with all of his tremendous power to Allen's right and the goalkeeper, who must have the eyes of a lynx to have even seen the ball, fisted it away to the touchline.

The Villa attack never settled down to combined football, it all added up to a scrambling, scrappy sort of show. Craddock and Goffin both worked hard but that was about all you could say. Parkes was the outstanding Villa player although given little support by Powell. United took the lead in the 16th minute when Pearson split the square Villa defence with a beautiful ball which put Rowley in to score.

The second goal came 16 minutes after the interval when a Rowley cross from the left found Parkes trying to mark two men and Pearson scored with a fine shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area. Four minutes later a Pearson shot following a Bogan header was brilliantly pushed out by Jones but Rowley, running in at the far post, shot over Jones' body. Eleven minutes from the end Ford scored Villa's consolation goal with a quick dribble across the penalty area to beat Allen with a left foot shot.




Lewis; Jones, Walters; Corbett, Russon, Greeen;
Morris (F), Millard, Chapman, Dearson, Knowles;

Bird; Cunningham, Drummond; Woodward, Gripton, Casey;
Boxshall, Haigh, McGibbon, Evans, Weigh;

Referee:- G. Clark, London.

Bournemouth players

Walsall lost their second home game in three days by the single goal and after seven games this season still do not boast a victory. There seems little wrong with the defence, Lewis in particular being in brilliant form in goal, but the forward line is far from effective. Corbett, a red haired local boy and Knowles another youngster, playing only his second league game, are both far too inexperienced at the present time. Fred Morris, former Oswestry winger, came in on the right wing. 
The remaining forwards both suffer from excessive weight, Chapman, the fair haired centre forward has lost his speed and Dearson, the former Welsh international, while still capable of showing his obvious ability, sweats profusely with his efforts.

Match report from Sports Argus.

Walsall raised hopes of an early goal when Millard slipped the ball through to Dearson, who beat a defender, and swung the ball out to Knowles. He lobbed the ball into the middle and Bird punched it over the bar as Chapman tried to get his head to it. Bournemouth had a lively set of forwards and the Walsall defence had to be on the alert particularly against the dangerous McGibbon. Walsall had several good chances to go ahead but Bird saved brilliantly from Chapman and a couple of efforts were kicked off the line. Dearson put in another grand drive from 20 yards which again Bird saved and Walsall deserved to be ahead at the interval.

Walsall again dominated the play during the second half and goalkeeper Bird was called upon to save time after time. The Bournemouth defenders were kicking the ball anywhere to get it clear. However later in the half the visitors began to pile on the pressure and made an all out effort to take the lead.
Finally after 76 minutes their efforts were rewarded. Boxshall cut in and slipped the ball back to Evans who drove it home. A minute later Walsall could well have equalised when Knowles brought Bird to his knees to save. The Saddlers fought hard to salvage a point but Bournemouth held out.


LEAGUE DIVISION ONE                        Attendance 30,000


Hindle; Parkes, Dorsett; Canning, Martin, Moss (F);
Gibson, Powell, Ford, Dixon, Goffin;

Hanson; Ball, Banks (R); Howe, Gillies, Murphy;
Hughes, Moir, Lofthouse, Webster, Langton;

Referee;- R. Wood, Sunderland

Moir scored the only goal of a scrappy match in which Villa never got going. The move of wing half Ivor Powell to inside forward was not a success and Villa also fielded two reserves in goalkeeper Hindle and wing half Larry Canning.

Match report from Sports Argus.

Reduced to ten effective men after only ten minutes play Bolton Wanderers recorded their first away win since November 13th 1948. Billy Moir headed the only goal of the game in which Villa were so poor in attack that the crowd several times resorted to the slow handclap. Jack Hindle, the close season signing from Barrow, was making his first home appearance in the Villa goal.

Bolton were soon handicapped by an injury to Murphy who had to go limping on the left wing. All that Hindle had to do during the first quarter of an hour was to demonstrate his long kicking powers following Villa back passes. First real effort from Villa followed a long throw by Powell when Goffin's header skimmed the crossbar. Lofthouse looked dangerous in a rare Bolton attack but Langton was struggling in his move back to left half and Bolton's defenders were generally at sixes and sevens in fact of Villa's continuing attacks.

In quick succession, just before half time, Hanson made two fine saves, fisting out drives by Canning and Ford. The save against Ford was an especially fine effort, the goalkeeper punching away for a corner as Dixon collided with the post and injured himself in the process. Murphy was limping so badly early in the second half that he had to retire completely from the action after only seven minutes. So ten men of Bolton were really up against it. Some of Villa's poor passing was greeted by an outbreak of the slow handclap. A pity, maybe, but this was poor football.

Goffin did get the ball into the net after another outbreak of the slow handclap but the referee had blown for offside. Hindle, in the Villa goal, was a mere spectator and Hanson at the other end did have much work to do either. After a big cheer for full back Harry Parkes, when he went off on a run upfield, Bolton's ten men did manage to break out at intervals. A dash on the right brought them a free kick and Moir was able to head it into the net with Hindle having no chance in the 83rd minute. Villa made a late rally in which they forced two corners but Bolton somehow managed to hold on to their lead. 


Thursday 15 October 2015

The Midlands football scene 1949-50 (part four)

Posted by Tony Hutton



WALSALL 3 (Devlin 2, Foulkes) NOTTS COUNTY 3 ((Lawton, Johnston, Simpson)

Lewis; Jones, Walter; Crutchley, Russon, Green;
McMorran, Dearson, Foulkes, Devlin, Betts;

Smith; Deans, Rigby; Simpson, Baxter, Adamson;
Broome, Chapman, Lawton, Evans, Johnston;

Referee:- G.L. Illife, Leicester          Attendance 19,589

A huge crowd, by Walsall's standards, was there to see just one man - the legendary Tommy Lawton regular centre forward for England in the immediate post war years.
His sensational move from Chelsea to Third Division Notts County in 1947 shocked the soccer world. His first appearance at Fellows Park in 1948 had set the ground record of 20,283 which was almost equalled today.

County who had fast become the top club in Nottingham also included another former international Frank Broome, previously with Aston Villa, in their ranks. Walsall continued with the experiment of playing centre half Reg Foulkes at centre forward and included a new signing Welsh international Don Dearson, from Coventry City.

Walsall,cheered on by the large crowd shook the league leaders with some splendid football  and raced into a 3-0 lead, thanks to goals from leading scorer Johnny Devlin and another from skipper Reg Foulkes.

However, it was too good to last and with only fifteen minutes remaining, Tommy Lawton, who else, rose to head a typically brilliant goal from a left wing cross. This inspired the visitors and two further goals in the last few minutes saw them earn a point which their earlier display scarcely warranted.

Notts County with Tommy Lawton centre of front row
Report from Sports Argus.

Walsall were soon on the attack and after a fine run down the left by Betts, Foulkes was just inches away from reaching his cross in front of goal. However within five minutes the Saddlers were ahead.
Dearson, showing great ball control, went round three men before putting the ball into the middle where Devlin dashed in and scored. Walsall continued to press and Baxter earned a cheer from the County support when he cleared another attack.

Lawton was of course the constant danger man for County but Ron Russon, the Walsall centre half was playing well and gave him few opportunities. During the first half hour Lewis in the Walsall goal was not called upon much except for a couple of saves from headers from Lawton and then Johnston. Two minutes before the interval Devlin headed in a free kick to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

The County team piled on the pressure in the second half but the home defenders continued to hold out with more sterling work from Jack Lewis in goal. Lawton always looked dangerous and after a series of corners Lewis was yet again the hero. Finally a goal looked certain when Lawton, after shaking off Russon broke through and had the goal at his mercy but Lewis managed to stick out a foot to save. The rebound went to Broome and Lewis down on his knees saved again.

From the goalkeeper's clearance Betts went away down the left. The ball went to Foulkes who beat a couple of defenders before sending a high shot towards the corner of the goal. Smith got his hands to the ball and slowed it down, but it bounced slowly into the net while the goalkeeper was still on the ground. So 63 minutes gone and the home side looked home and dry with a three goal lead.

Suddenly County broke away and Lawton was there with a perfectly timed jump to leap high and head in one of his trade mark goals. Soon afterwards he nearly added another but Lewis again saved with his outstretched foot. Only ten minutes remained but four minutes later County scored again, Lawton nodded the ball on to Johnston who headed it home. 3-2 now and all to play for.

Towards the end Lawton called all the County players, with the exception of goal keeper Smith, into the Walsall penalty area for a corner kick which went outside, but after non-stop pressure a fine shot from Simpson gave the visitors an equaliser with just three minutes to go. They had scored three goals in seven minutes, what a thrilling finish to a totally thrilling game.

WALSALL 1 (Devlin) IPSWICH TOWN 3 (McGrory, Pole 2)
Lewis; Jones, Walters; Crutchley, Russon, Green;
McMorran, Dearson, Chapman, Devlin, Betts;
Brown (T); Feeney, Mitchell; Baird, Rees, Fletcher;
Parker (S), McGrory, Pole, Driver, O'Brien;
Referee:- R.G. Burgess, Reading                  Attendance 9,000
Walsall lost this vital match against fellow strugglers Ipswich with both teams in danger of falling into the last two re-election spots. The new look half back line which had done well in recent matches could not match the Ipswich midfield and consequently Walsall lacked possession. Devlin continued his scoring success but Ipswich took a useful step up the table with a relatively easy win.

Sports Argus report.

Having won 5-1 at Ipswich last November, their only away win of the season, Walsall were confident of another victory. Reg Foulkes was still injured so Chapman continued at centre forward. Walsall were on top in the early stages and the climax to a period of thrills came when Chapman headed in from a McMorran centre. The ball struck the Ipswich keeper Brown and rebounded into play. It had been nearly all Walsall with just a few isolated Ipswich attacks, but the visitors surprisingly went ahead after half an hour.

Ipswich spread eagled the Walsall defence and McGrory headed a splendid goal from Driver's centre. It was a magnificent goal but from a Walsall point of view it was a just penalty for bad covering. Things went from bad to worse when Ipswich scored again five minutes later and again the Walsall defence were to blame. This time Pole had the better of a dual with Crutchley and beat Lewis with a rising shot.

It was difficult to realise that, with the exception of Foulkes, this was the same side which held a three goal lead against Notts County a fortnight ago. Walsall resumed the second half without McMorran, who had to receive treatment during the first half, suffering with torn ligaments. Walsall did show more spirit but the attack was obviously suffering from the loss of the right winger. Their best effort during the second half came from Betts, who after beating two defenders, sent a crashing drive just inches over the crossbar.

After 60 minutes Ipswich went further ahead. Parker and Baird got the Walsall defence in a tangle and when the winger dropped the ball into the goalmouth Lewis was crowded out and Pole tapped the ball over the line. Walsall showed little craft or method. Devlin ruined a good chance by kicking directly into Brown's hands and Chapman failed when he had a glorious chance after Brown had dropped a drive from Dearson. 

Walsall did finally get a consolation goal from Devlin after 83 minutes but by that time Walsall were a well beaten side.

Lewis; Jones, Walters; Crutchley, Russon, Green;
Condie, Dearson, Foulkes, Devlin, Betts;
Burton; Foxton, Lloyd; Cowie, Hudson, Kaye;
Onslow, Dawson, Peart, Simner, Bain;
Referee;- L.D. Thompson, Worksop                       Attendance 8,305
Walsall stuck to the same defensive formation, but introduced a new right winger Jimmy Condie and brought back Reg Foulkes, normally a centre half, at centre foward. Much had been expected of recent signing Don Dearson, but the former Welsh international has failed to make an impression and looks overweight. The Good Friday crowd were unhappy with the performance and a couple more wins are badly needed.
Swindon seemed happy to settle for a draw as they are already safe in mid-table away from the re-election places. This was a thoroughly lack lustre affair with few chances falling to either side.  
Match report from Birmingham Gazette.

The home side started in encouraging fashion after last week's display and Devlin was unlucky to hit an upright early one. They could easily have had a good lead but chance after chance was thrown away.
The Swindon rear guard worked well and Burton in goal was outstanding often anticipating early when danger threatened. The best effort by Walsall came from Foulkes who hooked in a good shot only for Burton to save in spectacular fashion. The visitors were no better at close quarters.

Walsall did threaten in the second half and Condie had the best chance after good work by Foulkes and Dearson, but Lloyd at left back managed to clear. A quarter of an hour from the end the game did become a little livelier and chances went begging at both ends. Walsall played the last seven minutes with ten men after Crutchley was carried off with an injury to his left knee. Walsall had the best chances and should have had the game in the bag earlier in the game.

WALSALL 1 (Chapman) LEYTON ORIENT 2 (Pullen, Blair)
Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Russon;
Condie, Dearson, Chapman, Devlin, Medd;
Welton; Walton, Banner; Taylor, Rooney, Trailer;
Pullen, Blair, Sutherland, Deverall, Pattison;
Referee:- L.D. Thompson, Worksop
Two more valuable points lost to another side near the bottom of the league. It is really going to be a close call for which two teams have to apply for re-election to the league.
Walsall re-jigged the defence moving Foulkes back to his proper position of centre half with Russon moving alongside him. They were also without consistent outside left Eric Betts who has moved to West Ham.
Orient could almost field a team of Scotsmen, with no fewer than eight of their squad of twenty players having been born in Glasgow. There seems to be quite a trend in this division especially of signing players from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Match report from Sports Argus.

Walsall dominated the play early on and chance after chance went begging. Sutherland broke away for Orient, although he appeared to be off side, but blazed wide when it appeared easier to score. Chapman headed on to Dearson who put the ball in the net but was given off side. Orient went ahead after 29 minutes against the run of play. Lewis went to his knees to stop a weak effort from Sutherland but the ball rolled from his grasp and Pullen was able to walk the ball into the net.

This spurred Walsall into action and the forwards surged forward but when they got within shooting range their efforts fizzled out. However five minutes before half time Chapman took advantage of a defensive error by Rooney. Skidmore dropped the ball close in almost from the half way line and when the centre half let it slip past him Chapman pivoted and drove it into the net. Just afterwards Chapman missed a glorious chance to take the lead and then Condie had an effort cleared off the line by Walton.

As soon as the second half started Orient took the lead. Taylor lobbed the ball forward and a stylish movement between Sutherland, Blair and Pullen split the Walsall defence wide open. Foulkes partially cleared but Sutherland put it across to Blair who netted. Walsall snapped into action and had the Leyton defence running in circles but the home forwards were incapable of turning their chances to good account. Orient defended almost non stop, kicking the ball out of play regularly and giving away a succession of corners but the home forwards just could not score. Two desperate saves by Welton at the end saw the visitors home by the narrowest of margins.
Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Dixon, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);
Hanson; Roberts, Bingley; Barrass, Gillies, Howe;
Hughes, Moir, Lofthouse, Heron, McShane;
Referee:- H.C. Williams, Fulham                  Attendance 35,000
With just two more matches to play after today, Villa could settle for mid-table respectability, but Bolton although safe from relegation were four places below them in the bottom half. Johnny Dixon continued his good form with two more goals to bring his total to eleven for the season. Billy Goffin got the other to finish with thirteen goals just behind leading scorer Trevor Ford with sixteen.
Bolton Wanderers
The man Bolton look to for their goals Nat Lofthouse has only managed eleven goals this season and the team has only scored eleven goals away from home. Obviously improvement is required in this area for them next season. They also struggled in defence today with a young reserve left back in trouble against Dixon.

Match report from Sports Argus.

Villa attacked from the kick off and the start was truly sensational. Dixon forced two corners on the right and from the second the ball came across to the left where Leslie Smith returned it low into goal. Goffin racing up met the ball first time and Villa were one up in the second minute. Villa had most of the play but Rutherford was in fine form in the Villa goal when Bolton did attack. Hanson tipped over the bar a 30 yard free kick from Dorsett which would have beaten most goalkeepers. Bolton's defence worked well against Ford, who was combining well with his inside forwards.

It came as something of a surprise when Villa went further ahead in the 43rd minute. Dixon headed in when a long throw in from Powell was headed on to him by Gibson. Leslie Smith then nearly added another when his shot hit an upright. It was nearly all Villa again in the second half and in the 59th Dixon scored another. This was largely due to enterprise on the part of Ford. Both Gillies and Bingley tried to stop the centre forward, which resulted in a throw in. From the throw Gibson turned the ball across to Dixon who had an easy job to score as Hanson was out of position.

Little was seen of Scottish international Moir, but Lofthouse tried hard throughout and was unlucky not to get at least one goal. However on the day Villa were by far the better side.
WALSALL 0 MIDLAND XI 1 (Massart pen)
Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Russon, Devlin;
Whitehouse, Dearson, Foulkes, Corbett, Green;
Taylor (Coventry City); Jones (Coventry City), Millard (West Bromwich Albion);
Montgomery (Walsall), Lewis (Mansfield Town), Baxter (Wolves);
Smith (Wolves), Mullard (Crewe Alexandria), Massart (Bury), Lishman (Arsenal),
Betts (West Ham United);
Many former Walsall players returned to play for the Midland XI in a well deserved benefit game for three stalwarts - goalkeeper Jack Lewis, centre half Reg Foulkes and wing half Albert Newman.
Sadly the feast of goals expected by the spectators never happened and it was left to a penalty from Dave Massart to provide the only goal of the evening.
 Walsall in fact ended the season just outside the re-election places but only on superior goal average, finishing level on 34 points with Aldershot and Newport.
Newport and Millwall, the bottom club with 32 points, both successfully applied for re-election to the Third Division South.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

The Midlands football scene 1949-50 (part three)

 Posted by Tony Hutton



WALSALL 1 (Devlin) BRISTOL CITY 1 (White)               Attendance 10,000

Lewis; Jones, Walters; Crutchley, Russon, Devlin;                                                                                      McLaughlin, Corbett, Chapman, Green, Betts;

Morgan; Guy, Stone; Peacock, Roberts, White;                                                                                            Boxshall, Eisentrager, Rodgers, Lowrie, Rudkin;

Referee:- R.J. Leafe, Nottingham 

                                          Bristol City

Match report from Sports Argus

It was a battle of the defences at Fellows Park this afternoon with both sides desperate for points. Lewis in the home goal was constantly in action and in one Bristol barrage saved shots from all angles. Walsall started well but Bristol soon replied with both Lowrie and Rudkin, who shot over the bar, in good scoring positions. The visitors were generally on top and Walsall's best opportunity came just before the interval when Betts made a good run down the left wing before pulling the ball back to Corbett who put in a fierce shot which was blocked and cleared by a defender.

After the interval Lewis first made a superb save from Eisentrager and then a great one handed stop to an effort from Boxshall. Walsall were under constant pressure but fortunately Lewis was in fine form.    Walsall were missing that extra punch in attack and it came as no surprise when City took the lead through White who scored with a brilliant shot after 71 minutes that gave Lewis no chance. However the Saddlers fought back and Devlin equalised six minutes later. After that the defences on both sides never faltered, although full back Guy saved the day for City when he stopped Chapman shooting near the end.   


FRIENDLY MATCH AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM             Attendance 35,000

ASTON VILLA 5 (Goffin, Ford 2, Dixon, Smith) HIBERNIAN 2 (Reilly, Ormond pen.)

Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);                                                                              Dixon, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);      

Younger; Govan, Clark; Paterson, Cairns, Buchanan;                                                                                  Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Combe, Ormond;      

Referee:- F.C. Green, Wolverhampton.

Match report by Charles Matheson of the Sports Argus.

As Scottish League leaders Hibernian gave a rather disappointing show in this friendly match at Villa Park this afternoon. They took the lead with a header from Reilly in four minutes but were then overplayed by Villa who were much stronger at wing half and won comfortably. Ford had an early chance for Villa but Gordon Smith, who Villa were prepared to pay big money a couple of years ago, laid on a perfect cross for Reilly to head home.

Villa got on terms in the 19th minute when Gibson, who seemed to cover more ground than anyone else on the field, made an opening for Goffin to score. Younger in the Hibs goal tipped over a shot from Ford and then made another good save from Powell. Dorsett at left back did well to cut out passes to the dangerous Gordon Smith, but the winger did lay on a chance for Johnstone to put the ball in the net, but he was given offside. Harry Parkes was also in good form stopping attacks down the left and Younger had to make another good save from a speculative overhead kick from Dixon.

Cairns had to give away another corner to stop the Villa left winger Leslie Smith and from the resulting kick Trevor Ford was able to give Villa a half time lead with a header. Gordon Smith looked the danger man for Hibs in the second half but the Villa defenders saw to it that he did not receive many passes although he did go close on a couple of occasions. Villa were much the better side and made it 3-1 in the 61st minute when Dixon picked up a pass from Gibson and scored from 20 yards out.

In the 72nd minute Villa went further ahead when Ford hooked the ball through as Gibson sent in a cross from the right. Villa continued to dominate and a grand move between Dixon, Powell and Gibson down the right gave Leslie Smith the chance to score with fierce right foot shot in the 81st minute.
A rare breakaway by Hibs produced a hand ball in the area and Willie Ormond calmly scored from the penalty spot with just six minutes remaining. Rutherford had to make another save before the end but it proved to be a rather easy win for the home side.  

SATURDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 1950                                 Attendance 40,000



Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell Martin, Moss (F);                                                                                Dixon, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);                

Mills; Gallogly, Stewart; Battye, Hepplewhite, Boot;                                                                                    McKenna, Lynn, Taylor (J), Nightingale, Metcalfe;

Referee:- J. Houston (St Annes on Sea)

Match report from Sports Argus.

Huddersfield fielded a below strength side but Villa had to fight hard to only narrowly win what proved to be a mediocre game. Villa might have been five or six up at the interval and should certainly have had three as Dorsett missed a penalty. Villa took the lead after quarter of an hour largely due to the industry of Goffin who broke away on the right, had the better of Battye before crossing the ball which Gallogly headed out. Smith gained possession and gave Ford the opportunity to push the ball into the net before Hepplewhite could react.

Villa went further ahead five minutes later and again Ford was the scorer. The second goal came from a fine concerted move started by Moss out on the left. Gibson accepted the pass, cleverly beat his man and made an opening for Dixon whose shot was pushed out by Mills. Ford was perfectly positioned to run in and score after Mills only parried the ball. That Villa were the better side was beyond question at all. Huddersfield seemed without purpose and without hope. Villa looked as though they should have a hatful of goals but somehow Huddersfield kept them out.

Centre half Hepplewhite, a man of tremendous energy despite his lack of finesse, seemed to have more knees and elbows than anyone else. In the last minute of the first half Huddersfield goalkeeper Harry Mills earned the biggest cheer of the day by saving a jet propelled penalty kick from Dick Dorsett. The penalty was awarded for a clear case of hands as the ball came across from Ford on the right.

Early in the second half Ford missed a good opportunity to complete his hat trick, but almost immediately, following a free kick, Town managed to reduce the arrears. Boot took the kick, it went out to Battye on the right and as the ball came across Taylor stuck out a foot to divert it into the net just as Parkes came across too late to clear. Taylor came close to equalising as he won a tussle with Moss but Rutherford made a fine save.

Huddersfield began to turn the tables and looked much more confident whereas Villa's second half showing was more like their opponents poor first half display. Villa did come back somewhat in the last quarter of an hour and there was a stoppage in play when Mills and Boot were both knocked out in a collision. Fortunately Mills recovered and was able to make several good saves in the closing minutes. A victory for Villa but certainly not anywhere near their best.



ASTON VILLA 1 (Gibson) WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0             Attendance 40,000

Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);                                                                              Dixon, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);  

Sanders; Pemberton, Millard; Kennedy, Vernon, Barlow;                                                                            Smith, Dudley, Walsh, Ryan, Lee; 

Referee:- J.H. Parker, Macclesfield.                                                                                     

Report from Sport Argus.

A bitterly cold wind greeted the players and somewhat restricted the attendance for this big local derby match at Villa Park. The home side kept the same team as last week while Albion introduced Jimmy Dudley in place of Cyril Williams, who broke a leg last week. The two Irish internationals in direct opposition, Con Martin and Dave Walsh, were soon in action and Walsh suffered a nose bleed after a collision with Harry Parkes. Villa had the wind behind them in the first half and did most of the attacking. Albion had good fortune when Goffin twice hit the bar in quick succession with no chance of Sanders getting near the ball.

Goffin looked the most dangerous forward on either side and Villa continued to press for the remainder of the first half. Goffin and Smith together made several openings but Villa's finishing was off the mark.
Sanders dived full length to keep out a fierce free kick from Dorsett and at the other end Rutherford saved just under the bar from a snap shot by Lee.

Walsh hit a shot just six inches over the bar for Albion early in the second half and then Dorsett got the ball into the net for Villa with a trade mark free kick, only for the referee to call play back as the Albion defensive line had not retreated the required distance. The visiting forwards were unable to find any cohesion and were repeatedly caught offside. The ball took a lot of shifting from the churned up centre of the field, but Villa seemed to maintain their ascendency. Chances went begging at both ends and the game looked like ending in stalemate.

Ford got the better of Barlow and set the Villa right wing in motion. Gibson put the ball into the middle for Dixon to get in an effort which was well saved by Sanders. Ford rushed in and dispossessed the goalkeeper to put the ball in the net, but was adjudged to have fouled Sanders in the process. In general Ford was being kept under control by centre half Jack Vernon. Dudley failed to control the ball when Albion had a rare chance.

A combination between Leslie Smith and Dixon on the Villa left wing led to Gibson scoring with just three minutes remaining. The inside right got his chance when a shot from Dixon was charged down and fell right into his path. In a strong bid to save a point Albion forced a corner on the right and there was an exciting scramble in the goalmouth. Time was then up and Villa won this hard fought contest by that single goal.

SATURDAY 4TH MARCH, 1950                                       Attendance 9,179


WALSALL 3 (Devlin pen. Betts. Foulkes) BRISTOL ROVERS 1 (Bradford)

Lewis; Jones, Walters; Crutchley, Russon, Green;                                                                                        McMorran, Corbett, Foulkes, Devlin, Betts;

Liley; Bamford, Fox; Pitt, Warren, McCourt;                                                                                               Petherbridge, Bradford, Lamden, Roost, Bush;

Report from Sports Argus.

After twelve games without a win Walsall were much in need of a rare victory. Their opponents Bristol Rovers had not lost a game since Boxing Day. Walsall gave a first hone game to McMorran, a recent signing from Manchester United, on the right wing. After early attacks by the visitors Walsall took the lead after only three minutes. McMorran and Corbett worked their way down the right wing and Walsall were awarded a free kick. McMorran took the kick and Fox knocked the ball down with his hand in the penalty area. Up stepped Johnny Devlin to make no mistake from the spot.

After fifteen minutes Bradford broke through the centre and beat Lewis with a rising shot to level the score. This inspired Rovers who seemed well on top of the game with Petherbridge and Bradford outstanding up front. For Walsall Reg Foulkes, continuing as experimental centre forward, tried hard but could not get things going at first. However he persisted and eventually put through Betts to score a fine goal five minutes before the interval.

Rovers tried to reply immediately but Roose shot just over the bar. Probably to general surprise Walsall went even further ahead just before the break when Foulkes dived headlong to head in a Corbett pass to score his first goal since his move up front from centre-half. Half time 3-1.

Walsall had obviously regained considerable confidence in the second half and looked well on their way to a famous victory. However Rovers did not lie down and came back hard. Fortunately Lewis in the Saddlers goal was in excellent form and made a whole series of fine saves. Walsall came back before the end but could not add to their tally in what proved to be an excellent victory.



ASTON VILLA 2 (Goffin, Dixon) LIVERPOOL 0                         Attendance 40,000

Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);                                                                              Dixon, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);

Sidlow; Lambert, Spicer; Taylor, Hughes, Jones;                                                                                          Payne, Balmer, Stubbins, Fagan, Liddell;

Referee:- L.D. Thompson, Worksop.


Back row - Taylor, Spicer, Hughes, Sidlow, Lambert, Paisley and George Kay (Manager)

Front row - Payne, Baron, Stubbins, Fagan, Liddell.

Match report Sports Argus.

Villa anxious to soften the memory of their 7-0 defeat at Old Trafford in mid-week welcomed back Con Martin and Trevor Ford after playing in the Wales v Ireland international at Wrexham. Liverpool playing in white shirts with red collars and cuffs rather than their normal red shirts were definitely second best in the early exchanges. Hughes did grand work in defence in first checking Ford and then Dixon and Lambert, the Liverpool full back, excelled himself in dispossessing Smith after the winger had been put through by an excellent pass from Frank Moss.

Villa were playing really good football but they could not find the finishing touch until half an hour had gone when Goffin receiving the ball from Moss let fly with a 25 yard shot which Sidlow had no chance of stopping. Liverpool could make little progress and Liddell was rarely seen in the first half until he at last beat Parkes just before the interval and Rutherford had to go full length to stop his shot.

Villa survived s short period of Liverpool pressure early in the second half when Moss, Dorsett and Martin all headed away when thrusts came from both left and right. Even if Liverpool were having more of the play now than in he first half they did not look like a championship or cup winning side. Perhaps they were thinking ahead to the cup semi-final. Certainly the better football was coming from Villa and both Dixon and Gibson went close.

Sidlow needed to be in good form in the Liverpool goal and the visitors applied their now customary switch of wingers with just fifteen minutes remaining. Liddell had got little change out of Parkes and switched to the right only for Villa's full backs to also switch positions. Parkes continuing to mark Liddell and Dorsett followed Payne out to the left. A really grand movement brought Villa their second goal after 81 minutes.

A clearance by Parkes was pushed ahead by Moss to Ford, who brilliantly drew Hughes and back heeled the ball to Gibson. The latter's low cross field pass was beautifully taken by Smith and as the winger crossed the ball low across goal Dixon ran in with excellent anticipation to side foot it into the net. As nice a bit of football we have seen at Villa Park in a long time.

Rutherford, who had been a spectator in the Villa goal for much of the game was perhaps relieved to justify his winning bonus with a save from a Stubbins header just before the end and Ford very nearly added another goal when Sidlow saved brilliantly at the expense of a corner.

The Midlands football scene 1949-50 (part two)

Posted by Tony Hutton



WALSALL 2 (Betts, Chapman) READING 0                    Attendance 8,000

Lewis; Methley, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Newman;
Medd, Hewitt, Chapman, Devlin, Betts;

Marks; Moyse, Wicks; Henley, Brice, Reeves;
Fisher, Edelston, Blackman, Allen, Allison;

Referee:- W. Ling, Stapleford

Walsall continued to tinker with their forward line, although the defence remained unchanged. Reading, with a lot of experience in their team, failed to put up much of a fight. Centre half Gordon Brice was an occasional county cricketer for Northants, Maurice Edelston an England amateur international and Blackman a regular goalscorer at centre forward.

Report retrieved from Sports Argus.  An amazing start to this game which saw the return of Chapman at centre forward for Walsall. Walsall scored in the first minute with a move started by a clever flick from Medd, ending with winger Betts scoring.  Within ten minutes it was two nil this time a length of the field effort started by goal keeper Lewis punching away a free kick to Newman who booted the ball downfield. In a race for the ball with Reading defender Moyse, Chapman won possession and drove the ball past the advancing Marks.

 Chapman continued to feature but needed attention after a clash with centre half Brice. Lewis made a good save from Blackman before Walsall hit back after a period of Reading pressure to be back on top by the interval with Marks saving from Hewitt and Brice blocking another goal bound effort.

Reading came back hard after the interval and Lewis was again called into action. Walsall seemed to relax somewhat and it took time for them to get back into the game. Foulkes had to leave the field briefly and returned with a plaster over his eye. He continued to control the dangerous Blackman. Betts had one good effort saved and then laid on a chance for Devlin, but he shot wide. Walsall dominated the final stages when Devlin and Chapman both went close before Medd hit the woodwork with Marks well beaten. 




Wakeman; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Dixon, Harrison, Ford, Edwards, Smith (L);

Trautmann; Philips, Westwood; Fagan, Rigby, Emptage;
Bootle, Black, Turnbull, Clarke, Allison;

Referee:- G. Salmon, Stoke on Trent

Much interest surrounded the appearance of former German prisoner of war Bert Trautmann in goal for City. He was recently signed from St Helens Town after settling in this country after the war. He gave a good performance and only conceded the one goal of the match from wing half Frank Moss.
Despite some initial protests Trautmann went on to become a folk hero at Maine Road, making more than 500 appearances for City.

Match report retrieved from the Birmingham Gazette.

Bertman Trautmann, the German ex-prisoner of war, kept effectively all ten Aston Villa 'forwards' at bay up until the 90th minute of this match. The 35,000 crowd gave him a spontaneous ovation as he left the field at the end of the game. He had defied for long and hectic minutes the entire Villa team, with the exception of goalkeeper Wakeman, who had unnecessarily, as it turned out, stayed in his goal.

Rarely, if ever again, shall we see Con Martin as a centre forward, Harry Parkes as a raiding right winger or inside forward and Dickie Dorsett holding a watching brief on the edge of the opponents' penalty area: while wing halves and forwards were turning themselves into battering rams, slamming away at a goalmouth packed with ten blue shirts and the green jersey inhabited by the almost unbeatable Trautmann.

Yet it was not until the 90th minute and only 85 seconds of' 'stoppage time' left to play, that the German was beaten: and then beaten more by his own queued up players in front of him than by a Villa shot.
I am convinced that had Trautmann been able to see Frank Moss's admirable drive, he would have pulled it down or tipped it over the bar. But there were moments in the first half when Manchester City might well have taken the lead.....the Clarke drive to the foot of the post....the Clarke drive that left a smudge on the cross bar.... the two awful misses by Clarke and Turnbull with the ball flashing across and Wakeman at the other end.

After these anxious moments Villa settled down to real business, a wholehearted endeavour to beat this relegation-bound side. An injury to Harrison in the 28th minute made the task more difficult and with a curious perverseness Villa continued to play the limping winger with passes leaving the mercurial Smith to wonder what was going on at Sutton Coldfield. So one-sided did the match become, however, with Manchester hell-bent on jamming players in the goalmouth and Villa left all but the 18 yards goal area to fool about in, that it only became a question of time before the ball would end up in the net.

Goalkeeper Wakeman, making only his 15th appearance in his fourteen years with Villa, might well have sat down and played patience after the opening period!



WALSALL 1 (Devlin) NOTTS FOREST 3 (Ardron 2, Johnson)

Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Newman;
Hewitt, McLaughlin, Devlin, Whitehouse, Betts;

Walker; Whare, Hutchinson; Anderson, Gager (capt), Burkitt;
Scott, Johnson, Ardron, Capel, Kaile;

Referee:- J. Platts, Nantwich                                            Attendance 11,000

Christmas Eve brought promotion favourites Notts Forest to Fellows Park and they cemented their position with a comfortable victory with two goals from Wally Ardron, signed from Rotherham, who is well among the goals at the half way point of the season. Another new signing Tommy Capel from Chesterfield also looked useful.

Match report retrieved from the Sports Argus.

In the first minute the Forest goal had an escape. McLaughlin evaded Gager and pushed the ball out to Betts on the left wing, who rounded Whare and shot. The ball bounced on the crossbar and Hutchinson was able to clear at the expense of a corner. At the Walsall end Ardron screwed a good effort on goal but Lewis was able to save. Betts was again in the limelight but he put a weak shot straight into Walker's hands.

The Walsall attack was not as polished as the Forest, but their rugged approach was causing the Forest some problems. A Devlin-Hewitt move on the right had the Forest defence jumping around, but Walker came to the rescue. After Whitehouse sent a first timer over the bar, Betts sent in a terrific drive that hit the crossbar and bounced over. The game was by no means a one sided affair. The Forest attack well supplied by intelligent half backs gave Walsall a lesson in accurate passing and clever ball control.

Forest were a danger every time they got going. They were lively and grasped every opportunity for a crack at goal. Johnson  tried a cross shot which Lewis cleared with ease and Anderson sent in a pile driver but it went just over the bar. The big difference between the respective forward lines was in finishing. Nevertheless the Walsall defence played up to its reputation. Half time 0-0.

Walsall's defence had another difficult spell early in the second half but Skidmore's clearance gave them a temporary respite. Devlin created a good chance for Whitehouse who put in a drive from twenty yards which Walker saved well and a second later made another good clearance from Betts. It became obvious that the visitors could not be denied and the expected goal came from Ardron after 60 minutes. 
Walters tried a clearance but the ball struck Capel and rebounded to the centre forward. Lewis got a hand to the ball but could not prevent it trickling into the net just inside the post.

Walsall put on a spurt and if class had equalled determination they might have made headway but their efforts were futile against the Forest defenders. The visitors got a second eight minutes later when Johnson found the net. They were three down in the 75th minute when Ardron nipped in and netted after Lewis had stopped, but failed to clear, a high lob from Johnson. Eight minutes from the end referee Platt caused some consternation when he blew a long blast on his whistle and pointed to the centre spot. Players protested and spectators yelled their disapproval. After consulting the linesman the referee re-started the game.

A minute from the end Devlin scored a consolation goal for Walsall.



ASTON VILLA 1 (Dixon) WOLVES 4 (Swinbourne 2, Pye, Smyth)

Wakeman; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Dixon, Harrison, Ford, Edwards, Smith (L);

Williams; McLean, Pritchard; Crook, Shorthouse, Russell;
Smith, Swinbourne, Pye, Smyth, Mullen;

Referee:- H. Holt, Rochdale.                                              Attendance 70,000

This Christmas local derby produced by far the biggest crowd I had ever seen and I was restricted to a long distance view from the very top of the Witton End terracing.
The home side were no match for the powerful Wolves team, even without England captain Billy Wright and outside right Johnny Hancocks.
Roy Swinbourne, the young tall centre forward from Yorkshire, soon made his mark with two goals and veteran Jesse Pye and Irish international Sammy Smyth scored the others. Johnny Dixon scored a consolation goal for Villa.



WALSALL 2 (Devlin, Corbett) BRISTOL ROVERS 2 (Watling, Warren)

Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Newman;
Hewitt, Corbett, Chapman, Devlin, Giles;

Weare; Bamford, Fox; Pitt, Warren, McCourt;
Bush, Roost, Lambden, Morgan, Watling;

Referee:- H. Wootton, Walsall                                    Attendance 4,000

With both sides already knocked out of the F.A. Cup they took the opportunity for some much needed match practice. Walsall took the opportunity to experiment with the attack. Corbett, a young player from Sutton Coldfield who recently signed professional forms partnered Hewitt on the right wing and Giles was on the left. The first exchanges were very 'friendly'. Rovers opened the score in the fifth minute when Watling dived full length to head in a Lamden centre. Rovers were setting the pace and Lewis saved from Morgan and McCourt.

After 22 minutes Walsall got the equaliser through Devlin, Four minutes later Corbett netted from a Devlin pass as Weare advanced from goal and after 37 minutes Warren equalised for Rovers from a free kick. In the second half the Walsall attack swung into action and Rovers' goal had several narrow escapes. Just before the final whistle Bamford cleared a Chapman effort off the line with Weare out of position. (Report from Sports Argus).



WALSALL 1 (Corbett) NORWICH CITY 1 (Ashman)

Lewis; Jones, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Newman;
Hewitt, Corbett, Chapman, Betts, Giles;

Nethercott; Duffy, Lewis; Pickwick, Low, Armes;
Gavin, Kinsey, Ashman, Jones, Church;

Referee:- L.D. Thompson, Worksop                                 Attendance 11,000


Report from Sports Argus.

First threat was at the Norwich end where Betts swung over a centre into the goalmouth. Nethercott went to intercept but failed to hold the ball. Hewitt raced, but the goalkeeper just managed to smother the ball. Norwich came back and after Jones had checked a likely move, Ashman shot just outside, after slipping Foulkes. Gavin had a great chance for Norwickh but was well off the target. Then came another thrill at the Norwich end.

Skidmore put in a terrific 25 yard swerving drive. Again Nethercott failed to clear properly. He recovered in time, however, as Chapman rushed in. After a quarter of an hour Norwich missed a sitter. Kinsey placed a perfect pass for Ashman who miskicked. However Ashman made amends in the 19th minute when he hooked a perfect goal from Kinsey's pass. It took Walsall just ten minutes to get on level terms.

In the 29th minute Corbett scored his first League goal. Giles swung over a grand pass which Betts stopped and placed for Corbett who cleverly back heeled into the net. Walsall fought hard to take the lead but the Norwich defence was no easy obstacle. The second half opened tamely, but when Walsall got going Betts raised a cheer with an individual run. His shot was wide, then Chapman tried to head over the advancing Nethercott but collided with Low who had to receive attention.

Walsall at this stage gave the Norwich defenders a gruelling time. The referee ignored appeals for two spot kicks when first Corbett and then Chapman were brought down. Chapman tried another header and Hewitt and Corbett both put in shots which the Norwich keeper saved. The Norwich attack came into life again and Jones put in a stinger which Lewis saved well. Corbett, at the other end, did a sparkling piece of work but after manoeuvering into a perfect scoring position, shot wide.

Walsall just could not penetrate the Norwich defence and in the last few minutes did everything but score. The re-arranged Walsall attack showed more life throughout and while there was more grit and determination than thrust they well deserved a point.



ASTON VILLA 4 (Goffin 2, Ford, Craddock) MIDDLESBROUGH 0

Rutherford; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin Moss (F);
Craddock, Gibson, Ford, Goffin, Smith (L);

Ugolin; Dicks, Blenkinsopp; Bell, Whittaker, Spuhler;
Reagan, Linacre, Fenton, McCrea, Walker;

Referee:- J.W. Bowers, Huddersfield                           Attendance 30,000

For once the long suffering Villa supporters went home happy. Four goals in one game almost unheard of in recent times. Billy Goffin appearing at inside left instead of his usual left wing role and helped himself to two goals against a Middlesbrough side struggling without several big name players.

Middlesbrough 1949-50
Match report from Sports Argus.

Villa had Craddock back in the side for the first time since 19th November. Middlesbrough were forced into a series of changes because of the fact that Gordon was taken ill overnight. His place at left half was taken by Spuhler normally a centre forward. That position was taken by Micky Fenton, formerly an England international in his 16th season with the club, who is now in charge of Boro's Northern Eastern League side. Mannion, who was injured in the cup replay at Leeds on Monday was not risked, so Linaker moved to inside right and Reagan made his first appearance of the season on the right wing.

From the start Villa were on the attack. Gibson and Powell both had early efforts pass wide of the goal and it was nearly all Villa with Middlesbrough confined to breakaways. In one of these Martin miskicked to let in Fenton but he was slow in controlling the ball and Daly was able to pass back to Rutherford. Villa took the lead after 19 minutes when Goffin scored after a corner conceded by Dicks.
As the ball came across Ford challenged goalkeeper Ugolini who could only push the ball out a few yards and the inside left had a simple task to put it in the net.

The visitors were causing little trouble up front so much so that full back Parkes was able to come upfield and join in a midfield duet with Frank Moss who sent a shot just a yard wide. 'Legs' Linacre in the unaccustomed inside right position flashed suddenly into the picture to send a whizzer just wide and from a more favourable position Walker blazed wildly high and wide. This was first division fare in name only. Passes more often went to the opposition rather than the man for whom they were intended.

Inside forward play reached rock bottom. Oh for a Mannion to do something that really mattered. Colin Gibson worked hard, did one or two clever things, but all to often they were beyond the comprehension of the colleagues he expected to anticipate events. However, a minute before the interval Goffin was able to increase the Villa lead. Again it followed a Smith corner, which was only parried, finding Goffin in the right place to take the opportunity.

After a spell of Villa pressure early in the second half, in which skipper Ivor Powell was prominent, came to nothing the visitors seemed unlucky when Reagan was given offside when in a good position. Powell was again in attack following a good left wing move by Smith and Goffin but his shot went wide. Middlesbrough were very poor, there was no other word for it and it did not signify a great deal that Villa were on top. After 14 minutes of the second half a brilliant piece of opportunism from Trevor Ford brought Villa a third goal.

The ball was played forward from the half way line and as Whittaker retreated and Ugolini advanced from goal, Ford got between them with a terrific burst of speed and put the ball into the corner of the net. Craddock who had hardly been in the game then scored the fourth goal after 70 minutes taking advantage of a move created by Goffin and Gibson to lob the ball over the advancing Ugolini's head.
The remainder of the game seemed more or less a formality. Middlesbrough did manage a few raids upfield which brought little more than a couple of corners and a speculative shot from Linacre.

Monday 12 October 2015

The Midlands football scene 1949-50 (Part one)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Apologies for the delay in continuing my football marathon, but during the cricket season my full time job is watching and blogging on that sport to the exclusion of almost all else.

However I can now take up the story from October 1949 following my move from Yorkshire to Walsall in the West Midlands, due to my father's job. I was twelve years old but already a football fanatic and the big bonus for me, after the problems of moving schools and trying to learn the local dialect, was the number of teams I could now watch. Not only Walsall, then languishing in the lower reaches of Division Three (South), but Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolves were all within easy travelling distance.

The first clubs I concentrated on were the two nearest, i.e. Walsall and Aston Villa, but in time I watched them all over different periods and this would continue until the end of the 1966-67 season when I moved on again.


ASTON VILLA 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 4 (Rowley, Bogan, Mitten 2)

Jones; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Craddock, Dixon, Howarth, Lowe (E), Goffin;

Crompton; Ball, Carey (capt); Warner, Lynn, Cockburn;
Delaney, Bogan, Rowley, Pearson, Mitten;

Referee:- R.N. Lloyd, Oswestry.                                     Attendance 47,483

Originally not much information on this game, although I remember Manchester United playing in blue shirts. They had a few changes from last season's cup winning team with Johnny Morris having gone to Derby to be replaced by Scotsman Tommy Bogan. Ball and Lynn were deputising for Aston and Chilton, probably due to injuries. As the score suggests they were still an outstanding side and had no problem taking the points from a poor Villa outfit.
There were some useful players for Villa including Welsh internationals Keith Jones in goal and wing half Ivor Powell. Con Martin was an Irish international centre half, previously with Leeds United and Eddie Lowe had played wing half for England.

The following details were retrieved from the Sports Argus. United went ahead in only 45 seconds when Jack Rowley headed in a right wing cross. Villa retaliated immediately and Howarth, deputising for the injured Trevor Ford, went close with a header neatly caught by Jack Crompton in the United goal. In the 13th minute, with the crowd applauding good play by the visitors, United went further ahead when a cross from Delaney was chested down by Rowley for Bogan to score with a fine shot from the edge of the area.

United went further ahead with a goal from left winger Charlie Mitten in the 32nd minute and the game was virtually all over by the half time interval with a lead of 3-0. However Villa did come back into the game somewhat during the second half and Lynn nearly put a cross from young Craddock into his own goal. From the resulting corner Dick Dorsett sent a trade mark piledriver wide of the goal. Eddie Lowe was prominent in the Villa front line and after pressure from the spectators young Miller Craddock, the lad from Hereford, was moved to centre forward where he forced Crompton to tip the ball over the bar.

Crompton made another fine save from a Dorsett free kick and Villa were unlucky not to score a consolation goal. However Charlie Mitten broke clear through the centre of the field and in attempting to round the goalkeeper was brought down by Keith Jones. He took the resulting penalty himself to complete the scoring in what proved to be a comfortable 4-0 victory for the visitors.


WALSALL 1 (Morris) SOUTHEND UNITED 1 (Wakefield)
Lewis; Methley, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Green;
Medd, Morris, Whitehouse, Devlin, Betts;

Hankey; Lindsay, Walton; Wallbanks, Sheard, French;
Jones, McAlinden, Wakefield, Morris, Tippett;
Referee:- W. Ling, Cambridge                                       Attendance 11,000

I started my quest to see all the teams in the Third Division South at the compact Fellows Park ground, which was virtually three sided due to the proximity of the laundry wall at the railway end of the ground. Walsall had a rather diminutive goalkeeper in Jack Lewis, who was a very good player and had a lot of work to do during the season. Left back was Bill Skidmore, a Yorkshireman, with a tremendous left foot shot for penalties and free kicks. Reg Foulkes was a commanding centre half and inside forward Johnny Devlin, from Scotland, was the main goalscorer.

The goalscorer for Southend in this match was Albert Wakefield, who I had previously seen playing for Leeds United. Jimmy McAlinden was an Irish inside forward who played for Portsmouth in the last cup final before the war and later for Stoke City before joining Southend. 

This report retrieved from the Sports Argus. Southend were well on top in the early stages and only good work by goalkeeper Jack Lewis and centre half Reg Foulkes kept them at bay. Walsall then had a good opportunity when Betts went away down the left and crossed to Whitehouse who drew the defence before slipping the ball to Devlin. Unfortunately he got no power in his shot and Hankey was able to turn the ball round the post with his outstretched leg.

Southend had more opportunities but wasted them with poor finishing until in the fortieth minute centre forward Wakefield gave them the lead. Wallbank started the move and a nice combination between Morris and McAlinden gave Wakefield the chance to give Southend an interval lead. The almost added another right on the whistle when a Tippet header was saved at full stretch by Lewis.

Walsall showed renewed vigour at the start of the second half and Hankey in the Southend goal was called upon to make two excellent saves from Medd and Whitehouse at the expense of corners. Eventually the home side's pressure paid off with a goal from inside forward Morris after sixty minutes. Both sides had opportunities but could not find the winner. McAlinden had the best effort for Southend with a shot from 25 yards.

Sadly a bad injury to the Walsall goalscorer Morris marred the later stages of the game. He fell heavily after a tackle just as he was about to shoot and was carried from the field on a stretcher with a suspected double fracture of the leg. Walsall managed to hold out for the draw with only ten men.


ASTON VILLA 1 (Dixon) STOKE CITY 1 (Sellars)
Jones; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Craddock, Gibson, Ford, Dixon, Goffin;

Herod; Watkin, McCue; Mountford (F), Franklin (capt), Sellars;
Mountford (G), Bowyer, Godwin, Johnston, Ormston;

Referee:- J. Houston, St Annes on Sea                                Attendance 40,000.

Dickie Dorsett, the Villa left back, had come from Wolves and was a powerful tackler and striker of the ball. Miller Craddock was a young fair haired winger and Colin Gibson had come from Newcastle and stayed for seven seasons. He played for the Football League XI but never quite made it as an international. Trevor Ford, was the bustling Welsh international centre forward and Johnny Dixon was to become one of Villa's regular goalscorers and would eventually captain them to a Cup Final victory.

Neil Franklin, the England centre half, was Stoke's big star and was soon to become embroiled in the Bogota scandal, when several leading players including team mate George Mountford and Charlie Mitten of Manchester United went to South America for huge wages in comparison with what was available in England.

Neil Franklin, Stoke City and England

From the Sports Argus report.

Stoke in their efforts to get away from the bottom of the table paid a record fee of £10,000 for Les Johnston, who incidentally in his wanderings has cost over £42,000 which makes him the costliest player in history. His previous clubs have been Clyde, Hibernian and Celtic.

There was more combination than usual in the Villa attack and one delightful spell of mid-field passing between Powell, Moss, Gibson and Dixon was cheered by the eager crowd but once again the attack came to nothing. There was an unusual moment, when following a long upfield pass from Goffin, Gibson headed towards the centre. Ford and Franklin chased the ball and so did goalkeeper Herod. Franklin held up Ford for Herod to field the ball and Ford charged the centre half.

The referee held up play until he had a chat with Ford and Franklin and then re-started play with a dropped ball almost on the edge of the penalty area. This was easily cleared but Dorsett in going up for the ball with George Mountford received a cut eye and the game was again held up while he received attention, but he quickly resumed. Almost twenty minutes had gone before we saw the first shot at goal. George Mountford, speedy as ever, cut across goal and sent a short pass almost to the feet of Johnstone. The new acquisition got in a first time drive which just skimmed the bar.

The game was warming up. First Ormston and Godwin broke away and Parkes back pass to Jones was just too close, forcing the Villa goalkeeper to run out and take a first time kick. From the thrown in Johnstone got in a delightful flick shot to the angle of the bar which Jones saved. Then came thrills in the Villa goalmouth. A free kick just outside the penalty area saw the ball tapped forward. Godwin ran on to it and fell over a Villa defender just as Jones dived at their feet. He was slightly injured but soon recovered and Powell cleared the resulting corner.

The big thrill of the match came in the 53rd minute when George Mountford got across a beautiful pass to the centre of the goal and just that tantalising distance from Jones. Wee Ormston  was waiting and headed downwards away from Jones towards the upright. Jones leapt sideways and with his left hand pushed the ball against the foot of the upright for it to be cleared. It was from this clearance that Villa scored in the very next minute.

The ball was sent hard up on the left and Ford took it on to get in rather backward centre. From almost on the penalty spot Dixon steadied the ball and sent it wide of Herod in the Stoke goal. Villa were now pressing all out. Franklin was lucky to see Herod get his foot to a short back pass from in front of Ford and then from a Goffin centre Herod managed to fist the ball away from Ford's head. Dorsett, despite the large patch over his eye, which gave him a Nelson look, was playing as dourly as ever and George Mountford was not getting much scope.  

Stoke were still defending with pluck and courage. Dixon drew Herod out of goal and Ford beat him for possession. Although Franklin, Watkins and McCue were covering the goal there was no keeper behind them. Ford, pivoting quickly, attempted to lob the ball over the defenders but but failed sending it well wide instead. The game went monotonously on with the Villa attack falling so short against the Stoke defence, the somewhat dreary nature of the game only broken by the occasional Stoke attack.

In the 84th minute Stoke forced a corner on the right.  George Mountford sent in a terrifically hard ball, rather wide of goal, but Sellars jumped up and headed it first time into the net. The ball was going at a terrific speed. Stoke were now full of fight, and from yet another raid Bowyer, with another terrific drive forced Jones to turn the ball round the post for another corner. This was cleared.  


Lewis; Methley, Skidmore; Walters, Foulkes, Newman;
Medd, Heseltine, Whitehouse, Devlin, Betts;

King (R); Hamlett, Butler; McGarry, Cheadle, Todd;
Barber, Allen, King (G), Polk, Hulligan;

Referee:- B.M. Griffiths, Newport, Monmouthshire                 Attendance 9,000

Walsall collected two valuable points thanks to Johnny Devlin's goal. Port Vale included two little known players who were to become famous later in their careers. Bill McGarry gave valuable service to Huddersfield Town and Ronnie Allen had a marvellous career with West Bromwich Albion, both winning international honours with England.
Port Vale including two future England players Bill McGarry and Ronnie Allen

Report retrieved from the Sports Argus. 

Lewis, the home goalkeeper, was soon in action in this Staffordshire Derby match, but it was his team mate Whitehouse who went nearest early on with a shot which hit the corner of the Port Vale woodwork. Inside forward Polk looked the danger man for Vale and he too hit the post with a shot following good work by George King and Codd. The visitors continued to dominate but the way to goal was barred by some tough tackling from the Walsall defence who held out grimly.

Devlin and Betts looked dangerous for the home side and eventually Heseltine carved out a good opportunity for Devlin who managed to shoot yards wide. No score at half time. The Vale keeper made some good saves early in the second half but the visitors still looked the better side. A torrential shower made for greasy conditions and both sides had difficulty in controlling the ball. However it was still something of a surprise when Walsall went ahead in the 60th minute. Full back Skidmore put a high ball into the penalty area and Devlin rose above the defenders to head the ball over keeper King as he came out.

Vale were still very much in the game until the end but with Reg Foulkes outstanding in defence and Barber missing the best chance of an equaliser, The Saddlers held on to a hard won victory.


Jones; Parkes, Dorsett; Powell, Martin, Moss (F);
Craddock, Gibson, Ford, Dixon, Smith (L);

Mapson; Stelling, Hudgell; Watson, Walsh, McLain;
Wright (T), Broadis, Davis, Shackleton, Reynolds;

Referee:- F.H. Gerrard, Preston                                         Attendance 40,000

Sunderland 1949-50

A good win for Villa against a strong Sunderland side, which just could not get it together. Ford, who was soon to join the visitors in a big money transfer deal, scored the first goal and the youngster Miller Craddock the second. Sunderland's two big name inside forwards, Ivor Broadis and Len Shackleton had little impact on the game. Willie Watson, the Yorkshire cricketer, gave his usual polished performance at wing half.

Trevor Ford in action for Villa at Fulham

Report retrieved from the Sports Argus. Villa welcomed back left winger Leslie Smith after a long lay off with a broken collar bone. Sunderland were without two regular half backs Fred Hall and Arthur Wright. Sunderland looked the better side in the early stages with their talented mid-field trio of Watson, Broadis and Shackleton working well together. So it was certainly well against the run of play that Villa took the lead after twenty minutes following a throw in on the left.

Moss threw the ball to Smith who returned it to him, the wing half crossed the ball for Gibson to flick it on with his head to Ford, who headed it into the net. However some spectators seemed to think that he pushed the ball home with his hand. Worse was to follow for Sunderland just four minutes later. Ford was put away down the right by a pass from Ivor Powell and crossed for the lively Craddock to head into the net. 

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Sunderland who then fell back in defence, leaving the Villa half backs Powell and Moss time to press forward, as Villa began to take control thanks to their early good fortune. However it was too good to last and with only ten minutes to go to half time the young goalkeeper Keith Jones advancing to cut out a cross from Reynolds collided heavily with Dick Davis the Sunderland centre forward. The 21 year old goalkeeper had to leave the field with what appeared to be a broken right arm. Centre half Con Martin, who has played in goal for the Irish Republic, took over the goalkeeper's jersey, with Les Smith moving back into defence. Half-time 2-0.

It was learned that Jones had dislocated his right elbow and was taken to hospital for an X-ray. Martin had no pressure on him in the early stages of the second half as Sunderland did not seem capable of taking advantage of their one man advantage. The game deteriorated somewhat with few chances coming to either side. Dixon damaged his nose and had to carry the trainer's sponge for some time as Villa's attack came to a full stop with the ball just being belted downfield by their defenders. Sunderland were little better and their best opportunity of a goal came just before the end when Broadis with time to spare hit the ball wide. Sunderland slumped inexplicably.