SATURDAY 2ND JANUARY 1954
LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL
WALSALL 0 NEWPORT COUNTY 1 (Graham)
Chilvers; Horne, Flavell; Dean, Bridgett, Green (capt);
Morris, Tarrant, Holding, Jones (G), Columbo;
Hughes; Haines, Hayward; Thomas, Wilcox (R) (capt), Witcomb;
Birch, Lucas, Saward, Graham, Wharton;
Referee:- A.A. Howlett, Swindon
The first game of the New Year brought Walsall down to earth again after their victory on Christmas Day.
Still firmly anchored at the bottom of the league, they faced a side containing several Welsh international players and a new signing in centre forward Saward from Cambridge United. Walsall replaced veteran goalkeeper Flack with local youngster Gordan Chilvers and continued with the experiment of playing ' hat trick hero' Holding at centre forward.
The morning's thick fog had cleared, but the ground soon became very muddy. Walsall started off well with moves down the right by Dean and Morris. Tarrant headed straight at Hughes from Morris's corner.
Columbo got in a shot but was well wide, another just skimmed the bar and a third was saved by Hughes with difficulty. After about half an hour Newport scored when Birch's centre was pushed out by Chilvers to Graham who banged it home.
Lucas, once with Swansea, was the inspiration of Newport with very accurate passes. Saward was having a hard first game against Bridgett and the other centre half Wilcox never let Holding get going. Jones and Tarrant both played well in midfield but could not get through Newport's packed defence. Hughes was very shaky in goal and did not look like an international player.
Newport's forwards were their strongest department. Morris was not quite up to his normal standard for the Saddlers and skipper Green did not have a very good game, although Dean and Flavell gave improved displays. Towards the end play became very rough and Lucas was guilty of the worst foul, not what you expect from a player-manager. Graham went off injured for a while but Newport were worthy winners in the end against a side which could not reproduce their second half showing on Christmas Day.
SATURDAY 9TH JANUARY 1954
F.A. CUP THIRD ROUND AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1 (Wilshaw) BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Rowley, Murphy)
Sims; Short, Pritchard; W.J. Slater, Shorthouse, Wright (capt);
Hancocks, Broadvent, Swinbourne, Wilshaw, Mullen;
Merrick; Hall, Green; Kinsey, Newman, Boyd (capt);
Astall, Murphy, Lane, Rowley and Govan;
referee:- B.M. Griffiths, Newport (Mon)
Following the transfer of their South African forward Ted Purdon to Sunderland, Blues brought in 17 year old centre forward Jack Lane. Smith and Warhurst were unfit for the visitors so National Serviceman Newman and inside forward Kinsey deputised, Boyd moving to left half. Goalkeeper Bert Williams was
Wolves only absentee and Nigel Sims deputised.
After a thaw and light rain the ground was very soft and both teams
got great cheers of welcome as they came onto the field. Wright won the toss and Wolves piled on the pressure from the start as befits the bookmakers 10-1 favourites to win the cup. They soon forced two corners on the left with the vivid orange coloured ball. Newman twice stopped Swinbourne with sliding tackles. Many passes went astray and it was difficult to control the ball.
After settling down Blues came more into the game and Govan showed he was going to be a lot of trouble for full back Short. After twelve minutes Wolves scored, Short's clearance was headed down to the left by Swinbourne for Wilshaw to crash the ball home off the crossbar. Two minutes later, to most people's surprise,
Blues equalised! Kinsey started it by passing to Peter Murphy, who put a marvellous through pass between the Wolves defenders for former Wolves junior Ken Rowley to run onto and crash home.
A fitting end to a remarkable come back by the former Wolves man. Wolves attacks were being repelled by Birmingham's strong defence - Merrick, Hall and Green all played very well and Wolves main attacking strength on the wings was unable to get going. Birmingham went all out for another goal and Murphy's shot was tipped over the bar by Sims. Then another forty yard effort by Boyd was pushed over by the Wolves goalkeeper.
Lane was trying very hard for the Blues, but seemed to inexperienced for a cup-tie of this nature. Then Mullen's shot hit the post and went out. Wright played a tremendous game pumping passes to the forwards. Hancocks had a good chance when put through but Merrick dived courageously at his feet and the ball ran clear. Swinbourne had the easiest chance so far but tried to place his shot which struck a post and rebounded. Half time 1-1.
In a hectic second half Broadbent was Wolves best forward, but Blues' defence, with skipper Len Boyd outstanding won the day. After sixty seven minutes Murphy scored following Astall's corner with a very fine shot. Eight minutes later Shorthouse was injured and had to go on the wing, Wright went to centre half and Wilshaw to left half. Hancocks wandered to no great effect. Wilshaw's smile on scoring the first goal had long gone when he trudged off the field, whereas Murphy was mobbed by overjoyed Blues' fans. The favourites had been knocked out in the third round!
THURSDAY 14TH JANUARY 1954
F.A. CUP THIRD ROUND REPLAY AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL
WALSALL 1 (Morris) LINCOLN CITY 1 (Finch) - after extra time. Attendance 15,000
Chilvers; Horne, Green (capt); Grubb, Bridgett, Tarrant;
Morris, Finlay, Flavell, Jones (G), Columbo;
Lowery; Green (H), Killin; Wright (capt), Emery, Owen;
Munro, McDowall, Graver, Dykes, Finch;
Referee:- Mr. A. Jones, Liverpool
A tremendous F.A. Cup replay in muddy conditions on a Thursday afternoon attracted a crowd of
15,000 which was Walsall biggest attendance since the 1948-49 season. The bottom club in division three south had held their second division opponents 1-1 in the first match at Sincil Bank on Saturday and given them the hope of being in the fourth round.
Thursday afternoon was somewhat inconvenient for a sixteen year old schoolboy. However myself and a friend who had an art lesson at school that afternoon, persuaded the teacher that we should go out for the afternoon on our bikes and draw a landscape picture for him. This indeed we did, in record time, with a distant view of the Walsall cooling towers (the biggest landmark we could find). Then we cycled off to Fellows Park arriving about half time. We propped our bikes against the perimeter fence and stood on the saddles to see over it.
At three quarter time we were admitted free and saw the end of normal time and half an hour's extra time.
The details of the first half are from the local press reports of the time. Both sides had to change because of a colour clash and Walsall turned out in royal blue shirts, white shorts and claret and blue socks. Lincoln were in white shirts and black shorts. Killin, a left back signed from Manchester United in 1952 was making his first appearance for City. Right back Dykes moved to inside left displacing Birch. Walsall were unchanged from the first match, with yet another full back tried at centre forward. This time it was the Worcestershire cricketer, Jack Flavell.
Lincoln's first two raids were stopped by Horne. The Lincoln defence seemed unsteady and Lowery saved from Columbo, who later headed into the side of the net from Morris's corner. Bridgett was troubled by prolific scorer Andy Graver, but Columbo managed to get in another shot as Walsall searched for the vital first goal. Lincoln defenders three times scrambled shots of the line. Killin was watching Morris closely, then McDowall missed an easy chance for Lincoln. It was end to end stuff and Flavell moving off side spoilt another home attack.
The Walsall keeper, Gordan Chilvers saved a terrific shot from Graver and then Columbo went close again at the other end. After twenty nine minutes Chilvers allowed Munro's low centre to slip away from him for Finch to score. Jones had a shot deflected by Green but then eight minutes later Walsall equalised to the delight of the crowd. This goal earned the club £40 from various benefactors. After saving a curling centre from danger man Columbo, Lowery was beaten when Morris tapped through the outside left's corner.
Walsall were now on top and Lincoln defended frantically, Jones was brought down in the penalty area - but no penalty. Columbo went close yet again, Horne was injured but recovered and Flavell again spoilt things by getting off side - oh for a proper centre forward rather than a full back in that position. H.T. 1-1.
Early in the second half Graver missed a fairly easy chance and then Dykes, after Graver had let the ball run to him, struck a post from a good position. Bridgett and Horne were outstanding in defence for Walsall, for whom Jones and Columbo combined very well and Morris alone of the twenty two player seemed to have stayed the pace which was very fast on the muddy surface.
Then Walsall should have scored twice, Flavell broke through but shot poorly at Lowery, then the Lincoln goalkeeper tipped Colmbo's shot over the bar. Then followed a punishing half hour of extra time with both teams exhausted by the heavy pitch. Findlay went close twice, he played very well. Flavell tried very hard, if only his shooting had been as good as his distribution. He was well supported by Grubb, playing out of position at wing half and Tarrant. The teams now face a very difficult second replay at Notts Forest next Monday.
(The second replay produced a chapter of accidents which saw Walsall lose the match 2-1 with no luck on their side at all. They started well and went ahead after only eight minutes with a goal from Finlay. Then things went wrong in a big way. First Holding, back at centre forward, stubbed his toe in the ground so severely after only twenty minutes, that although he hobbled back twice, he was unable to continue after half time. Soon after this disaster skipper Green tried to head back to the goalkeeper who had just changed position and gave away an own goal. Half-time 1-1.
With only ten men Walsall fought on but the final misfortune came in the seventy second minute when a corner kick threw them into confusion as the linesman made a gesture as if signalling the ball had gone out of play. The referee played on, Graver headed it goalwards and Green stopped it with his hand. Despite the Walsall protests the referee awarded a penalty and Whittle scored. A great effort by the Saddlers but everything went against them).
SATURDAY 16TH JANUARY 1954
LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 ARSENAL 2 (Logie, Lishman) Attendance 45,974
Williams; Short, Pritchard; W.J. Slater, Wright (capt), Flowers;
Hancocks, Broadbent, Swinbourne, Wilshaw, Mullen;
Kelsey; Wills, Wade; Dickson, Dodgin, Forbes;
Milton, Logie (capt), Holton, Lishman, Roper;
On last week's cup form a win for the Gunners was indicated and so it turned out. Shorthouse was unfit, so Wright moved to centre half and Williams returned in goal. There was the usual greeting of red and white balloons for Arsenal. Mullen got in two centres early on but was robbed by Milton when the ball came back to him. Flowers beat his man and got in a centre which Kelsey caught. Arsenal's first attack saw Logie give Milton a perfect pass and the winger raced past Pritchard easily but Williams saved his cross at the second attempt.
A similar move brought Arsenal's first goal when Holton took up position well out on the right.
Billy Wright believed him to be offside, but when Logie put a precision ball through, right back Short was seen to be playing him on. He cut inside and Logie had only to tap his centre into the net. Flowers then went through for Wolves and his fierce shot hit the bar and rebounded. With Milton cutting straight through the defence several times, only the heroic efforts of Wright prevented further goals.
In the second half it was now nearly all Wolves. Logie had to go off briefly and Hancocks had stitches put in his head. Williams saved another certain goal, diving at Holton's feet. Near the end with Logie limping on the wing, Roper broke away and Lishman, the former Walsall player, headed a second goal. Man of the match was Arthur Milton, closely followed by both goalkeepers. Forbes was also outstanding for the visitors and Flowers and Slater both gave good displays for Wolves. Wilshaw was the pick of the home forwards, but Wright never looked out of place at centre half and still continued to do the work of two men.