Thursday, 21 January 2016

Midlands resurgence 1952-53 (Part one)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Hopes were high for the new season particularly for Wolves and West Bromwich Albion.  Birmingham City were expected to be among the front runners in Division Two after their near miss last time. Walsall surely could do no worse after finishing last, but being re-elected to the Third Division.


My first football of the new season was back in Yorkshire on holiday with my grandparents in Leeds for the last week of the school holidays.


WEDNESDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ELLAND ROAD, LEEDS

LEEDS UNITED 2 (Iggleden, Langley) BURY 0


Scott; Dunn, Hair; Kerfoot, Charles, Burden (capt);
Williams, McCall, Fidler, Iggleden, Langley;

Kirk; Griffiths, Massey; Greenhalgh, Head (capt), Bardsley;
Fletcher, J.A. Walton, Plant, Gordon, Hays;


A comfortable home win in the end for United with something of an experimental forward line, with Frank Fidler at centre forward and utility man and long throw expert Jim Langley on the left wing.

Bury's lively forwards foundered on the rock of John Charles, who was immaculate at centre half, the diminutive Plant was no match for him in the air. The former Hull City player, Jimmy Greenhalgh, worked hard at wing half for Bury, but Leeds' goalkeeper Scott was rarely troubled and goals from the left wing pair of Iggleden and Langley enabled United to take the points fairly comfortably



SATURDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT LEEDS ROAD, HUDDERSFIELD

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 6 (Metcalfe 2, Glazzard 2, Davie, Quested) BARNSLEY 0

Referee:- Mr G. Black, Kendal

Wheeler; Staniforth, Kelly; McGarry, McEvoy, Quested;
Gunn, Watson, Glazzard, Davie, Metcalfe;

Hough; Yeull, Hudson, Ward, McNeil, Normanton;
Lumley, McMorran, Taylor, Wood, Kelly;



Huddersfield who had finally been relegated at the end of last season after several close escapes, introduced two new players to help them in the fight for immediate promotion. These were right back Ron Staniforth from Stockport and inside right Jimmy Watson, a Scottish international from Motherwell. Barnsley also had their share of internationals in Englishman Tim Ward, from Derby County, Irishman Eddie McMorran and Scotsman Jimmy Kelly. They also had a very promising centre forward in young Tommy Taylor.

Huddersfield swept into the attack from the start and well prompted by little Willie Davie at inside left, they bombarded the Barnsley goal. Glazzard missed two good chances and then Gunn, with only the goalkeeper to beat, hit Metcalfe's centre straight at Hough from close range. All this in the first five minutes! Barnsley's first scoring effort came from Wood who suddenly unleashed a really tremendous shot from over twenty yards range, but Wheeler saved.


The home side eventually took the lead after twenty three minutes and surprisingly enough it was the right winger Gunn, who had hitherto done little right, who supplied the pass for Glazzard to push the ball past the goalkeeper as he advanced. It was all Huddersfield now, McGarry grazed the post, Watson headed just wide and then after thirty two minutes they scored a second goal. This time it was left winger Vic Metcalfe who cut inside and completely deceived Hough with a surprise shot from just outside the penalty area. The Barnsley defence underwent constant pressure right up to the interval.
Half time 2-0.

More was seen of the Barnsley forward line during the early stages of the second half, but Wheeler was rarely troubled due to the immaculate play of the backs and half backs in front of him. The newcomer Staniforth made a particularly good impression. Davie was proving the mainspring of the Huddersfield attack, and in one brilliant run he beat man after man, before unluckily flicking the ball wide of both goalkeeper and goal. It was an inspired performance by Davie particularly against such an opponent as the legendary 'Skinner' Normanton.

More goals had to come and after sixty two minutes Davie headed home from a Metcalfe centre. Five minutes later another Metcalfe pass lead to Quested scoring his first goal for the club, his shot was so hard that the goal net had to be repaired. Metcalfe crowned a great display be scoring from a penalty awarded for a foul on Davie and Glazzard made it six five minutes from time.

This display suggests that Huddersfield should be firm favourites for a speedy return to the First Division. The team appeared to have only one weakness - at outside right.

(This proved to be a wonderful promotion season for Huddersfield Town. Amazingly the defensive line up of goalkeeper, two full backs and three half backs played unchanged in all forty two league games during the season).

SATURDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 3 (Rowley, Murphy, Briggs) LEICESTER CITY 1 (Rowley)

Merrick; Green, Martin; Boyd, Ferris, Warhurst;
Cox, Murphy, Briggs, Rowley (K), Purdon;

Anderson; Lever, Milburn; Baldwin, Gillies, King;
Griffiths, Worthington, Hines, Rowley (A), Dryburgh;

Referee:- A.S. Murdoch, Sheffield.

A fairly easy win for the Blues with a much changed forward line, which seemed to click with three well worked goals from Ken Rowley, the former Wolves player, and consistent goalscorers Peter Murphy and Tommy Briggs.

The consolation goal for Leicester was scored by Arthur Rowley, no relation, who is one of the most consistent goalscorers in the league.



THURSDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER, 1952               Kick off 5.50 p.m.

LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK WALSALL

WALSALL 1 (Dean) QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1 (Cameron)        7,023

Lewis; Rowe, Walters; Dean, Green, Millington;
Morris, Duggins, Bridgett, Driver, Edwards;

Brown; Poppitt, Ingham; Nicholas, Powell (M), Farrow (capt);
Muir, Gilberg, Tomkys, Cameron, Shepherd;

Referee:- Mr F. Cowen, Manchester

The Saddlers have had a very difficult start to their season and are already firmly entrenched at the bottom of the league. The first point came last Saturday with a 1-1 away draw at Coventry City who were relegated from the Second Division last season.
Today they welcomed the other team to be relegated Queens Park Rangers and
managed to gain another point from a rather lack lustre game.

The home side fought hard against a strong Rangers side, captained by George Farrow, the former Blackpool wing half, and including former Leeds United full back Tony
Ingham. Local boy George Dean was outstanding for Walsall and he scored the one vital goal after inside forward Cameron had put the visitors ahead.

On Wednesday 24th September Nat Lofthouse of Bolton Wanderers created a record for representative football by scoring six goal for the Football League against the League of Ireland.

 On the same night another English centre forward, Jack Rowley of Manchester United had an inspired second half in the FA Charity Shield game against Newcastle. He scored two goals himself then created two others in a 4-2 victory, before having his ear badly torn and having to go off. He returned for the last five minutes with his ear heavily plastered.
 
SATURDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER, 1952

CENTRAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS V THE REST OF THE CENTRAL LEAGUE

WOLVES RESERVES 2 (Whitfield 2) THE REST 1 (Hobson)

Sims; Guttridge, Gibbons; W.J. Slater, Flowers, Clamp;
Booth, Walker (capt), Whitfield, Stockin, Clews;

Crossley (Liverpool); Moran (Liverpool), Vinall (Aston Villa - capt); Canning (Aston Villa), Williams (S) (W.B.A.), Phoenix (Manchester City);
Hobson (Blackpool), Vickers (Leeds Utd), Lewis (Everton), Cummins (Everton, Anders (Preston North End);

Referee:- Mr E.T. Jenkins, Manchester

Before the game the President of the Central League Mr. H.P. Hardman, who is also chairman of Manchester United, presented the Central League trophy to Bill Biaxter the Wolves skipper who was unable to play because of injury. There was one late change in the Rest side as Mark Jones of Manchester United was required for first team duty and Stuart Williams of West Bromwich Albion took his place.


In the very first minute of the game a faulty back pass by Wolves acting captain Walker gave Stanley Mathews deputy Hobson an easy goal from close range. Walker tried to make up for his mistake and after a great dribble only a brilliant save by Crossley prevented a goal.

In the nineteenth minute Whitfield equalised with a first time shot from a centre by Booth. The centre forward nearly scored again following a corner taken by Clews but Crossley again made a great save. Then Flowers cleared an effort from Vickers off the goal line. There was some good wing half play on both side, Phoenix and Slater being particularly impressive.

Five minutes before half time Slater beat two men almost on the proverbial sixpence before pushing a beautiful ball through to Walker, Crossley could only push out his shot to Whitfield who had only to tap the ball into the net. Half time 2-1.

After Wolves had forced three early corners the Rest went downfield and bombarded the Wolves goal. Hobson hit the post, a Cummins shot from thirty yeards was tipped over the bar by Sims then the same player his the corner of cross bar and upright with another grand shot. However that was the closest they could get to scoring.

Crossley, Williams, Phoenix and Lewis were the outstanding members of the Rest side, which put up a very good performance considering they had not played together before. Wolves proved theselves worty champions and for them Slater, the amateur international, Fowers and Guttridge were the pick of a very fine team.

The following article appeared in the match programme.
  


Also on September 27th Blackpool beat Charlton Athletic 8-4. Scotsman Alan Brown scored three and Stanley Matthews scored his fourth goal of the season. In the second division Everton beat Doncaster 7-0 with Irish winger Tommy Eglington scoring five.

On Wednesday night 1st October, Cliff Bastin pre-war Arsenal and England winger, made a come back to play in a benefit match at Exeter for full back Cyril Johnstone. On the same night Walsall had a rare away win at Swindon 2-1 with goals from Bridgett and Duggins.

 Saturday 4th October Ireland 2 England 2, with Lofthouse scoring in the first minute and Elliott equalising five minutes from the end. Another big money transfer as Johnny Morris, once of Mancheste United, leaves Derby for Leicester City.


SUNDAY 5TH OCTOBER, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES 6 (Swinbourne 3, Wilshaw 2, Mullen) MANCHESTER UTD 2 (Rowley 2)

Williams; Short, Pritchard; Flowers, Shorthouse, W.J. Slater;
Smith, Broadbent, Swinbourne, Wilshaw, Mullen;

Allen; McNulty, Aston; Carey (capt), Chilton, Gibson;
Berry, Downie, Rowley, Pearson, Scott;

Referee:- Mr. B.J. Flanagan, Sheffield


Wolves were without their skipper Billy Wright, playing for England and also Billy Crook who was injured. Their places at wing half were taken by amateur international Bill Slater and Ron Flowers who played his first match a fortnight ago against Blackpool. Manchester United introduced a 17 year old Irish winger in John Scott.

All the early attacking was done by Wolves, all five forwards looked to be in splendid form and Leslie Smith justified his selection in place of Hancocks. Allen made a brilliant one handed save from Wilshaw and then after a Swinbourne header had hit the post, Carey nipped in smartly to turn the ball for a corner.

In the league champions' first attacks Berry was the danger man. The first goal however came after a free kick taken by the young left winger, Scott. It was obtained in rather strange circumstances as Williams, endevouring to stop a back pass from going for a corner, took the ball out of the penalty area. Scott placed his kick perfectly for Rowley to swing his lethal left foot and crash the ball past a crowd of players into the net. A minute later a similar pass from Scott found Rowley again and United were two up after only twenty minutes play.

Five minutes later Wolves reduced the lead. Smith's persistance enabled hime to get the ball into the middle for a second time after his first effort had been blocked. Allen could only push it up in the air and Wilshaw leaped high to head in from just under the bar. After a prolonged attack Wolves equalised five minutes before half time, Wilshaw taking the ball to the bye-line before pulling it back for Swinbourne to score with a first time shot. Half time 2-2.


With thirty seconds of the restart a move in which every Wolves forward had a part ended in Mullen putting them ahead. Smith robbed Aston, passed to Swinbourne, on to Wilshaw, then Broadbent, finally to Mullen who cut in at speed to beat Allen with a typically fierce cross shot. Another brilliant move seven minutes later ended with Wolves scoring their fourth goal. Swinbourne, who was always in the action, put Broadbent away down the right wing, he beat Aston with ease, sent in a centre which evaded Allen's hands and there was Wilshaw to head it confidentally down into the net.

This made it 4-2 to Wolves and United were really panicking in defence. Just two minutes later Swinbourne made it 5-2 with one of the best goals seen on the ground for many years. From quite a distance outside the penalty area, about thirty five yards from goal, when it looked as through he would swing across a high centre, the centre foward suddenly let fly with a tremendous shot which flew into the net before Allen and most of the crowd saw it! An amazing goal.


Although it was the Wolves forward line that was doing the damage the crowd were quick to applaud young Flowers for using the ball well and playing with superb confidence so that the absence of Billy Wright was hardly noticed. The excitement was far from over and six minutes from the end Wolves suffered a double casualty which brought the trainer racing on to the field. Smith waltzed round Aston yet again and pushed the ball back to Broadbent. The inside right's powerful shot then hit
Swinbourne full in the face and he went down like a log. As the ball dropped near the far post Wilshaw raced in to head it into the net and collided with the goalpost. The referee however gave him offside. Both players were able to continue after treatment.

Two minutes from the end and a bad pass by Carey (the Wolves brilliant attack was even shaking the calm Irishman) enabled Slater to put Mullen away down the left and from the winger's centre
Swinbourne headed Wolves sixth goal and completed a well deserved hat trick. An amazing match which brought thunderous applause from the crowd as the players left the field.







Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Midland miscellany 1951-52 (Part six)

Posted by Tony Hutton


SATURDAY 29TH MARCH, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Briggs, Smith) HULL CITY 2 (Harris, Carter)

Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Dailey, Briggs, Smith, Murphy, Wardle;

Bly; Hassall, Phillips; Jensen, Berry, Durham;
Harrison, Harris, Gerrie, Carter (capt), Burbanks;


Birmingham had centre half Arthur Atkins back after an absence of several weeks and Jim Dailey, normally a centre forward, deputised for the injured Jackie Stewart on the right wing. Hull, although still without their former England centre half Neil Franklin, welcomed the return of their former Manchester City left back, Ernie Phillips.

Carter won the toss and set Birmingham to face quite a strong wind. Hull made the first attacked helped considerably by this advantage and their bustling centre forward, Sid Gerrie, who went near with a good left foot drive; However, it was the home side who scored first. Following a corner, Hassall headed out from under the bar, but Briggs was on the spot to drive the ball home after 13 minutes.

Dailey was doing well on the right wing for Birmingham and from one of his dangerous centres Bly just beat Briggs to the ball in the air. After 19 minutes play Hull equalised. Atkins and Gerrie both missed the b all completely just inside the area and the Welshman, Harris, took the chance well to shoot past Merrick.

Seven minutes later Hull went ahead and it was the old maestro, Raich Carter himself who scored.
Following a throw in on the right wing, the ball bobbed about in the goalmouth for a while before running loose and Carter immediately cracked it into the net from the edge of the penalty area. A vintage Carter effort, reminiscent of his days in the England team just after the war. Play was fairly even and Hull hardly deserved their lead. Just before the interval Billy Bly went full length to save well from Tommy Briggs. Half time 1-2.


Rather surprisingly Hull came more into the game against the wind in the second half. The 'Tigers' were well prompted by the two wing halves, Vigo Jensen the Dane and Durham, and they gave the 'Blues' some anxious moments. However, gradually the home side gained control and after Smith had scored the equaliser they went close to getting the winning goal on several occasions.


SATURDAY 5TH APRIL, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES 1 (Hancocks) BURNLEY 2 (Shannon, McIlroy)

 Williams; Shorthouse, Gibbons; Crook, Chatham, Deeley;
Hancocks, Swinbourne, Pye, Broadbent, Mullen;

McNulty; Aird, Mather; Adamson, Cummings, Attwell;
Chew, Morris, Shannon, McIlroy, Elliott;

Yet another disappointing performance by Wolves who were languishing in the bottom half of the table. No Wolves centre forward has scored since January and they rely too much on the two wingers to score the goals. Hancocks managed another today, but Burnley were the better team and goals from Les Shannon and Irishman Jimmy McIlroy gave them the points.



WEDNESDAY 9TH APRIL, 1952

BIRMINGHAM COMBINATION AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 'A' 4 (Smith, Jerreries, Simpson, Powell og) WALSALL RESERVES 0

Cordell; Hunt, Hudman; Norman, Vinall (capt), Aston;
Bullock (F), Pollard, Jefferies, Simpson, Smith (A.R.);

Chilvers; Holding, Perry; Hodges, Poweel, Smith;
Barber, Scarlett, Giles (J), Wright, Maund;


GOOD FRIDAY 11TH APRIL, 1952                    Attendance 32,000

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM   

BIRMINGHAM CITY 3 (Green pen., Briggs, Sherwood og) CARDIFF CITY 2 (Grant, Chisholm)

Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewart, Briggs, Trigg, Murphy, Wardle;

Hughes; Rutter, Sherwood (capt); McLaughlin, Montgomery, Baker;
Tiddy, Williams, Grant, Chisholm, Edwards;

Referee:- Mr. A.W. Smith, Aldershot


A large contingent of Cardiff supporters had travelled up to see this vital promotion battle and the customary leeks were placed on the ground before the game, amid scenes of great enthusiasm.
Cardoff opened the scoring after only four minutes play, their centre foward Grant who is small in stature but whose brilliant ball control madu up for his lack of inches, scoring a grand goal from the edge of the area. Birmingham were not dismayed and fought back in fine style to take the lead.

                                  Birmingham's first goal from the penalty spot

Full back Ken Green scored the equaliser from the penalty spot and then the bustling Briggs put the home side ahead. The Blues inside forwards were were both playing well in contrast to their opponents, whose main attacking force centred around Grant who was not well supported.

                                    Tommy Briggs scores Birmingham's second goal

Ken Chisholm, the burly, wandering Scot, equalised for Cardiff in what was certainly proving a thrilling first half. With the last kick before the interval, Alf Sherwood, the Welsh international and Cardiff skipper, sent a fierce back pass well wide of his goalkeeper to put Birmingham in the lead once more. With no more scoring in the second half this tragic mistake proved to be the winning goal of this exciting match.

                                    Alf Sherwood's own goal settles the match.



SATURDAY 12TH APRIL, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 1 (Trigg) QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0

Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewart, Briggs, Trigg, Murphy, Wardle;

Brown; Powell, Ingham; Clayton, Spence (capt), Farrow;
Waugh, Smith, Addinall, Gilberg, Shepherd;

Referee:- Mr J.H. Clough, Bolton

After beating promotion rivals Cardiff City yesterday, Birmingham took on Queens Park Rangers, who are almost certain to be relegated. So on paper it looked like a convincing home victory, but thanks mainly to goalkeeper Harry Brown, the Londoners put up a great fight and Blues just scraped home by the only goal of the match.

Right from the start shots and headers rained in on Brown from the powerful home forward line, but he threw himself all over the place and brought off some really fantastic saves. Skipper Bill Spence, formerly with Portsmouth, was also doing great work in defence for the visitors who were fighting hard to retain their glimmer of hope of staying in the Second Division.

After half an hour's continual pressure, Birmingham were awarded a penalty and Ken Green, who took and scored his first ever penalty yesterday, again took the kick. Unfortunately this time he side-footed the ball inches over the bar.This let-off seemed to put heart into Rangers for they at once got in several dangerous attacks but they found Merrick just as safe as Brown at the other end. With no score at half time, Brown got a great cheer on leaving the field at the interval.


During the second half Birmingham became quite lethargic and the crowd were prompted to spur them on to greater effort. Rangers were still proving quite dangerous in attack, with inside forwards Conway Smith, formerly with Huddersfield Town, and Harry Gilberg always trying to get their speed little wingers going.

Eventually, with fifteen minutes remaining to play, Cyril Trigg got the vital goal which assured victory for Birmingham, thus keeping them in the promotion race, and also assured Queens Park Rangers of a place in the Third Division next season. See you at Fellows Park!


EASTER TUESDAY 15TH APRIL, 1952 

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 7 (Gibson 2, Dixon, Walsh, Goffin 3) CHELSEA 1 (Smith (J)

Jones; Lynn, Parkes; Blanchflower, Moss (F), Dorsett;
Gibson, Roberts, Walsh, Dixon, Goffin;

Robertson; Tickeridge, Willemse; Armstrong, Harris (capt), Mitchell;
Gray, Campbell, Randall, Leadbetter, Smith (J);

For this third game of the Easter weekend Chelsea were decimated by injuries and their team showed seven changes from the published programme side. Villa inspired by Danny Blanchflower were totally in control. The could even see the funny side when Harry Parkes missed a penalty and were delighted when 'cowboy' Billy Goffin, bow legs and all, helped himself to a hat-trick towards the end.


SATURDAY 19TH APRIL, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON 

WOLVES 2 (Swinbourne, Mullen) FULHAM 2  (Robson, Brennan) 

Williams; Shorthouse, Gibbons; Baxter, Chatham, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Deeley, Swinbourne, Broadment, Mullen;

Black; Dodgin, Lowe (R); Macauley, Taylor (capt), Lawlor;
Stevens, Robson, Jezzard, Brennan, Mitten;

Wolves emphasised their poor season by failing to beat Fulham who are about to be relegated.
Swinbourne did become the first Wolves centre forward to score since January but they struggled to beat a team which had been much changed as the season progressed. They paid big money for the former Manchester United winger Charlie Mitten after his trip to play in Colombia which was followed by suspension. He does not seem to have recovered the form that made him such as success at Old Trafford.

Bedford Jezzard is the clubs' leading goalscorer with only eight, but did miss three months of the season with a broken leg. Centre half Taylor is the mainstay of the defence but further signings seem necessary if they hope for a quick return to the top flight. Billy Wright has again been the main man for Wolves and fully deserved the award of Footballer of the Year.


MONDAY 21ST APRIL, 1952                      Attendance 30,000

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 3 (Allen, Lee, Ryan) ARSENAL 1 (Lishman)

Heath; Rickaby, Millard; Dudley, Kennedy (capt), Barlow;
Griffin, Nicholls, Allen, Ryan, Lee;

Swindin; Barnes (capt), Wade; Forbes, Shaw, Bowen;
Milton, Goring Holton, Lishman, Robertson;


Albion, revealing their best form, virtually put an end to Arsenal's fading hopes of winning the elusive double of Cup and League. Arsenal's match at Old Trafford on Saturday is the last of the season for them and for Manchester United. In view of the fact that Manchester beat Chelsea tonight, Arsenal would have to win by a fantastic score to win the title on goal average. To win that game at all would seem highly improbable for Arsenal in their resent predicament with a large number of first team players on the injured list.

Their side tonight contained five reserves and therefore their performance can give little indication of their chances against Newcastle in the Cup Final in two week's time. All the blame for this defeat however, cannot be given to the reserves, as the Welsh international Barnes in particular had a very trying time against Albion's speedy left wing. A movement begun on this flank brought Albion's first goal after ten minutes play. Bowen attempting to clear could only slice the ball to Allen, who scored with a hard drive. Lee himself scored the second five minutes before half time from close range. Half Time 2-0.

Arsenal fought back and Lishman, the former Walsall player, scored following a right wing movement soon after the re-start, but their cumbersome attack could make little headway against Albion's magnificent defence in which Joe Kennedy was outstanding in his new centre half role. Albion continued to hammer away at the Arsenal goal and the final goal of the match came in 71 minutes when, from an overhead kick by Allen, the brains of the attack throughout, Ryan found the net.

SATURDAY 26TH APRIL, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 3 (Purdon, Stewart, Briggs) LUTON TOWN 1 (Warhurst og) 

Merrick; Green, Martin; Boyd (capt), Ferris, Warhurst;
Stewart, Smith, Briggs, Purdon, Murphy;

Streten; Jones, Aherne; Morton, Owen (capt), Shanks;
Cullen, Stobbart, Moore, McJarrow, Mitchell;

Referee:- Mr W. J. Edwards, Yeovil

Birmingham, strongly challenging Cardiff City to join Sheffield Wednesday in being promoted to the First Division, hoped to win this match, their last of the season, by a considerable margin as there was a strong likelihood of the issue being settled by goal average. After Luton had got in the first attacking movements, the home side gradually took control of the game, being well prompted by their two wing halves, who both in splendid form. Luton's defence, in particular Streten and Owen, managed to hold out until forty minutes of the first half had gone. Then Purdon put the Blues ahead with a well taken goal. Half time 1-0.


Luton's defence again held out in the second half until thirteen minutes from the end of the game, when Birmingham suddenly scored two goals within a minute. The first one was scored by Stewart who hand wandered into the middle and the second by Briggs following a perfect through pass from Murphy. Streten alone saved Luton from a heavier defeat with a series of brilliant saves.


Then with only a minute left to play Luton scored a surprise goal. In a breakaway attack England 'B' player Mitchell found himself with only Merrick to beat, but the England goalkeeper parried the ball, only for Warhurst running back to help only succeeded in sending the ball into his own net!

(Birmingham had to wait until the following Saturday before having their promotion hopes shattered. Cardiff beat Leeds United at Ninian Park 3-1 in front of 55,000 spectators and were promoted with a goal average just 0.14 in excess of Birmingham's.)

So the season ended with Birmingham City probably the best performing West Midlands side of the season. In the first division Aston Villa proved to be the pick of the bunch finishing in sixth position.
West Bromwich Albion finished in thirteenth place and Wolves were three places below them, so a poor performance by both of them. Poor old Walsall were even worse finishing bottom of the Third Division South by four points and having to apply for re-election once more.






Thursday, 7 January 2016

Midlands miscellany 1951-52 (Part five)

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 9TH FEBRUARY, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0

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

Mills; Gallogly, Boot; McGarry, McEvoy, Quested;
Gunn, Kelly (capt), Shiner, Davie, Metcalfe;

The teams lined up before the start for a minutes silence following the death earlier in the the week of King George VI.


Their was a general aura of gloom all round with the weather and a poor performance from both teams. Lawrie Kelly, normally a full back, played at inside right and captained the Town team against his former club. Wolves experimented with full back Short at centre forward which was not a success. This was my first sighting of Willie Davie, Town's Scottish inside forward, who was to play a major part in reviving Town's fortunes.


SATURDAY 16TH FEBRUARY, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES 3 (Dunn, Hancocks 2) NEWCASTLE UNITED 0

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

Simpson; Cowell, McMichael; Harvery (capt), Brennan, Robledo (E);
Walker, Foulkes, Milburn, Robledo (G), Mitchell;

A much improved performance by Wolves against the very strong Newcastle team. The improvement was very much led by the lively form of diminutive winger Johnny Hancocks with two goals, helped by a promising performance from young inside forward Peter Broadbent.

SATURDAY 23RD FEBRUARY, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES 0 SUNDERLAND 3 (Ford 2, Bingham)

Williams; Shorthouse, Gibbons; Baxter, Chatham, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Broadbent, Whitfield, Walker, Mullen;

Mapson; Stelling, Hedley; Aitken, Hall (capt), Wright;
Bingham, Kirtley, Ford, Shackleton, Watson;

Referee:- Mr P Rhodes, York

Wolves erratic form continued. With only one change from last week's team which performed so well against Newcastle they were never really in the game against a very solid Sunderland defence. Centre forward Trevor Ford, Sunderland's big money signing from Aston Villa scored two goals and Irish outside right Billy Bingham the other. The clever ball skills of inside forward Len Shackleton were also seen at their best for once in a convincing win for the Wearsiders.

WEDNESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY, 1952

BIRMINGHAM COMBINATION AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 'A' 2 (Styles, Smith) STOKE CITY 'A' 0

Rutherford; Hudman, Hunt; Lamb, Proudler (capt), Clarke;
Styles, Pollard, Roberts, Norman, Smith (A.R.);

School half term enabled me to see a Wednesday afternoon match with the Aston Villa third eleven performing at Villa Park. Some of the Villa's youngest players from a very large professional staff had a chance to shine, but none were particularly outstanding.
The appearance of A.R. Smith meant that Villa now have three wingers of the same name! Probably the best performance came from the veteran goalkeeper Joe Rutherford.


SATURDAY 1ST MARCH, 1952

CENTRAL LEAGUE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES RESERVES 3 (Stockin, Wilshaw, Taylor) SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY RESERVES 0

Parsons; McLean, Pritchard; Short, Stuart, Deeley;
Smith, (capt), Stockin, Taylor, Wilshaw, Clews;

Capewell; Kenny (capt), Moss; Edwards, Underwood, O'Donnell;
Finney, Quixall, Jordan, Rickett, Whittaker;

Another step into the lower reaches of the football world. Wolves reserves, with a number of players with first team experience made short work of Wednesday's young side. Reg Stockin, recently signed from Walsall, made a good impression and the Wolves defence looked particularly solid.

Main point of interest in the Wednesday ranks was the appearance of the very promising right wing pair of Alan Finney and Albert Quixall. Both are doing their National Service in the Army and seem to be spending the whole time playing football for various Army teams at all levels as well as for Wednesday at weekends.


SATURDAY 8TH MARCH, 1952                      Attendance 65,000

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 3 (Duqueman 2, Walters)

Jones; Lynn, Parkes; Blanchflower, Moss (F), Dorsett (capt);
Gibson, Thompson, Walsh, Dixon, Goffin;

Ditchburn; Ramsey, Withers; Nicholson, Clarke, Burgess (capt);
Walters, Bennett, Duqueman, Bailey, Adams;

Referee:-  Mr G.W. Pullin, Bristol

A huge crowd turned out to watch the League Champions Spurs, who are pressing for the title once again. They were rewarded with a display of vintage football from the visitors, who were missing only outside left Les Medley from their full strength side.


Villa who had Irish international Dave Walsh, signed from West Brom, at centre forward had a difficult job against such a strong defence and the Spurs midfield, with Bill Nicholson, Welshman Ron Burgess and inside left Eddie Bailey were outstanding.

Players from left - Thompson, Burgess, Nicholson, Goffin, Walsh and Ditchburn.

Centre forward Len Duqueman, from the Channel Islands, scored two goals and outside right Sonny Walters the other. There could have been more but the general feeling was it will take a very good side to stop Spurs winning the title again.


SATURDAY 15TH MARCH, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 3 (Murphy 2, Trigg) SHEFFIELD UNITED 0

Merrick; Green, Badham; Boyd (capt), Ferris, Warhurst;
Stewart, Briggs, Trigg, Murphy, Wardle;

Burgin; Furniss, McLafferty; Hitchen (capt), Toner, Shaw;
Ringstead, Smith, Browning, Hutchinson, Hawksworth;

Referee:- Mr. H. Tootill, Wigan.


Sheffield United's team included several very tall players, centre forward, Len Browning, the former Leeds United player, looked taller than most as he was opoosed by Irishman Ray Ferris, normally a wing half, who is no giant. Browning continually beat Ferris in the air and proved a great danger, going very close on three occasions early in the game. Birmingham's centre forward, Cyril Trigg, had his right knee heavily bandaged and his slowness sugeested that he was not completely fit.

Burgin injured his arm in brilliantly fisting away a Briggs headers and a minute later Birmingham took the lead. Burgin, Trigg and Toner all went for a high ball near the left hand post, they all missed it and the ball rolled into the goal area leaving Murphy to walk it into the net. Sheffield suffered a further injury when centre half Toner was kicked on the head and had to leave the field with blood streaming from a cut. The standard of football from two likely promotion candidates was very poor indeed. One good Birmingham move ended in Burgin making a great save from a Murphy header.
Half-time 1-0.


Toner, with his head heavily bandaged, resumed at outside right, Shaw moved to centre half, Hitchen to left half and Ringsted to right half. Four minutes after the interval Birmingham went further ahead, Murphy cutting in from the right sent the ball into the middle, Burgin could only push it against the bar and Trigg hit it into the net as the ball dropped to him.

Then further trouble for United, a fierce shot from Briggs hit Burgin's already injured arm and the goalkeeper had to leave his goal and went on to the right wing, the other casualty Toner taking his place between the sticks. Toner was soon in the wars again when a shot from Trigg winded him. Despite some clever footwork from Burgin, now on the right wing, Sheffield could not hope to make a game of it and Murphy added a third goal before the end.











Monday, 4 January 2016

Midlands miscellany 1951-52 (Part four)

Posted by Tony Hutton


TUESDAY 1ST JANUARY, 1952

F.A. CUP SECOND ROUND (SECOND REPLAY) AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

READING 2 (Henley, Hacking og) SOUTHPORT 0            Attendance 11,000

Marks; Moyse, Wicks; Lewis, Brice, Johnston;
Simpson, Edelstone, Blackman, Henley, Bainbridge;

Minshull; Taylor, Reilly; Hacking, Barrett, Hitching;
Billingham, Livesy, Lindsay, Pennington, Musgrove;

Referee:- Mr F.W. Chadwick, Leicester


Having already played out two drawn games, this marathon F.A. Cup tie continued with a second replay on a neutral ground, approximately half way between the two clubs. Reading, from the Third Division South, played in a set of Portsmouth jerseys against their opponents from the Third Division North. An excellent New Year's Day crowd of 11, 000, mainly neutrals, turned up to watch an entertaining game.

Reading soon adapted themselves to the heavy ground and went ahead after only five minutes play.
Blackman's pass giving Henley a good opening to score. Musgrove, who was Southport's liveliest forward, missed a great chance to equalised by delaying his shot when well places.

Reading went further ahead after fifteen minutes. Minshull, the former Liverpool goalkeeper, fumbled a high centre from Simpson on the right and Hacking dashing back headed the ball into his own net as Minshull threw himself backwards in an effort to reach it.


Maurice Edelstone, the England amateur international and a fine tactician, was Reading's star forward and in deference Brice and Wicks were outstanding. Barrett, although twice injured, and Hacking did well for Southport. Reading extended their run of unbeaten matches to fourteen and will no meet Swansea in the third round of the cup on January 12th.

Reading did not get any further as they lost 3-0 to Swansea in the third round.
 

SATURDAY 3RD JANUARY 1952                                Attendance 28,500

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHM CITY 1 (Wardle) BRENTFORD 2 (Dare, Badham og)

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

Gaskell; Horne, Munro; Harper, Latimer, W.J. Slater;
Dare, Coot, Lawton, Sperrin, Paton;

Referee:- Mr. E.S. Vickery, Bristol

Birmingham, second in the table, faced Brenford who were sixth and having conceded only 24 goals in 25 matches the visitors had the best defensive record of any First or Second Division club. Making his debut for Brenford was England amateur international Bill Slater, formerly with Blackpool.

The ground was very muddy and Birmingham were soon on top. Briggs put Purdon through but his weak shot was saved by Gaskell. Briggs, Purdon and Wardle were all prominent in early attacks and Gaskell had to dive full length to save from the centre forward. Ken Green, the full back, came upfield to join the attack and when his centre was deflected to Badham, the Brentford goalkeeper saved again.

When Brentford did break away their forwards looked dangerous and after thirty five minutes, against the run of play, they scored. Merrick pushed a grand shot from Coot over the bar, Paton's corner was then headed down by former full back Monk to Dare, who put it into the net. Coot had another grand shot saved by Merick before Birmingham equalised.

Gaskell dived at Smith's feet but could only deflect the ball to Briggs whose shot was kicked off the line by Horne, but Wardle dashed in and slammed it home. Half time 1-1.

At the start of the second half it was all Birmingham and they went near to scoring on several occasions. After only ten minutes, however, Purdon left the field with an ankle injury and although he returned to limp along the wing for a while, he soon left the field for good.

Bimringham still dominated the play with ten men and when Stewart intercepted a back pass from Horne it looked as though they must score, but the ball rolled just wide of the post. Two minutes from the end, with the crowd beginning to drift away, Badham put through his own goal to give Brentford two points they scarcely deserved.


SATURDAY 12TH JANUARY, 1952

FRIENDLY MATCH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

WALSALL 2 (Winter, Giles) DARLINGTON 1 (Murray)

Lewis; Jones, Walters; Holding, Russon, Green;
Barber, Stockin, Winter, Aston, Giles (P);

Dunn; Eves, Collitor; Wardle, Howe, Williams;
Steele, Clarke, Scarborough, Murray, Kirk;

This friendly match against Third Division North opponents was arranged as both teams had been knocked out of the F.A. Cup. The third round was being played today.


SATURDAY 19TH JANUARY, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOLVES 1 (Broadbent) PORTSMOUTH 1 (Munday)

Parsons; Shorthouse, Gibbons; Wright (capt), Chatham, Baxter;
Hancocks, Smith, Short, Broadbent, Mullen;

Butler; Gunter, Ferrier; Scoular, Froggatt, Dickinson;
Harris, Reid, Clarke, Munday, Gaillard.


SATURDAY 26TH JANUARY, 1952

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0 FULHAM 2 (Barlow og, Taylor (Jeff))

Heath; Rickaby, Millard (capt); Kennedy, Horne, Barlow;
Griffin, Dudley, Allen, Ryan, Lee;

Black; Dodgin, Lowe (R); Macauley, Taylor (Jim) capt., Lowe (E);
Stevans, Bowie, Jezzard, Taylor (Jeff), Mitten;

Referee:- Rev. S.V. Davis, Oxford

Albion continued with Les Horne at centre half in preference to Jack Vernon, the Irish international and club captain. The pitch had a light covering of snow and was very hard.

Jeff Taylor, the former Huddersfield Town player, had bad lunch early on when he hit the bar. Both Fulham's wingers were proving troublesome to the Albion defence as they they were receiving good service from the clever little inside forward Jimmy Bowie, but Rickaby was doing quite well against the dangerous Mitten.


Ronnie Allen, Albion's danger man was being well held by Jim Taylor and it was full back Millard who suddenly raced upfield to get in Albion's first shot at goal which went about a yard wide. Allen was injured and changed places with Lee for a while.

Ryan then shot against a post, and when Griffin lobbed the ball back into the middle it was only cleared with difficulty. Albion looked likely to score at any moment now and when 18 year old Bill Dodgin, son of the Fulham manager, slipped - Grffin ran past him and pushed the ball to Lee, who was unmarked but the winger shot wide. HT 0-0.


After only twenty three seconds of the second half Fulham took the lead. Bowie crossed the ball from the right and Barlow in an effort to turn the ball for a corner only succeeded in heading into his own net like a rocket. Heath then saved well from Stevans and then pushed over a fierce drive from Bowie, before Jeff Taylor added a second just before the end.


SATURDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 1952

F.A. CUP FOURTH ROUND AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 0 LEYTON ORIENT 1 (Harris)

Merrick; Green, Martin; Badham (capt), Atkins, Warhurst;
Stewart, Smith, Briggs, Murphy, Wardle;Welton;

Welton; Evans, Banner; Blizzard, Aldous, Deverall;
Woan, Pacey, Harris, Brown (capt), Blatchford;

Referee:- B. J. Flanagan, Sheffield

Birmingham, lying second in the Second Division, faced Leyton Orient, who were ninth in the Third Division South. The visitors had already played seven cup game - three against non-league Gorleston, two against Wrexham and two against Everton who they beat convincingly 3-1 at Goodison Park in the third round.

Both teams changed colours, Blues playing in Albion's blue and white stripes and Orient in Arsenal's red and white. A large contingent of Orient supporters soon made themselves heard and hung a huge banner between two pillars of the stand. The visitors were the first to attack and after Woan had shot over the bar their giant forward Dennis Pacey, beat Green and sent in a glorious shot which Merrick pushed round the post.

                                                      shot over the bar.

Leyton's clever football kept Birmingham penned in their own half, but the home side gradually came more into the game, before Harris broke through on his own only for Ken Green, who played a grand game throughout, to come across and rob him at the last moment. Smith broke through in similar fashion for Birmingham but Banner was on hand to avert the danger.

Then after twenty six minutes play the Third Division side took the lead. Harris and Pacey broke through, passed to former Scottish international Tommy Brown who put it back to Harris and the centre forward put the ball into the net as Merrick threw himself forward. Amid great jubilation among their supporters Orient swept into the attack again and Merrick had to push a left foot shot from Brown over the bar.


After a spell of Leyton pressure, Green cleared to Stewart and from his pass Briggs sent across a powerful centre. Smith shot and Welton could only push the ball up into the air and the ball appeared to be dropping into the net until Banner dashed across and chested it clear. Leyton continued to defend for the rest of the game and thanks mainly to some splendid work by goalkeeper Welton and centre half Aldous they managed to hole out and progressed to the fifth round with their giant killer label still intact.


Orient's cup run came to an end in the fifth round when they lost 3-0 to Arsenal.