Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Midlands miscellany 1951-52 (Part three)

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 17TH NOVEMBER 1951                      Attendance 28,000


W.B.A. 3 (Lee, Griffin, Allen) MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Rickaby og, Hart)

Sanders; Rickaby, Millard; Kennedy, Vernon (capt), Barlow;
Griffin, McCall, Allen, Ryan, Lee;

Trautmann; Brannagan, Hannaway; Paul (capt), Rigby, McCourt;
Meadows, Hart, Westcott, Broadis, Clarke;

Albion were at once on the attack and Trautmann was called upon to make three
brilliant saves in the first five minutes. However, after seven minutes he was beaten and Albion were one up. Allen cut in from the left and his centre was pushed home by Lee.

Kennedy with a beautiful pass gave Allen another chance, the centre forward shot on the turn but there was Trautmann again diving full length to save. Albion continued to play brilliant football and dominated the play. After Ryan had got the ball in the net but was given off side, Albion scored their second goal after nineteen minutes play.

A perfect through pass from Barlow found Griffin unmarked and the winger beat Trautmann with ease. In the very next minute however, Manchester surprisingly reduced the lead. Sanders only partially cleared a centre and Rickaby in trying to prevent Hart scoring , succeeded in sending the ball into his own net. No doubt heartened by this unexpected success, the visitors came into the game much more frequently, well prompted by the brilliant ball play of Ivor Broadis. However Vernon was keeping a firm grip on Denis Westcott, the former Wolves centre forward, and the only real danger seemed to come from Broadis and Welsh international Roy Clarke. H.T. 2-1.

Albion continued to dominate the game throughout the second half thanks mainly to the fine work of their two wing halves, Kennedy and Barlow. Allen was also in fine form and gave City's centre half, Rigby, a most uncomfortable afternoon, indeed nearly all Rigby's clearances ended up in the crowd. After sixty three minutes Albion scored again, this time it was a grand effort from Allen following a corner kick.

Hart scored a second for City just before the end, but Albion were worthy winner.



ASTON VILLA 2 (Dixon 2) MIDDLESBOROUGH 0             Attendance 30,000

Martin; Lynn, Parkes; Blanchflower, Moss (F), Dorsett (capt);
Smith (H), Thompson, Gibson, Dixon, Goffin;

Ugolin; Robinson, Dicks; Bell, Blenkinsopp, Gordan (capt);
Delephena, Fitzsimmons, Spuhler, Mochan, Hartnett;

Referee:- Mr. T.L. Wood, Bury;

The visitors were without their England inside forward Wilfe Mannion, who was injured last week. His place was taken by Scotsman Neil Mochan, recently signed from Greenock Morton. Theo Boro' team had quite an international flavour about with Italian/Scotsman Rolando Ugolini in goal, coloured West Indian Lindy Delephena on the right wing and two Irishman Fitzsimmons and Hartnett also in the forward line. Villa tried Colin Gibson, normally an inside forward or winger, as their sixth centre forward of the season.

After the clever Blanchflower and Thompson had proved dangerous to Boro', Villa took the lead after eighteen minutes play. The move was started by Dorsett, who give the ball to Dixon, on to Gibson, who then gave Dixon a beautiful return pass for the inside left to score with a first time shot. Villa continued to dominate the game right up to half time and just before the interval Stan Lynn was able to come upfield and let fly with one of his terrific drives. However Ugolini somehow managed to save. Half time 1-0.

The ability of Lynn and Dorsett to hit the ball hard proved invaluable in the muddy conditions, they were able to find their men whereas other players' passes were stopping half way on the treacherous surface. Villa went further ahead after sixty six minutes play and it was again Dixon who scored. He pushed the ball past Blenkinsopp and ran on to beat Ugolini with ease. Both teams were now tiring and it was not surprising considering the heavy conditions. Midllesborough made a late rally but despite two good efforts from Mochan, the versatile Irishman Con Martin, again playing as an emergency goalkeeper was never troubled.




Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewart, Purdon, Briggs. Smith, Wardle;

Smith; Southwell, Deans;  Brunt, Leuty (capt), Simpson;
Broome, Jackson, Lawton, Johnston, Crookes;

Referee:- Mr. A. Blythe, London

Birmingham's attack were soon in action and looked in good form against a none too sure defence. After nineteen minutes inside left Smith put the home team ahead from a centre by Stewart after Briggs had put the winger away. Lawton, of whom little was seen, got on one good shot which beat Merrick but went just over the bar. Birmingham continued to have the better of the play. They were shooting often but were very inaccurate, particularly the South African Purdon. H.T. 1-0.

Frank Broome, formerly a team mate of Leon Leuty at Derby, put a grand pass through for Crookes, but Boyd managed to race back to clear in time. Then Birmingham went further ahead and again Smith was the scorer, this time a neat header from Briggs' centre. It was nearly all Birmingham now and but for some fine saves by the balding Smith in the County goal and some wretched shooting by the forwards, they would have achieved a much bigger victory.



ASTON VILLA 2  (Thompson, Dixon) NEWCASTLE UNITED 2 (Duncan 2)

Martin; Lynn, Parkes; Blanchflower, Moss (F), Dorsett;
Smith (H), Thompson, Gibson, Dixon, Goffin;

Simpson; Cowell, McMichael; Harvey (capt), Brennan, Robledo (E);
Walker, Foulkes, Duncan, Robledo (G), Mitchell;

An entertaining game with both teams willing to attack. Newcastle were without centre forward Jackie Milburn, but his deputy the Scotsman Duncan did well scoring both their goals.

Villa continued their improved form of recent weeks with Irish international Danny Blanchflower again outstanding. Goals from the reliable partnership of Thompson and Dixon kept Villa in the game.

SATURDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 1951                             Attendance 7,000


WALSALL 2 (Bridgett 2) PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 5 (Govan, Russon og, Tadman 3)

Lewis; Holding, Green; P. Aston, Russon, Walters (capt);
Bowen, O'Neill, Bridgett, Evans, Giles (P);

Shortt; Ratcliffe, Jones; Dougal, Chisholm (capt), Porteus;
Astall, Dews, Tadman, Rattray, Govan;

Plymouth, strongly challenging for promotion, were captained by their strong centre half Jack Chisholm, formerly with Spurs and Brentford. They also included Welsh international goalkeeper Bill Shortt and one of the Third Division's most prolific goalscorers in Maurice Tadman.

After Walsall had attached during the opening minutes, Playmouth soon began to show their class. One delightful move saw the ball travel across the field from Dougal to Govan, who centred perfectly only for Astall to head into Lewis's arms. After fifteen minutes following a mistake by Walters, little Govan went through on his own to open the scoring. Walsall immediatley had a great chance to equalise. Bridgett, normally a centre half, but playing at centre forward today was grounded by a tackle from Chisholm. He managed to push the ball to Evans who shot past the unsighted goalkeeper, but Ratclifee cleared off the line.

Walsall spoilt several movements by poor shooting and after twenty two minutes Plymouth went further ahead when Russon , attempting to clear a centre from Tadman, put through his own goal. Plymouth's finishing was as good as Walsall's was poor and when another miskick by Walters gave Tadman the ball, he pushed it out to Astall whose centre was netted by the centre forward. Govan was having a splendid game on the left wingt against Walsall's inexperienced defenders and from anothe of his accurate centres Dews, the Worcestershire cricketer, scraped the crossbar with a header.
On the stroke of half time Tadman scored again to put Plymouth 4-0 up!

Plymouth tended to rest on their laurels, but after fifty four minutes Jack Bridgett scored in a goalmouth scramble after a Bowen centre. Then in sixty two minutes Plymouth made it 5-1, when Lewis left his goal to intercept an Astall centre, put could only push the ball back to the winger, who side-footed it to Tadman to push into the empty net. Bridgett scored a second goal for Walsall shortly before the end.



WOLVES 1 (Smith L. pen) ASTON VILLA 2 (Smith H., Thompson)

Parsons; Short, Guttridge; Baxter, Chatham, Wright (capt);
Smith (L), Walker, Pye, Wilshaw, Mullen;

Martin; Lynn, Parkes, Blanchflower, Moss (F), Dorsett (capt);
Smith (H), Thompson, Walsh, Dixon, Goffin;

 For this Boxing Day local derby Wolves were without several regulars in defence and struggled against a full strength Villa side who scored twice through winger Herbert Smith and Thompson. Wolves only reply came from the penalty spot when Les Smith, acting as deputy for Johnny Hancocks, scored. The big Boxing Day crowd went home disappointed but against a second team defence, apart from skipper Wright, Villa achieved a fairly easy victory.



WOLVES 3 (Whitfield 3) BLACKPOOL 0                               Attendance 25,000

Parsons; Shorthouse, Gibbons; Baxter, Chatham, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Broadbent, Whitfield, Dunn, Mullen;

Farm; Shimwell, Garrett; Johnston (capt), Hayward, Kelly;
Hobson, Taylor, Mortenson, Brown, Perry;

Three days after their home defeat by Villa, Wolves made changes in both full back positions and introduced reserve centre forward Ken Whitfield for the first time. The return of Hancocks and Broadbent also strengthened the team considerably. They faced a full strength Blackpool apart from the absence of Stanley Matthews who was replaced by Albert Hobson.

Wolves were a completely different team from the poor performance on Boxing Day and played with much greater speed and enthusiasm. The beneficiary of all this was young Whitfield who scored all three goals on a sensational debut. Blackpool seemed to be suffering from a Christmas hangover and were never really in the game.

      header found the net on his way to a hat-trick.                                   

Sadly these three goals were the only ones Whitfield ever scored for Wolves in nine appearances, before moving on briefly to Manchester City, then spending most of his career at Brighton where he became a centre half.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Midlands miscellany 1951-52 (Part two)

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER, 1951                 Attendance 26,000



Merrick; Hall, Martin; Boyd (capt), Badham, Warhurst;
Stewart, Purdon, Briggs, Ferris, Wardle;

Stansbridge; Ellerington, Sillett; Horton, Wilkins, Mallett;
Jones, Day, Dudley, Purves, Edwards;

The Blues were without two regular defenders Green and Atkins. Badham moved to centre half in place of Atkins and the two youngsters Hall and Martin were at full back. Tommy Briggs, the former Grimsby goalscorer, was making his first home appearance. After a spell of pressure by Birmingham in which Horton headed out a shot by Purdon from under the bar, Southampton began to get on top.

Merrick had difficulty in saving a forty yard free kick from young left back Peter Sillett and then punched a shot from Day over the bar. After twenty seven minutes Frank Dudley the fair haired former Leeds United centre forward, scored with a fine shot following a left wing centre. 

From this point up to the interval it was all Birmingham. With the right winger pair of Stewart and the South African Purdon prominent, many scoring efforts were saved or blocked by defenders, notably a full length save by Stansbridge from Briggs.
Half-time 0-1.

Birmingham again dominated the play in the second half and Purdon missed two great chances to equalise early on. Spurred on by Warhurst, who had a great attacking game at wing half, Birmingham forced corner after corner and despite many hectic goalmouth scrambles just could not get the ball into the net. Finally just ten minutes from time Boyd sent the ball down the right wing to Purdon, who beating Sillett as he slipped, back-heeled the ball to Briggs who scored with a fierce shot.

The remaining ten minutes consisted of a fierce Southampton goal bombardment in search of the two points they deserved on the run of play but the home defence held out despite several near misses by this good looking Southampton side. 

SATURDAY 6TH OCTOBER 1951               Attendance 28,000



Merrick; Hall, Martin; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewart, Higgins, Briggs, Rowley, Wardle;

King; Symons, Beech (G); Lucas, Weston (capt), Williams;
O'Driscoll, Thomas, Turnbull, Allchurch (I), Bellis;

Birmingham changed their inside forwards as Ferris was playing for Ireland, former Wolves player Ken Rowley deputised, and another Irishman Jimmy Higgins returned to the exclusion of Purdon. The early stages were marked by good saves from both goalkeepers, Birmingham's Merrick and Swansea's 17 year old schoolboy international
Johnny King.

Birmingham went ahead after twenty one minutes play following a throw in. The ball went to Rowley, who in turn passed to Briggs for the centre forward to pull it back to Higgins who scored with a fine shot from the edge of the area. This goal inspired the home side and King was forced to make a brilliant save to prevent Rowley adding a second goal.

Little had been seen of the Swansea attack mainly because Boyd had been marking the golden boy of Welsh football, Ivor Allchurch, very closely. Their best scoring chance came from left winger Bellis, who shot just wide after being put through by Thomas. The Swansea defence was not having things all their own way either, perhaps the penalty of their full back playing too square.

The two former Grimsby colleagues Briggs and Wardle were combining well, and following the winger's favourite back heel trick which rarely succeeds, Briggs missed a good chance by not anticipating the move. However when Wardle got over a grand centre, the centre forward got in an equally good header only for King to make yet another splendid save and tip the ball round the post.

Very surprisingly Swansea immediately broke away to equalise. A centre from Bellis was beautifully headed past Merrick by centre forward Turnbull. This goal seemed to spur on the Welsh side and Merrick saved another good header, this time from Allchurch who was now showing some of his obvious skill. Birmingham were the superior side during the first half and just on the interval Briggs found his way through the centre only for his great drive to be pushed round the post again by the brilliant young Swansea keeper. Half time 1-1.

Birmingham's young right back Jeff Hall, was injured on three separate occasions during the second half and spent much of his time on the right wing, although he was far from being a useless cripple and caused King to make two more outstanding saves from fierce right foot drives.

Despite this handicap Birmingham continued to dominate the play and but for the good work of King would undoubtedly have won by a handsome margin. As it was Swansea nearly surprised them when Allchurch beat Stewart, who had taken Hall's place at right back and had only Merrick to beat, but the goalkeeper positioned himself well and saved with ease.

SATURDAY 13TH OCTOBER, 1951                 Attendance 35,000


WOLVES 5 (Pye 3, Hancocks, Dunn) BOLTON WANDERERS 1 (Lofthouse)

Williams; Short, Gibbons; Deeley, Shorthouse, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Dunn, Wilshaw, Pye, Mullen;

Hanson; Ball, Higgins; Wheeler, Barrass, Edwards;
Codd, Moir (capt), Lofthouse, R. Parry, Langton;

All the headlines today were about fifteen year old Raymond Parry, Bolton's schoolboy international who became one of the youngest ever players in league football history.

Despite a bright start the youngster could not really contribute much as his team were never really in the game dominated by the Wolves two outstanding wingers, Hancocks and Mullen. They laid on most of the goals for Jesse Pye, who helped himself to a hat trick.

Wolves had two youngsters in the line up with left back Len Gibbons and wing half Norman Deeley both fitting in well. Lofthouse scored a consolation goal for Bolton who were a well beaten side at the end.

SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER, 1951                  Attendance 6,309



Lewis; Holding, Green; Walters (capt), Russon, Devlin;
Bowen, Hughes, Winter, Evans, Allison;

Baldwin; Mansell, Tennant; Willard, McCoy, Wilson;
Reed, McNichol, Bennett, Sirrell, Keene;

With 29 goals from 13 games so far this season the visitors were the highest scorers in the division and were lying fourth in the table just three points behind leaders Norwich City. Walsall on the other hand were fourth from bottom.

Walsall's fortunes look set to improve, they led for much of last week's match at Milwall before losing 2-1. Today's game saw them hold the powerful Brighton attack, apart from one goal from former Bradford Park Avenue player Jimmy Sirrell, and earned themselves a welcome point.

SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER, 1951               Attendance 20,000


BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Stewart, Briggs) BARNSLEY 1 (McCormack)

Merrick; Badham, Martin; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewaret, Higgins, Briggs, Rowley, Wardle;

Hough; Lindsay, Hudson; Jarman, Glover, Baxter;
Smith, McMorran, McCormack, Taylor, Jones;

Barnsley, who had Tommy Taylor on leave from the Army, fielded no less than three centre forwards and its was Cecil McCormack, the blond former Middlesborough player, the club's leading scorer, who proved the plan worked when he scored after only four minutes. A bad back pass from centre half Atkins resulted in Smith nipping in to give McCormack the goal on a plate.

Birmingham nearly equalised at once when Stewart cut in from the wing and crashed a shot past Hough only for it to hit the crossbar. After a period of constant pressure, Birmingham equalised after seventeen minutes. Warhurst put the ball through the middle to Tommy Briggs who beat Lindsay and shot. Hough made a brilliant diving save, but could only push the ball out and Stewart raced in to crash the ball home.

Hough distinguished himself with several really fine saves and it was mainly due to him that Birmingham did not go into the lead before half time. Barnsley were handicapped by an injury to their centre half, Glover, which necessitated him moving onto the wing. Half-time 1-1.

Barnsley started the second half with Jones the former Sheffield United winger at right back, Lindsay at centre half and the injured Glover on the left wing. It was therefore not surprising that Birmingham kept up the pressure on the visitors' goal, although it was obviously going to be difficult to beat Hough who was in splendid form. However, he was beaten eight minutes after the re-start when Briggs scored with a fierce ground shot from Stewart's pass.

So it continued until the end with Barnsley's patched up side on the defensive throughout, but Birmingham failed to add another goal, partly because of poor finishing, but mainly because of Hough's goalkeeping. Praise must also be given to Jones who did remarkably well as an emergency right back.

SATURDAY 27TH OCTOBER, 1951                Attendance 35,000



Williams; Short, Pritchard; Crook, Chatham, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Dunn, Wilshaw, Pye, Mullen;

Allen; Carey (capt), Redman; Gibson, Chilton, Cockburn;
McShane, Pearson, Rowley, Birch, Bond;

An almost full strength Wolves side, missing only centre half Shorthouse were no
match for the more youthful United side with Redman, Gibson and the teenage left wing pair of Birch and Bond all doing the bit alongside the more experienced players.

It was the two English international forwards, Stan Pearson and Jack Rowley who scored the goals, but the performance of the youngsters bodes well for United's future.

SATURDAY 10TH NOVEMBER, 1951                Attendance 35,000


WOLVES 1 (Mullen) PRESTON NORTH END 4 (Wayman 2, Horton 2)

Sims; Pritchard, Gibbons; Crook, Shorthouse, Wright (capt);
Smith, Dunn, Wilshaw, Pye, Mullen;

Gooch; Cunningham, Scott; Docherty, Marston, Forbes;
Finney, Horton, Wayman, Beattie, Morrision;

A below strength Wolves side without England's goalkeeper Bert Williams, with a shoulder injury, as well as outside right Johnny Hancocks were no match for a talented Preston side prompted by Tom Finney. Suffering their second successive home defeat Wolves were never really in the game with centre forward Charlie Wayman showing that you do not have to be tall to score goals from centre forward.

Inside right Ken Horton scored the other two in a good all round performance by North End. The Scotsman Tommy Docherty was always in the thick of things in midfield and Australian Joe Marston was a tower of strength at centre half. However it was the talented forward line that took the eye and for a side only promoted last season, Preston should have no difficulty in holding their own in the top division.