MONDAY 26TH APRIL, 1954
F.A. YOUTH CUP FINAL (Second leg) AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON
WOLVES YOUTH 0 MANCHESTER UNITED YOUTH 1 (Pegg pen) United won 5-4 on aggregate.
Sidebottom; Griffiths, Harris; Bolton, Timmins (capt), Fallon;
Round, Mason, Bonson, Murray, Cooper;
Hawksworth; Beswick, Rhodes; Colman, Harrop, McGuiness;
Littler, Edwards, Charlton, Pegg (capt), Scanlon;
Referee:- Mr H. Webb, Leeds
Wolves started this match as favourites, despite the visitors having several players already with first team experience. This was due to the fact that they had produced a tremendous display at Old Trafford last Friday and came away with a 4-4 draw. On paper United had the star names, notably Black Country lad Duncan Edwards, but they did not seem sure where best to play him. Normally a left half, he was in the programme as inside right, but actually played as a centre forward up front with Bobby Charlton in an inside forward role.
Edwards, who many locals thought should have signed for Wolves, was soon on track for goal, but tried to do too much on his own. United missed a good chance following a mis-kick by Timmins in front of goal, but the ball was scrambled away. Then outside left Albert Scanlon beat Griffiths with ease and sent in an acute shot just under the bar. Sidebottom, the Barnsley born goalkeeper, did well to push it over. Scanlon again broke through but this time shot over. Harris was doing well at left back for Wolves and one of his long range free kicks had United's defence worried.
Shortly before half-time a centre from the left came over and Timmins, Harris and Edwards all jumped for it. Timmins seemed to fear the worst and pushed the ball away with his hand. United's captain David Pegg, took the responsibility for the penalty and placed it well wide of the goalkeeper. Wolves attack never really got going, mainly because Mason was having a poor game. H.T. 0-1.
Wolves were determined to equalise, but Manchester's defence stood firm. Outstanding were centre half Harrop and Hawksworth in goal, who came out quickly to rob Bonson on several occasions. Bonson suffered from lack of support, otherwise Wolves might have equalised. In the first half there were two very thrilling incidents, when both Manchester full backs, in turn, kicked Bonson efforts off the line with the crowd yelling goal.
Mr Joe Richards, chairman of the Youth cup committee, presented the cup to David Pegg and plaques to all players. He said the game today was nothing like Friday's first leg thriller. Then Mr Arthur Drewry presented the Football League Championship to Billy Wright, captain of Wolves. Both Wright and manager Stan Cullis made short speeches. Then the President of the Birmingham League presented the Championship Shield to Billy Crook, captain of Wolves third team. A memorable season indeed at Molineux.
THURSDAY 29TH APRIL, 1954
LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL
WALSALL 1 (Tarrant) GILLINGHAM 1 (Sowden)
Baldwin; Fort. Green (capt); Morris, Russon, Tarrant;
Meek, Lewis, G. Allen, Davis, Colombo;
Rigg; Kiernan, Lewin; Boswell, Ayres, Forrester;
Scarth, Evans (W) capt., Morgan, Sowden, Long;
Referee:- J.B. Long, Watford.
The ground was very dry and dusty and both sides found the lively ball difficult to control. During the first half play was fairly even, but probably just in Gillingham's favour as a result of their superior passing and ball play. When it came to shooting both sides were just as bad as each other. Walsall's best chance came when Ken Lewis went through on the right and lobbed the ball in to amateur centre forward Allen, who had only to turn the ball into the net, but headed yards wide!
Sowden was outstanding in a Gillingham forward line which combined well. Long also did well against Walsall's inexperienced right back Fort. It has been a long season for Walsall's skipper Bill Green and he looked worn out. Half-time 0-0.
The second half was much better than the first, Walsall's attack was more lively with Davis moving to centre forward and Allen to inside left. Morris as ever, was trying his hardest but got involved in a scuffle, after which the referee cautioned Morgan for kicking at Baldwin while he was on the ground.
After sixty eight minutes Tarrant, who was playing much better than in the first half, broke through on his own. His shot was blocked by Lewin's chest but he ran on to the rebound and cracked the ball past Rigg.
Walsall seemed to be inspired by this goal and although Tarrant was injured and moved to outside left, with Colombo at left half, he got over several grand centres.
Davis tried hard, but missed two chances. Then Lewis shot brilliantly on the turn, but just over the bar. Meek go over several good centres, but they were wasted. Then five minutes from the end Gillingham broke away, the ball came to Sowden who tricked Russon and send in a shot from the edge of the area which Baldwin thought was going over, but it went into the top corner so Gillingham pinched a draw.
A sad season for the Saddlers, but the programme paid tribute to the regular supporters and said that the average gate was near the 10,000 mark which was extremely satisfactory and a source of encouragement for the future. That future will be decided at the end of May at the annual meeting of the Football league when Walsall hope they will once again be voted back into the league.
SATURDAY 1ST MAY, 1954
F.A. CUP FINAL AT WEMBLEY STADIUM (ON TELEVISION)
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 3 (Allen 2, 1 pen, Griffin) PRESTON NORTH END 2 (Morrison, Wayman)
Sanders; Kennedy, Millard (capt); Dudley, Dugdale, Barlow;
Griffin, Ryan, Allen, Nicholls, Lee;
Thompson; Cunningham, Walton; Docherty, Marston, Forbes;
Finney (capt), Foster, Wayman, Baxter, Morrison;
Referee:- Mr A.W. Luty, Leeds
After the usual community singing led by Arthur Caiger, the two team were present to Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Albion kicked off and Barlow put the ball through to Ryan whose pass was blocked, but rebounded to Lee who shot just three yards wide. Millard beat Finney for the ball in their first clash. Then Finney, the man Albion feared, went through twice only to be brought down by double tackles when about to centre. After nearly seven minutes, the first thrill came when Thompson dropped the ball while challenged by Allen, but soon recovered. Baxter ran through brilliantly shaking off Dudley's tackle, only to shoot wide. Then Wayman brilliantly hooked the ball back only for Baxter to shoot wide again. Docherty - Finney - Foster went the ball with brilliant passing. Then Walton had a roar from the crowd with a dash down the wing, only to run the ball out.
Millard brought down Finney for the first free kick of the game, then Allen and Lee had a good move down the left until Cunningham intercepted. The Preston full back taped a careless free kick towards Marston, who was robbed by the alert Nicholls. He was too slow to take advantage and in the end Walton cleared. Morrison fouled Dudley, then here was another brilliant Finney - Docherty - Foster move. Kennedy put the ball up the right wing and Nicholls brilliantly centred from the corner flag to Allen who headed into Thompson's arms.
Winger Lee came back to help Millard stop Finney, who was getting a wonderful service from Docherty. Morrison lobbed the ball just past a post and all Preston's forwards combined in a marvellous move until Finney could not control the ball and it went out. Then Walton came upfield to shoot well wide. The game than came alive with two goals in two minutes. First a mistake by Cunningham, trying to get the ball onto his left foot, had his clearance blocked by Lee who was quickly away and slipped the ball past Thompson for Allen to tap it home after twenty one minutes play.
A minute later Docherty got the ball on the right hand touchline and swung it across, up went Morrison and Dugdale, Morrison got their first, Sanders dived but the ball was in the net and Preston were level. Hand ball by Allen, Docherty to Finney blocked, back to Docherty, to Finney, to Docherty - down the centre to Wayman, whose brilliant hook shot is just touched over by Sanders, but the referee gave a goal kick.
Nicholls did well to get a shot in fromn Barlow's pas, then Ryan bustling along, passes to Allen, to Nicholls, but Walton intervenes. Then a Nicholls-Allen move on the left saw Allen with a clear shot but Thompson advanced to block it. Docherty - Finey - Foster again earn a corner. Then Docherty is winded by Allen. Ryan puts the ball down the centre. Thompson just beats Allen to it. Dugdale playing well at centre half for Albion, clears well, but Cunningham heads it back again. Allen goes up for a Ryan cross with Thompson and the goalkeeper is injured and needs attention.
Sanders, in the Albion goal, hesitated and did not come out, Dugdale has to concede a corner. Morrison sends in a dangerous inswinger with the wind, but well held by Sanders. Both teams are threatening to score and after Finney beats two men, Dugdale has to rob Foster. Allen hanging back, picks up the ball on half way to start another move which ends when Walton brings down Griffin. Dudley took the free kick but it was cleared.
The first offside did not come until the thirty seventh minute and Preston were the offenders. Kennedy, playing out of position at right back showed signs of nerves by slicing the free kick into touch. Both sides had changes before the interval, Allen's shot was blocked after a good move and then Barlow made a vital tackle as Finney cut in on goal. Kennedy headed out a Finney cross and Docherty shot over the bar before Wayman laid on another chance for Finney, but he too shot wide. Half time 1-1.
Barlow started the second half with a thirty yard back pass to Sanders. Then Ryan lofted the ball in but Thompson grabbed it from Nicholls eager head. Finney had a run, but put the ball out. He was certainly not getting much change out of Len Millard. After fifty two minutes came a controversial goal. The ball was pushed up the middle by Foster to Wayman and all Albion's defenders paused and appealed for off side, but Wayman went on, dribbled round Sanders and scored. So 2-1 to Preston.
Kennedy sent a high ball across, Nicholls missed it and was off side. Finney got a corner, but Sandrs caught it well. Dudley threw in to Ryan, who lobbed it goalwards, but Marston brushed Allen off the ball. Forbes who was doing sterling work in the Preston defence had to receive attention. Then Barlow's long pass struck Docherty on the head and Preston's trainer, Jimmy Milne, was on the field again. After hands by Millard, Finney's free kick rebounded to Foster whose powerful shot was well saved by the diving Sanders.
Then a run by left winger Lee led to the Albion equaliser, he pulled the ball back from the goal line to Barlow who ran through and Docherty brought him down for a clear penalty. The referee delayed matters by asking Ronnie Allen to replace the ball on the penalty spot, but he kept cool and hit the ball into the net. Thompson diving to his right, managed to touch the ball but couldn't keep it out. 2-2 with all to play for!
Nicholls left the field for attention but was soon back. Morrison headed over from Finney's corner in a rare North End attack. Albions's full backs joined in the attack, when Millard beat Finney yet again he dashed up the wing, but fell and Docherty cleared. Another long pass from Barlow helped Allen force another corner but Docherty cleared yet again.
With only minutes remaining Preston got back into the action again, Foster's shot sailed over the bar, Finney ran the ball dead yet again, then Sanders tipped over a long centre from Wayman on the left as Foster dashed in. Sanders was now in continuous action, dropping Morrison's cross but recovering before Wayman could get to it. Then he was out of position but made a brilliant leap to save from Foster.
Millard and Barlow played the ball away with clever short passing and Albion were suddenly down the other end again. Allen put in a typical effort, trapping a throw in from Griffin and blazing a shot across goal from fully thirty five yards. With only seconds remaining another move down the right brought Albion the winning goal.
Kennedy pushed the ball through to Ran, who hesitated and then suddenly hit the ball to Griffin as he cut into the penalty are from the right. He ran on and hit the ball into the corner of the net from a narrow angle. 3-2 to Albion!
Seconds to go, Barlow took two throw-ins, Griffin screwed the ball wide. Then it was all over and Albion were taking the cup back to the Black Country. Celebrations for a team that had played wonderful football all season and only injuries towards the end probably robbed them of the double. Disappointment for Preston who put up a good performance, particularly for the great Tom Finney who was virtually played out of the game by Albion's local lad skipper Len Millard