Thursday, 29 December 2016

1955-56 - Part two

Posted by Tony Hutton


WEDNESDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Brown, Astall) ASTON VILLA 2 (Merrick og, Baxter)

Merrick; Hall, Badham; Boyd (capt), Smith, Warhurst;
Astall, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan;

Jones; Lynn, Aldis; Baxter, Martin, Crowe;
Southren, Dixon, Hickson, Moss (A), McParland;

Referee:- H.J. Husband, London



This was a very entertaining game, much better than the goal less draw at Villa Park earlier in the season. The excitement started after twenty one minutes when Badham took the ball upfield before passing down the wing to Govan, who sent a very hard cross across goal which Jones seemed to be waiting for, but suddenly centre forward Eddie Brown dashed in and jumped to head the ball into the net like a rocket. After a recent spell of missed chances Brown was so delighted he did another, even higher, leap in the air.


Immediately afterwards Murphy drew Martin and pushed the ball through to Brown, who with only Jones to beat, pushed the ball against the post. Villa retaliated strongly and McParland running at full speed forced Merrick to push his header over the bar. Then a minute before half time, Villa equalised with an extraordinary goal. McParland squared the ball to Southren whose low shot beat Merrick's dive and hit the post. The ball rebounded, hit Merrick's back and rolled slowly into the net. Half time 1-1.

                                            Birmingham City 1955-56

In the sixty seventh minute Birmingham once more went ahead. Govan lobbed the ball to Murphy, who hooked it upwards, Martin slipped as he nodded the ball only to Astall who volleyed the ball past Jones. It was only two minutes later when Villa equalised again, Southren took the ball down the right and swung across a low centre before Badham tackled him, Baxter running in hit the ball first time into the net from twelve yards.


Villa do not seem to be able to get their formation right, Dave Hickson, the recent signing from Everton, does not yet fit into the team's style of play and Amos Moss, although showing some nice touches, is not the answer to the inside forward problem.



SATURDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 0 BOLTON WANDERERS 2 (Lofthouse 2)

Jones; Lynnk Aldis; Baxter, Martin, Crowe;
Southren, Dixon, Hickson, Moss (A), McParland;

Grieves; Hartle, Banks; Wheeler, Barrass, Edwards;
Holden, Stevens, Lofthouse, Parry, Birch;

Refereree:- F.B. Coultas, Hull

Bolton brought in 17 year old Brian Birch, whose only previous appearance was against Villa on September 25th at Bolton. Soon after the start the referee went lame, after attention from both trainers he carried on for a few seconds before going off. Linesman E.G. Finning took over with Bolton's 12th man, Eric Oldham, running the line.

Parry was soon prominent in early Bolton raids. Dixon sent two defenders the wrong way, but delayed his shot and the chance was gone. From a Southren corner Moss got in a fine header which went just wide.
After twenty three minutes Birch passed to Parry who had moved out to the wing, Lofthouse rose high above two Villa defenders to head his centre into the net.


The referee returned to run the line mid-way through the first half. McParland came nearest to scoring for Villa, goalkeeper Grieves, the Lancashire cricketer, watching the ball thinking it was going wide, but to his surprise it hit the post. Then Jones made a terrific save from another Lofthouse header.


Mr Coultas, the referee, resumed his duties in the second half. Villa's forwards were very disappointing, hardly anything went right for them. After seventy four minutes Bolton clinched the match, when Stevens, who was always prominent, took a pass from Holden, ran along the bye line, before lobbing it across for Lofthouse  to go down and head it in for another splendid goal.

It was a tale of two centre forwards, one who can't score a goal (Hickson) and another who can't stop scoring (Lofthouse).



SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

WALSALL 2 (Love 2) NORWICH CITY 0

Chilvers; Haddington, Vinall; Dorman (capt), McPherson, Crook;
Morris, Dews, Richards, Love, McLaren;

Oxford; McCrohan, Norman; Pickwick, Foulkes, Ashman (capt);
Chung, Gordon, Hunt, Brennan, Coxon;

Referee:- Mr Alf Bond, London

Walsall were back in their usual precarious position next to bottom of the league. After thirteen games they had won only two, with three draws and eight defeats. Only Swindon Town were below them. Visitors Norwich had former Walsall centre-half Reg Foulkes, a great favourite at Fellows Park, and Irish international Bobby Brennan, ex-Fulham, at inside left. Walsall tried a new look forward line with former Plymouth man, and Worcestershire cricketer, George Dews at inside right and the former Forest pair, John Love and Hugh McLaren former the left wing partnership.

Dorman was obviously going to give the lively Morris a lot of the ball and the winger made the most of it.
Following a throw in Morris sent over a perfect centre and Love, waiting near the far post, dived full length to head the first goal. Dews had a good chance for Walsall but shot straight at Oxford, who then dived at Richards' feet to save a certain goal - injuring himself in the process.

It was all Walsall up to the interval, Chilvers only having to save one header from Hunt. Dorman beat two men and got in a fierce shot with his left foot when tackled by a third defender, but Oxford again went full length to save. Half time 1-0.

Norwich forced two quick corners at the start of the second half, the first was headed off the line by Haddington, who was doing very well as Guttridge's deputy, and from the second Chilvers saved a header by Gordon. McPherson on his return to the team following injury gave a great display and Vinall

After Richards headed the ball down Dews shot against Oxford as he advanced. Then after seventy six minutes, Vinall took a free kick which landed in a group of players just inside the area. It was partially cleared, but Love pounced on the ball and hooked it high into the corner of the net. Finally Richards headed against the bar and Love with a hat trick beckoning shot over from point blank range. Nevertheless an excellent two points for the Saddlers.



SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM

ASTON VILLA 4  (Dixon 2, Hickson, Saward)
Jones; Lynn, Aldis; Crowe, Moss (A) capt, Baxter;
Southren, Dixon, Hickson, Saward, McParland;

MANCHESTER UNITED 4 (Blanchflower, Webster, Pegg 2) 
Wood; Foulkes, Byrne (capt); Whitefoot, Jones, McGuiness;
Berry, Blancflower (J), Taylor, Webster, Pegg;

Referee:- Mr. G. McCabe, Sheffield 

 

Villa, whose forwards had not scored a goal since the first minute of their game with Huddersfield Town on September 3rd, introduced Pat Saward, a summer signing from Milwall, at inside left. This was Dave Hickson's eighth game for Villa since being signed from Everton and he had not yet scored for them. Villa are struggling near the bottom of the league table with only eight points from twelve games, whereas United are joint top with fifteen points together with Blackpool and West Bromwich Albion. Villa lost 1-0 away to neighbours Albion and this was their third defeat in a row.

United had a great 4-3 win over Wolves last week in which centre half Mark Jones came upfield to head the winning goal in the very last minute. They continued with 17 year old schoolboy international Wilf McGuiness at left half as deputy for Duncan Edwards.

McParland raced down the centre of the field in Villa's first attack but was easily stopped by Mark Jones. Then United got going. Taylor, lying deep in the inside left position, found Berry out on the right wing. He lost it but Pegg, who had moved over to the right, regained possession and lobbed it into the middle. Keith Jones, the Villa goalkeeper, could only push the ball out to Jackie Blanchflower who shot first time, just as he was tackled, and the ball went narrowly over the bar. A delightful movement.

Another right wing attack had Villa in trouble again, the ball ran to Webster who shot past Jones as he came out, Lynn then kicked off the line but only straight to Pegg, who crossed to Berry and the the former Blues man shot wide. Following this period of United pressure Villa broke away and scored! Crowe brought the ball down the right wing and then pushed a perfect pass through for Dixon to take in his stride and hit a glorious shot into the far corner of the net after just sixteen minutes play.

                                 Johnny Dixon scores Villa's first goal from two different angles.


This goal inspired Villa who were now playing with great confidence and skill. Seven minutes later they scored another. Hickson's pass was stopped by Whitefoot, but as he attempted to clear Saward rushed in and deflected the ball to McParland. The Irishman's centre was deflected again, this time by Mark Jones, to Dixon who immediately hit it first time into the corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. 2-0.

Two minutes later United reduced the Villa lead. The Villa defence appeared to have cleared the ball when Blanchflower suddenly ran onto it about thirty yards out and hit a low hard shot past Keith Jones. With still only half an hour gone United were level. Taylor sent a long pass from just inside the Villa half out to Berry, on the right and the little winger worked his way through the middle, evading tackles with amazing ease and pushed a delightful through pass to Webster who ran on and crashed it into the net. 2-2.

Soon afterwards Webster went off the field to receive attention to a leg injury. While he was off Berry again dribbled through the centre this time drawing Lynn out of position before giving the ball to the unmarked Pegg for him to drive it right footed into the net. So after being two goals down United now led 3-2. Webster returned at outside left until half time allowing David Pegg to wander over to the right where he dribbled along the goal line and then Keith Jones pushed it out straight to Taylor, who amazingly lifted it over the bar from five yards out. Half time 2-3.


Pegg, who was always in the game, gave Webster a glorious chance from close range but he too unaccountably skied the ball yards over the bar. Villa came a little more into the game and were being brilliantly prompted by the two wing halves Crowe and Baxter. Saward went through the middle and put the ball in the net, but was adjudged to have fouled a defender. The referee ordered the free kick to be retaken a few yards further back and goalkeeper Wood side footed the ball to Roger Byrne standing just outside the penalty area. Instead of giving the ball back to his goalkeeper as expected, Byrne advanced upfield for a few yards before hitting a very long ball down the left wing perfectly placed for Pegg to outpace the defence and shoot into the far corner of the net. A really grand goal and so simply executed. So after fifty four minutes United now deservedly led 4-2.


Six minutes late in this all action game Villa started their fight back. Dixon raced down the right, crossed to McParland whose shot was pushed out by Wood, but Hickson running in at speed slammed it into the roof of the net via the underside of the crossbar. A great cheer greeted the centre forward's first ever goal for Villa which had taken so long to come/

An even greater roar greeted Villa's equaliser four minutes later. Dixon pushed the ball out to Southren and the winger's centre was turned into the net by Saward standing by the far post. 4-4 and Villa were now going all out for the winner. Wood couldn't quite reach a Dixon cross and Hickson headed towards the empty goal. He was already turning to receive his colleagues congratulations for the winning goal, when Saward suddenly dived full length and headed the ball wide of the post in trying to make sure!


Hickson by now in full cry sent in a magnificent drive which was brilliantly saved on the line by Ray Wood just before the end of an action packed game. So it ended all square. Any other result would have been unfair to two teams who gave a really memorable performance.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

1955-56 - Part one

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 13TH AUGUST 1955

WALSALL F.C. PRACTICE MATCH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

REDS 2 (Tarrant 2 pens) BLUES 1 (Walsh)                  Attendance 6,398

Reds:- Chilvers; Guttridge, Vinall; Crook (capt), McPherson, Tarrant;
Morris, Dorman, Walsh, Love, McLaren;

Blues:- Davies; Haddington (capt), Watson; Dyas, Jones, Gallier;
Taylor, Davidson, Richards, Hill, Moore;

Referee:- H. Wootton, Walsall

Davidson from Alloa showed some clever ball control in the early stages. Walsh and McLaren, two other newcomers, also impressed although not trying too hard. After thirty seven minutes Watson punched a shot from Walsh over the bar. Tarrant mis-kicked the penalty, but Haddington had moved into the area. The kick was re-taken and this time Tarrant scored. Two minutes before half time Walsh was brought down and Tarrrant again scored from the spot. Half time 2-0.

Humphries replaced Richards for the second half and to confuse the spectators both forward lines swapped sides, except for Davidson and Love. Davidson and McLaren got in some nice moves together and both went near to scoring. After seventy two minutes, Walsh (now playing for the Blues) cut in from the left and scored with a nice shot. Beddow came on in the second half when Watson was injured.

Hopes are high at Fellows Park for the new season, after having to apply for re-election for the last four seasons, after the signing of almost a complete new team. The new signings are Davies, Haddington and Gallier, all from West Bromwich Albion, Dyas from non-league Hednesford (who looks very promising), Jones an amateur centre half from Shropshire, Walsh, the Irish international from Aston Villa, McLaren from Notts Forest and Sammy Moore from Wolves. Two other youngsters were given a chance, 17 year old full back Watson who impressed today, as did young winger Brian Taylor.


SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

WALSALL 0 LEYTON ORIENT 2 (Woosnam, Morgan)                Attendance 18,706

Chilvers; Guttridge, Vinall; Crook (capt), McPherson, Gallier;
Morris, Dorman, Walsh, Davidson, McLaren;

Welton; Lee, Charlton; Blizzard, Aldous (capt), McKnight;
Groves, Woosnam, Rees, Morgan, Hartburn;

Referee:- A.W. Luty, Leeds.

Walsall's old failings soon became apparent and the 'new team' was a big disappointment to the large crowd which turned out for the start of the new season. Orient, however, played brilliant football with Vic Groves outstanding. Walsh wasted a good chance when clean through by delaying his shot and giving Lee time to race across and clear. Chilvers then threw the ball straight to the feet of McKnight, but Crook was able to head his shot for a corner. Hartburn's flag kick went across to the Welsh amateur internation Phil Woosnam
who promptly drove it into the net after thirty four minutes. Half time 0-1.

In the second half the interchanging of Groves and Woosnam had the Walsall defence bewildered and after Groves had turned the ball across goal, out of Chilvers hands, Rees pushed it to Morgan, a former Walsall player, who crashed it home.

The powerful Orient defence kept a firm grip on the Walsall forward line throughout the game and little was seen of the two new signings Walsh and McLaren, Gallier had a disappointing debut against a very fine right wing pair.


WEDNESDAY 24TH AUGUST, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 (Kevan 2) EVERTON 0

Sanders; Howe, Millard (capt); Dudley, Kennedy, Barlow;
Griffin, Carter, Kervan, Nicholls, Lee;

O'Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell (capt), Jones, Lello;
Wainwright, Fielding, Hickson, Lewis, Eglington;

Albion were without right back Stuart Williams and centre forward Ronnie Allen, both injured against Wolverhampton on Saturday. Everton also had two injured players missing in left back Donovan and their chief goal scorer inside left Parker. The Everton deputies both had limited experience of first team football, but Albion introduced two young players to League football, Donald Howe, aged 19 at full back and Derek Kevan the 20 year old centre forward who Vic Buckingham signed from his previous club Bradford Park Avenue.

In the first minute of the game Howe was in trouble with a poor pass back, Eglington, the Irish international, darted in and crossed the ball to Wainwright who lobbed it to Hickson, just to the right of goal. He drove hard to Sanders right, but the goalkeeper, continuing his fine display against Wolves, leapt to save. After this rather nerve racking start Howe settled down and continued to play the experienced Eglington out of the game.

Kennedy dominated the centre of the field, so despite all Everton's beautiful approach play, the defence was rarely extended. Kevan had a poor first half as could well have been foreseen with two inside forwards whose main attributes are goal scoring rather than being of any constructive value. Half time 0-0.

Seven minutes after the interval, following a corner on the right, Griffin and Lee provided an opening which left Kevan the easy task of beating O'Neil  from six yards out. This goal seemed to shake Everton as their cool, systematic approach play of the first half vanished. Three minutes before the end Kevan pivoted just twenty yards out and coolly drove the ball into the net for this second goal to clinch a fairly easy victory for Albion.


THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST, 1955

BIRMINGHAM LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

WALSALL RESERVES 0 BILSTON TOWN 1 (Swift)

Chilvers; Beddow, Watson; Dyas, Jones, Billingham;
Harrison, Shepherd, Gallier (capt), Peach, Taylor;

Harris; Price, Wright (capt); Foster, Wakeman, Pearson;
Smith, Swift, Kirkham, Crowther, Whittall;

As fifteen players had travelled 'down south' for the matches with Brighton and Torquay, Walsall fielded a very young side. Half way through the first half Bilston were awarded a penalty when Billingham handled the ball. Wright's kick hit Chilvers' leg and bounced clear. Shepherd hit the bar for Walsall, but Bilston's stronger and more experienced team were on top. Half time 0-0.

Swift eventually scored the winning goal from close range following a perfect through pass by 'Nodder' Kirkham'. Billingham was the pick of Walsall's rather youthful side.


MONDAY 29TH AUGUST 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT BLOOMFIELD ROAD, BLACKPOOL

BLACKPOOL 1 (Taylor) BURNLEY 1 (Pilkington)

Farm; Shimwell, Wright; Fenton, Gratrix, Kelly (capt);
McKenna, Taylor, Mortenson, Mudie, Perry;

McDonald; Rudman, Winton; Adamson (capt), Cummings, Shannon;
Gray, Stephenson, McIlroy, Cheeseborough, Pilkington;

This game was of a very poor standard. There were far too many aimless passes and ballooning of the ball seemed to be the only ambition of defenders. The strong, bustling Perry was Blackpool's best forward. Gratrix, deputising for Harry Johnston, played a strong game at centre half and Hugh Kelly was the best footballer on the field.

Mortenson seems to have lost most of his old skill,but still retains some of his speed and a fierce shot which worried the Burnley defence at times. For Burnley, whose strong point is defence, Shannon and Adamson played thoughtful and constructive football at times and the rest of the defence was solid, even if McDonald did occasionally panic by dropping the ball..

The forward line made up of small, tricky players, seemed to be experimenting with a deep playing centre forward (McIlroy). This was not successful, with the result that the Irish international had a poor game and was not able to show his obvious talent as much as he does at inside right.

Pilkington was just about the pick of the Burnley forwards. He scored Burnley's goal on the stroke of half time when left unmarked as the ball came across to him on the right. Ernie Taylor equalised for Blackpool five minutes from the end of an undistinguished match.



 WEDNESDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (Jackson) NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 (Davies)

Sanders; Williams, Millard (capt); Dudley, Kennedy, Barlow;
Griffin, Nicholls, Kevan, Jackson, Lee;

Thompson; Lackenby, McMichael; Scoular (capt), Brennan, Casey;
Milburn, Davies, White, Hannah, Mitchelll;

Referee:- K.A. Collinge, Sale

Albion started on the attack, but it soon became apparent that the enthusiastic Kevan was no replacement for the brilliance of Allen who is still out injured. After twenty seven minutes Newcastle went ahead, with a goal reminiscent of Milburn's first minute effort in last season's cup final. This time Milburn floated over a corner from the right and Reg Davies, the Welshman, unmarked, go up to head the ball via the underside of the crossbar into the back of the net.

Newcastle continued to play some very attractive football, Hannah and Mitchell were often too elaborate, but both seemed to be able to beat a man at will. Mitchell several times broke through, but instead of having a shot, squared the ball across goal. Davies, although scoring, had a quiet game, Len White chased everything but didn't get far against the cool Kennedy. Milburn, tall, fast and elegant on the right , provided a direct contrast to the left wing pair.

Scoular had a very good game, moving into the open space like a true Hungarian, drawing his men and at the last  possible moment, flicking the ball with the outside of his foot. Brennan, at centre half, played Kevan out of the game, with a true 'Rock of Gibraltar' display. McMichael used his left foot unceasingly and Casey had a quietly efficient game. Lackenby and Thompson, the two young reserves  both had good games, particularly Thompson who made many good saves.


Davies missed a great chance of scoring again, he broke through and with only Sanders to beat, lobbed it weakly into the goalkeeper's hands. For the Albion 17 year old Alec Jackson was the pick of the forwards, making Lee run on to splendidly judged passes. His great moment came five minutes from time, pushing the ball to Lee, who crossed it, Casey pushed it away only as far as Griffin, who put it back into the middle for Jackson to flash onto and blast it into the net.


Just previously Frank Brennan ruffled the youngster's hair, when running at full speed he gathered a long centre from Nicholls and grazed the post with his shot. However, after Jackson's goal, White attempted to dribble round Sanders, well wide of goal, and the keeper pulled him down. While White received attention from the trainer a discussion ensued as Mitchell had missed the last two penalties for United. Hannah eventually took the kick only for Sanders to make a fine save holding the ball just to his left.

Nicholls, a regular goal scorer for Albion, seemed to be trying harder with the constructive side of his game, but he has a long way to go to reach the standard of the much missed Ronnie Allen, Nice touch at the end of the game when Frank Brennan waited at the tunnel to congratulate young Jackson.


SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT MOLINEUX, WOLVERHAMPTON

WOVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 4 (Swinbourne 3, Slater) HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0

Williams; Stuart, Shorthouse; Slater, Wright (capt), Clamp;
Hancocks, Broadvent, Swinbourne, Booth, Mullen;

Mills; Gibson, Conwell; McGarry (capt), Taylor, Quested;
Marriott, Watson, Glazzard, Cavanagh, Metcalfe;

Referee:- F.H. Gerrard, Preston


Wolves fresh from an amazing 9-1 win away at Cardiff last week, when both Swinbourne and Hancocks scored three goals, faced Huddersfield Town, whose manager Andy Beattie resigned last week.

In a remarkable start, Huddersfield nearly scored twice in the first minute, but then in the first Wolves attack Swinbourne scored after only ninety seconds. Stuart headed to Hancocks, who put it out to Booth and his through pass enabled Swinbourne to run in from the right wing to beat Mills from a narrow angle.


 Wright blocked a shot from Marriott on the line and then Clamp went trough on his own and his shot was blocked. So were two more before the ball ran to Swinbourne who drove it into the net from eight yards. So Wolves were already two up after eleven minutes, continuing their scoring form of last week. After twenty three minutes they almost got a third when Booth headed what looked like a fine goal, but he was given offside. Just before the interval Williams threw himself across goal to catch a shot from Metcalfe. HT 2-0.


Little was seen of Hancocks who was followed all over the field by Conwell. Gibson did not look particularly safe but Yorkshire cricketer, Ken Taylor stuck to his hard task well. McGarry was the better of two fine wing halves and Marriott and Metcalfe were Town's most effective forwards. Williams made yet another miraculous save from a shot by Watson. Although unsighted until the last moment, the England goalkeeper threw himself sideways to save.

After Booth had been prominent in several Wolves attacks, Williams again dived to catch a good header from Jimmy Glazzard. At last with only two minutes to go Swinbourne completed his hat trick. Mullen put him through, he waltzed around Taylor and picked his spot. Then on the stroke of time ?Salter having the ball pushed back to him on the touchline, following a throw in, dribbled at half speed round two players before calmly placing the ball past Mills.



SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER, 1955 

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (Nicholls) BURNLEY 0

Sanders; Williams, Millard (capt); Dudley, Kennedy, Barlow;
Griffin, Nicholls, Allen, Hodgkisson, Lee;

McDonald; Rudman, Winton; Adamson, Cummings, Shannon;
Gray, Burke, McKay, Cheeseborough, Pilkington;

Referee:- S.H. Rogers, Shrewsbury


At the last minute, Burnley's Irish international Jimmy McIlroy was unable to play and Burke was given his first chance in league football. Allen on his return to the Albion team after injury certainly livened up the attack, although the old, perfect understanding with Nicholls was not much in evidence. Hodgkisson, although a trifle slow, showed some nice touches and he started the move which led to the only goal of the game.

Kennedy once more dominated the centre, although his task was made easier when McKay, Burnley's small, but clever centre forward was injured. Burnley's two wingers were prominent, Gray often racing back to help the defence and Pilkington beating Stuart Williams on many occasions. As at Blackpool the Burnley attack lacked punch. Hodgkisson started the move which led to Albion's goal by passing to Allen who slipped a lovely pass for Nicholls to run onto and score



Sunday, 18 December 2016

The big match 5, FA Cup Final Man City v Newcastle

Posted by Tony Hutton

Two weeks before my eighteenth birthday I set off by train from Birmingham to London, with my precious F.A. Cup Final ticket in my wallet. I had won it in a draw for two tickets given to my company soccer team by the Birmingham Amateur Football Association. One ticket went to a former player and the other to a current player. On the way to Wembley for the first time, I stopped off at Lord's cricket ground for a couple of hours to see Middlesex playing Derbyshire before catching the tube from St John's Wood to Wembley.

SATURDAY 7TH MAY, 1955

F.A. CUP FINAL AT WEMBLEY                               Attendance 100,000

NEWCASTLE UNITED 3 (Milburn, Mitchell, Hannah)

Simpson; Cowell, Batty; Scoular (capt), Stokoe, Casey;
White, Milburn, Keeble, Hannah, Mitchell;

MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Johnstone)

Trautmann; Meadows, Little; Barnes, Ewing, Paul (capt);
Spurdle, Hayes, Revie, Johnstone, Fagan;

Referee:- R.J. Leafe, Nottingham


Newcastle, making their third Cup Final appearance in five years, were considered by many people to be rather lucky to have got there this time. They had been taken to a replay in their last three cup matches, the final one against Third Division York City in the semi-final. Manchester City on the other hand had a clear run to Wembley and had beaten such distinguished opponents as Manchester United, Birmingham City and Sunderland. The Lancashire club however were handicapped by injuries to two of the forwards who played a great part in their earlier cup victories - Hart and Clark. Although the signing of Bobby Johnstone from Hibernian filled the gap caused by Hart's absence, it seemed likely that Welsh international Roy Clarke, who scored the vital goal against Sunderland in the semi-final, would be badly missed.


In perfect weather the two teams, Manchester in brilliant sky blue track suits, were presented to the Duke of Edinburgh before City kicked off. Here he is shaking hands with Dave Ewing with Don Revie on the extreme right.


Straight from the kick off, Milburn, operating in the unfamiliar position of inside right, was away with the ball and pushed it through to his winger Len White. Little slide-tackled him and sent the ball out for a corner.
White took the kick and there was Milburn, completely unchallenged, jumping high in the air to head the ball into the net via the underside of the cross bar after only fifty five seconds play!


Within minutes Manchester had a great chance to equalise when from a free kick taken by Fagan, Hayes amazingly shot wide from only a few yards out. Manchester with Revie in his now familiar role of mid-field schemer, were often caught in the Newcastle off side trap. Fagan showed the way to counter this unreliable mode of defence by running through on his own, but his final pass was badly placed.

Newcastle were giving the City defence very little respite and Trautmann was forced to make the first of many brilliant saves when his captain, Paul, very nearly headed into his own net when trying to clear a centre from White. Then in the nineteenth minute came the incident which possibly altered the whole course of the match and which virtually assured Newcastle of victory.

City's right back Jimmy Meadow went in to tackle Newcastle's clever outside left, Bobby Mitchell, who swerved past him only for Meadows to recover quickly and go in again. Mitchell cleverly avoided the tackle and Meadows went down injured. He had torn the ligaments of his knee and was helped from the field not to return.

Spurdle moved to right back, a job which few can have envied, as it meant opposing the elusive Mitchell  for the rest of the match. Manchester's four remaining forwards roamed and switched positions to such effect that Meadow's absence was scarcely noticeable for a while. But this handicap was bound to tell in the end and with Scoular, shorts hoisted high revealing powerful thighs, dominating the centre of the field and pushing through passes to White and Mitchell lying close to the touch lines, Newcastle kept Trautmann under almost constant pressure.


The blond German goalkeeper made a brilliant diving save from Keeble and then flung himself to the left to catch a hard shot with apparent ease. Johnstone was working very hard in the City forward line. He raced though from the half way line, beating man after man, but his final shot struck Simpson's body and was cleared. The little dark haired Scot was not to be denied however and shortly before the interval he scored a brilliant equaliser which set the crowd roaring.

Hayes picked up a lose ball on the right and sent across a low centre. There seemed little danger with the Newcastle defence in position, but suddenly Johnstone threw himself full length between two defenders and headed it into the net from just inside the penalty area. So at half-time the fighting ten men of Manchester were level. Half time 1-1.


Within quarter of an hour of the restart Newcastle led by three goals to one and the match was as good as over. The first goal came when a high centre from White was misjudged by the emergency full back, Spurdle, who allowed it to pass over his head leaving Mitchell with a simple task to score. This goal seemed to inspire Mitchell to even greater heights of brilliance. He broke through and tested Trautmann with a right foot shot and then Scoular half way inside the City half, well over to the right, pivoted and sent a glorious pass right to Mitchell's magic feet on the left wing.

With two effortless body swerves he sent two men the wrong way, dribbled in towards goal and pushed the ball into the centre, Trautmann dived out but could only palm the ball to Hannah, who steadied himself and cracked it into the corner of the net. Behind the goal which Trautmann endeavoured to defend was the huge open terrace with the solid mass of Newcastle supporters who could see now that the Cup was their's again.

The Blaydon Races swelled to a crescendo as Newcastle swept onto the attack again and gained a corner on the left. Someone was injured and a short delay occurred before it could be taken. Mitchell stood near the corner flag , hands on hips, and looked up at the terraces crammed with Geordies, he nodded his head to them and they answered as one man with a tremendous roar of appreciation.


And so the game continued with Manchester's gallant ten still fighting hard, but there was little interest left now and only Trautmann's splendid efforts to prevent a further Newcastle goal raised the volume of cheering.
Soon it was all over and Newcastle had won the cup for the third time in five years and by an unhappy coincidence in similar circumstances to their win over Arsenal in 1952 when their opponent's full back Wally Barnes was injured, in almost he same spot as Meadows, and also took no further part in the match.

Despite City's ill fortune however Newcastle must be given credit for the splendid football they played and it must not be forgotten that they already led by one goal when the incident occurred. Milburn, Mitchell and Cowell are therefore now the proud possessors of three cup winners medals, a record to make less fortunate players envious indeed. It is a tribute to their fine play and consistency over the years. For Cowell, although never much in the headlines, is one of the best full backs in the country and has been rather unlucky not to gain representative honours.

Milburn of course will probably be best remembered for his two brilliant goals in the final of 1951 against Blackpool, but his vital goal in the first minute of this match will be remembered also even if only for the rarity of a headed goal by this fast and elegant player. This game was probably Mitchell's finest hour, a player whose game varies between the brilliant and the mediocre, his ball control and body swerve match that of Stanley Matthews, when at his best.


The Cup was presented to Jimmy Scoular by the Queen and the tough little Scot followed by his team ran down to the far end of the ground to show the shining trophy to their delighted supporters. A special cheer for Bert Trautmann as he was presented with his losers medal and the City team walked slowly from the arena followed eventually by the victorious Newcastle side, leaving Scoular a loan figure, proudly holding the Cup before the ever present photographers.






























Saturday, 17 December 2016

Midlands Miscellany 1954-55 - Part four

Posted by Tony Hutton


SATURDAY 9TH APRIL, 1955                                Attendance 13,018

DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

WALSALL 4 (Richards 3, Dorman) QUEENS PARK RANGES 1 (Smith).

Chilvers; Guttridge, Vinall (capt); Ferriday, McPherson, Tarrant;
Webb, Richards, Dorman, Love, Morris;

Brown; Woods, Ingham (capt); Nicholas, Powell (M), Angell;
Pounder, Smith, Clark, Came4ron, Kerrins;

Facing a stiff breeze, Walsall kicked off up the slope. Rangers looked the more dangerous side in the early exchanges and Chilvers looked far from confident in his handling of the ball. Eventually Walsall got on top and began to show some of the form which they displayed when beating Northampton 6-1 last Monday.

Brown, the agile Rangers goalkeeper, made several good saves. After forty three minutes he could only beat out a shot from Richards and the Walsall centre forward  crashed the rebound into the net despite a desperate effort to save by Woods on the goal line. Half time 1-0.

Walsall started the second half with a grand move, Richards putting Love away through the centre. The inside left shot on the run put Brown again saved well. Richards had the massive Powell in trouble every time and after fifty six minutes an overhead kick by the centre forward sent Dorman racing through to crash a terrific shot into the far corner of the net.

Kerrins left the field or a few minutes with a cut head and returned just in time to see Richards score Walsall's third goal from a centre by Webb. Ingham was proving to be Rangers best defender and their best forward Conway Smith scored after eighty two minutes. Richards was not finished yet however and completed his hat trick two minutes from the end following a pass from Love.


MONDAY 11TH APRIL, 1955

LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT THE HAWTHORNS, WEST BROMWICH

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 (Griffin, Lee) MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Spurdle)

Sanders; Williams, Millard (capt); Dudley, Kennedy, Brooks;
Griffin, Carter, Allen, Barlow, Lee;

Trautmann; Meadows, Litle; Barnes, Ewing, Paul (capt);
Spurdle, Jonstone, Revie, Hayes, Fagan;

Referee:- H. Beacock, Scunthorpe

Manchester City, already assured of a place in the Cup Final and with an outside chance of winning the league Championship as wee, showed that their eyes are on the Cup and nothing else. They strolled through this match playing well within themselves and obviously not risking further injuries as already  Clarke and Hart are out of the reckoning for Wembley.

They still managed to provide good entertainment however and the midfield triangle of Banes, Paul and Revie, played delightful football. Spurdle who has come into the team in place of Clarke, with Fagan moving to the left, scored their only goal.

Both Albion's goals were scored by their winger4s. Griffin who scored the last minute winner against Preston at Wembley last year had scored only three in thirty appearances so far this season, bu this was Lee's thirteenth, making him second highest scorer behind Allen. The Albion centre forward was unlucky not to add to his total of twenty three goals in this game when he hit the bar with a brilliant lob.

Outstanding in the Albion defence were Brookes, Kennedy and Williams. Brookes, the short stepping, powerfully built wing half looks a fine prospect and Williams who has taken over the right back position from Rickaby looks like making it his own. Kennedy is back to his best form and there seems little prospect of Dugdale, who played so well in Albion's cup run last season, getting back into the side.


WEDNESDAY 20TH APRIL 1955                      Attendance 36,000

LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT ST ANDREWS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Murphy 2, 1 pen) LUTON TOWN 1 (Turner)

Schofield; Hall, Badham; Boyd (capt), Newman, Watts;
Lane, Kinsey, Brown, Murphy, Govan;

Baynham; Dunne, Ahearne; Pemberton, Owen (capt), Shanks;
Davies, Turner, Morton, Cummins, Groves;

Referee:- Mr. A.E. Ellis, Halifax

With this win, over close promotion rivals, Birmingham move up into third place in the table just one point behind leaders Blackburn and Leeds United  but with a game in hand. Though level on points with Rotherham, Luton and Stoke, Birmingham have by far the better goal average and have a game in hand on both Luton and Stoke.

Birmingham were soon in the lead and what a brilliant goal it was. Kinsey, the arch schemer, slipped a beautiful ball though to Murphy just inside the Luton half and the inside left ran on to it, beat Owen, and crashed the ball into the net. The home side were really in top gear now and continued to press strongly against a defence that was strangely prone to panic for a side so high in the table.

However Luton were the next to score when Hall and Newman hesitated and left the ball to each other. Turner, always on the look out for a chance, raced up and gave Schofield no chance. Half time 1-1.

Two minutes after the interval Birmingham  scored what was to prove the winning goal and what a dramatic goal it was. Murphy was brought down inside the penalty area by Shanks and took the resulting penalty himself. Penalties are missed at the best of times but few could have blamed Murphy if he had missed this one to which so much importance attached. Indeed it looked at first as if he had missed it, or rather that Baynham had saved it, for the Luton keeper dived to his left, got his hands to the ball and after fumbling with it go up and kicked it upfield.



However the referee immediately signalled a goal as the ball had crossed the line before being retrieved by Baynham. So it ended 2-1 to Birmingham and they must be pleased indeed to have achieved such a victory without such players as Merrick, Warhurst and Smith. So credit to the reserves Schofield, Watts and Newman, particularly the latter for playing their parts so well.


THURSDAY 5TH MAY, 1955                 Attendance 17,508

DIVISION THREE SOUTH AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL

WALSALL 1 (Richards) LEYTON ORIENT 4  (Rees 3, Groves)

Chilvers; Guttridge, Vinall (capt); Ferriday, McPherson, Tarrant;
Morris, Dorman, Richards, Myerscough, Love;

Welton; Charlton, Earl; Blizzard, Aldoous, McKnight;
Groves, P. Woosnam, Rees, Facey, Hartburn;

Referee:- F.L. Overton, Derby



Last match of the season for Walsall and the climax of a strong uphill fight in the Saddle4r's attempt to avoid seeking re-election yet again. The only hope was a win tonight and for Exeter to lose tomorrow. But Exeter were saved by the superior skill of Orient and possibly the effect the tiring game with Southend on Monday had on the Walsall players.


The first half produced little excitement from either team, the exception after thirty two minutes, when Love hit a first time shot from Dorman's pass which beat Welton and rebounded from the post. Love has had very bad luck recently, several goal-worthy efforts having hit the woodwork. Half time 0-0.

At the start of the second half, Richards went through but shot straight at Welton and did likewise with he rebound. Rees found Chilvers unsighted after fifty minutes, to score with a low shot. However twelve minutes later Tony Richards equalised after Vinall had booted the ball downfield for him.

Then Walsall went to pieces against the slick Orient forwards, supplied with an endless stream of passes from their wing halves. After sixty nine minutes Rees scored again following a corner kick and five minutes later Vic Groves pushed the ball out to Woosnam, took the return pass and scored. It was all Orient now and after eighty one minutes, Rees, the Welsh international, completed a hat trick with a high cross shot which Chilvers allowed to slip through his hands.

Sp Walsall after a very encouraging spell in mid-season, which gave hope of a sustained revival, one again slumped into the re-election position at the bottom of the league.
























Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The big match 4, Man. City v Sunderland

Posted by Tony Hutton


SATURDAY 27TH MARCH, 1955

F.A. CUP SEMI- FINAL AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM               Attendance 58,498

MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Clarke) SUNDERLAND 0

Trautmann; Meadows, Little; Barnes, Ewing, Paul (capt);
Fagan, Hayes, Revie, Johnstone, Clarke;

Fraser; Hedley, McDonald; Anderson, Daniel, Aitken (capt);
Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Shackleton, Elliott;

Referee:- F.B. Coultas, Hull


Sunderland created something of a surprise by omitting their leading goalscorer Ken Chisholm, who had scored five of Sunderland's eleven cup goals. Manchester City were without Johnny Hart, who has a broken leg and Scottish international Bobby Johnstone played in his first English cup-tie. The ground was completely waterlogged and rain was still falling, the players ploughed up great furrows as they moved about the pitch and the conditions looked all against good football.

In Manchester's first attack Johnstone was obstucted inside the penalty area and following Paul's indirect free kick the ball was stuck on the Sunderland goal line before being scrambled away for a corner. Fagan had two good chances for City but shot wide on both occasions. Then a more accurate effort from the same player was headed off the goal line by Hedley and Clarke running in had his shot saved by Fraser, who did not look too happy when handling the greasy ball.


City were playing the better football, but their final pass was always intercepted by the solid Sunderland defence in which Daniel was outstanding. Shackleton put a grand through pass to Purdon who lobbed the ball just over the bar. Then Sunderland had the best scoring chance so far when Trautmann came well out of goal to punch clear a centre but the ball went straight to Charlie 'Cannonball' Fleming, about fifteen yards out, in the centre of the goal. He sent in a powerful shot with Trautmann still on the ground but the ball struck the goalkeeper as he was getting up and deflected luckily over the bar. A real let off for City. Half time 0-0.

In the fifty eighth minute of the match Manchester scored the only goal of the match and it was a goal in keeping with the excellent standard of football played by both teams in such atrocious conditions. Hayes, with Johnstone, the spearhead of City's attack, sent across a centre from the drier reaches of the right wing and Clarke running in at full speed, flung himself full length to head the ball brilliantly into the corner of the net.
He landed face down in the mud, from where he was dragged by his delighted team mates.


Shackleton now made a great effort for Sunderland showing all his tricks, but the City defence held firm, with the towering Ewing ploughing through the mud in the centre of the field and Trautmann unbeatable in goal. Clarke had to leave the field shortly before the end, covered in mud and exhausted by his great effort which had taken Manchester City to Wembley.