Monday, 23 January 2017

1958-59 - Part one (Floodlights take over)

Posted by Tony Hutton



ASTON VILLA 3 (Myerscough, Dixon, McParland) PORTSMOUTH 2 (Crawford, Sims og)

Sims; Lynn, Aldis; Birch, Dugdale (capt), Saward;
Smith, Hitchens, Dixon, Myerscough, McParland;

Uprichard; McGhee, Hayward; Dickinson (capt), Rutter, Casey;
Harris (P), Gordon, Crawford, Harris (H), Govan;

Referee:- F.Collinge, Rochdale

Aston Villa made just one change from the team which opened the season with a 1-1- draw with neighbours Birmingham City on Saturday, bringing in Leslie Smith at outside right in place of the injured Southren. Portsmouth having lost at home to newly promoted West Ham in their first match made several changes.
Dickinson, the veteran England international, moved from centre half to right half and Rutter came in at centre half. Crawford took the place of Dougan at centre forward and former Birmingham City winger Alex Govan
came in for Newman.

After a disappointing time last season Pompey have appointed a new manager Mr Freddie Cox, formerly manager of Bournemouth, and also have three new players in their side.They are Basil Hayward, the former Port Vale utility player, Tom Casey, the Irish international wing half from Newcastle and Harry Harris an inside forward from Newport County. However despite all the new blood Portsmouth showed little improvement on last season's form and Villa were little better. In fact the game was noteworthy mainly for the fact that Villa Park's new floodlights were switched on for the first time at half time.

Portsmouth scored first after twenty six minutes following a good combined move started by Casey and carried on by Peter Harris and Gordan which enabled Crawford to place the ball well to the left of Sims from just inside the penalty area. Five minutes later Villa were level when Myerscough met a centre from Smith on the right hand edge of the penalty area and shot powerfully past Uprichard. Just before half time Dixon got in a splendid header but the Portsmouth keeper brought off a brilliant save. Half time 1-1.

Ten minutes after the interval Dixon gave Villa the lead with a shot from ten yards following a goalmouth scramble and ten minutes later from a pass by Hitchens, McParland burst through the centre to put Villa further ahead. Villa continued to play with vigour and enthusiasm but there was little evidence of any real football skill, Smith at outside right had a really miserable game. Five minutes after McParland's goal Portsmouth were presented with a second goal when goalkeeper Nigel Sims pushed a corner taken by Dickinson into his own net. Not a game to remember.



WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 (Hogg, Allen pen.) BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 (Houghton, Brown)

Jackman; Howe, Williams S.G.; Setters, Barlow (capt), Drury;
Campbell, Robson, Allen, Kevan, Hogg;

Merrick; Hall, Green (capt); Larkin, Sissons, Neal;
Hooper, Houghton, Brown, Orritt, Taylor;

Referee:- F. Dagnall, Bolton

The match programme informs us that veteran former club captain Len Millard left the club to take over as manager of non league Stafford Rangers during the summer. Goalkeeper Jim Sanders has joined Coventry City and winger George Lee has got a proper job and will also play non league football. So three of the Wembley winners have now left the club.

One item of interest in the programme was that ground season tickets cost just £3. This had proved quite popular and over 4,000 had been sold already. Albion had a professional staff of thirty six players, but that included only two goalkeepers, neither of whom had any First Division experience. They are Jackman, who came from Aldershot and Potter signed during the summer from Crystal Palace.

Despite much criticism by their supporters Albion persevered with Saturday's side which drew at Luton, Barlow continuing at centre half and Drury at left half, with last season's pivot the ever reliable Joe Kennedy still in the reserves. Birmingham brought in Houghton, the former Bradford player in place of Murphy, Sissons deputised for the injured Trevor Smith at centre half and Brian Taylor, the former Walsall outside left, was given his second First Division game.

The first half was goal less but not without incident. Albion had perhaps most of the play, but tended to over elaborate at times and whenever danger threatened the Birmingham goal Merrick was as good as ever. Several times he dived at Kevan's feet to save certain goals as the big Albion inside forward raced through.
Most danger stemmed from the two right wingers, Hooper being Birmingham's best forward and young Campbell on the Albion wing showing that he has quite recovered from the broken leg he sustained towards the end of last season. Indeed Frank Griffin, another broken leg victim, may have difficulty in recapturing his place when fit again. Half time 0-0.

Although Birmingham played with more spirit in the second half, and were the more direct side throughout, it seemed as through the Albion defence, in which Barlow was outstanding, would be able to prevent them from scoring. After sixty four minutes however Birmingham took the lead with a great goal. Taylor took the ball down the left wing and Houghton ran into position inside him. The inside forward received a perfect pass for him to run onto just inside the left hand corner of the penalty area and although Jackman ran out of goal, Houghton let fly a terrific drive which flew into the roof the net as he collided with the goalkeeper. This was a real Kevan type goal and it is remarkable that Houghton, whose style of play is so similar to Kevan's, is a product of the same club, Bradford Park Avenue, and also started his career as a centre forward.

As usual when Albion concede a goal it stings them to immediate reply. Five minutes later Robson dribbled in from the right, his shot hit the post and rebounded to Hogg who volleyed the ball past Merrick from close range. With only six minutes to go Albion took the lead when Campbell dribbled through and his shot seemed a certain goal until Neal handled the ball. Allen took the penalty and as usual crashed the ball into the net. It was later learned that the power of his shot had been so great that an iron peg holding down the net had been dislodged and cut a spectator's chin!

The game was still not won however as with only ninety second left to play Orritt pushed the ball past Barlow on the half way line and Eddie Brown with a burst of his terrific speed was away after it, with what seemed the entire Albion defence in pursuit. He outpaced them all and placed the ball cleverly past Jackman as he came out into the corner of the net for the equaliser. Brown a born comedian at once set off on a typical victory run which took along the goal line to shake hands with the corner flag, then up the touchline shaking hands with a policeman, before returning to the field to be engulfed by his grateful colleagues.

It was an exciting enough game with a draw a fair result as Albion were by no means at the best, whereas Birmingham gave their most lively display for some time. The potential greatness of the Albion team has been increased by the signing of Derek Hogg from Leicester City, who may well be in the running for an England place. Barlow was immaculate at centre half, once dribbling round three players in his own penalty area before making a perfect pass to his wing half. Drury gave a steady display but one would think he is not yet ready for a regular place in a team of Albion's capabilities.

This must have been a really encouraging game for the Blues. Gilbert Merrick showed that he is as good as ever in goal, Sissons proved a most capable deputy for Smith and Taylor with several fine runs, particularly in the second half when he beat Howe with ease on several occasions, looks as though he will make the grade at this level.



WALSALL 2 (Richards 2) MILWALL 1 (Crowshaw)                   Attendance 11,259

Savage; Haddington (capt), Guttridge; Billingham, McPherson, Rawlings;
Askey, Murray, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor (C);

Davies; Craig, Brady; Summersby, Dove, Rawson;
Roche, Bumpstead, Pacey, Heckman, Crowshaw;

Referee: K.A. Colllinge, Altrincham

Walsall made four changes from the side which had lost 3-0 at Exeter in their  first game in the newly formed  Fourth Division. Savage, after his week's suspension, returned in goal in place of Woodward and Murray, Hodgkisson and Colin Taylor all came into the forward line in place of Cochrane, Faulkner and Metcalfe, all branded failures at Exeter.

Milwall included former Walsall goalkeeper Reg Davies and newly signed outside left, Alan Crowshaw from Derby County. Both players started their careers at West Bromwich Albion. The visitors got off to a good start and Summersby sent in a long range shot which Savage could not hold but Guttridge scrambled it away. Hodgkisson got the ball in the net after twenty minutes but was given offside. The Walsall defence was playing well with Guttridge, McPherson and Rawlings outstanding. A minute before half time Walsall took the lead. Rawling went through on his own and as he was tackled on the edge of the area managed to push the ball to Richards, who scored with a splendid shot. Half time 1-0.

With the floodlights on in the second half Walsall were again on the attack. Dove, the big clumsy Milwall centre half, fouled Richard on the left hand side of the penalty area. After the centre forward had received attention from the trainer, Rawlings took the free kick and lobbed it high into the goal area. Richards ran in and headed it over Davies into the net for his second goal.

Walsall seemed to slacken off after this and the passing on both sides became very ragged. However the home side continued to have the majority of the play and only bad finishing prevented them from adding to the score. Milwall got a consolation goal when McPherson made his only mistake of the match by completely mis-kicking and letting in Crowshaw for an easy goal.



WALSALL 1 (McPherson pen.) GILLINGHAM 2 (Patrick, Pulley)      Attendance 10,131

Savage; Haddington (capt), Guttridge; Hodgkisson, McPherson, Rawlings;
Askey, Murray, Richards, Faulkner, Taylor;

Simpson; Parry, Hannaway (capt); Proverbs, Hughes, Laing;
Bacon, Patrick, Saunders, Edgar, Pulley;

Referee:- R.N. Jordan, Leicester

Walsall manager Bill Moore stated before the match that Peter Billingham the young wing half had been dropped because of the barracking he received on Thursday night. Moore moved Ken Hodgkisson to take his place, bringing back Roy Faulkner at inside forward. Gillingham, captained by Hannaway, formerly a team mate of Savage and Faulkner at Manchester City, had several new players. These were Hughes, a centre half from Bournemouth, Bacon, outside right from Norwich, Patrick, inside right from Coventry, Edgar, inside left from Barnsley and Pulley outside left from Milwall.

The first half was dominated by Walsall while the Gillingham players were still getting to know each other.
Some atrocious finishing by Murray was the reason they did not go ahead earlier and they should have been five goals up by half time. The only goal that did come was a penalty taken by McPherson after Proverbs had handled inside the area. Faulkner put in the best effort for Walsall, his shot being tipped over the bar by Simpson. Just before half time Murray had yet another glorious chance to score but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he shot hopelessly wide. Half time 1-0.

Murray, who could do nothing right, was again well placed to score early in the second half but Simpson deflected his shot to Askey whose high lob dropped on to the roof of the net. Three minutes after the interval Gillingham equalised when Patrick headed home Hughes' free kick, Savage making no effort to get to the ball. Pulley hit the post and at the other in Murray got in his best effort so far, a left foot shot which skimmed the bar. Patrick then missed an open goal for Gillingham and but for his goal this player almost matched Murray for ineffectiveness.

It was all Gillingham now, well prompted by their two wing halves. Savage did well to save a header from Saunders and then when the Walsall goalkeeper came out and missed a high ball, Patrick was left with the ball at his feet and an unguarded goal, but he somehow managed to shoot high over the bar! Finally with seven minutes remaining Gillingham got their deserved winning goal, Pulley running in at speed from the left wing hit Patrick's square pass first time into the net for a fine goal.




Ross; Jackson, Ashfield; Birch (capt), Sharples, Lee;
Roberts, Deakin, Atkins, Hazelden, Willis;

Leeson; Jones, Gillott; Price, Hopkins, Walters (capt);
Whyke, Beaumont, Hirst, Stainsby, Brookes;

Referee:- R.A. Kibble, Walsall

Barnsley, who had already this season beaten a Wolves reserve side containing Clamp, Murray and Mullen, were weakened by an injury after only ten minutes to inside right Beaumont. This left him as a passenger on the right wing for the rest of the game. However the visitors had an equal amount of the play during the first half with their captain, former Walsall wing half Henry Walters, outstanding. Villa took the lead shortly before half time when seventeen year old Hazelden scored from close range. Half time 1-0.

After the interval Villa dominated the game and whenever Barnsley attacked they were easily repelled by Sharples, who had a fine game at centre half and played with the utmost coolness as did wing half Gordon Lee. Hazelden increased the Villa lead after sixty nine minutes with a fine shot on the run. Inside right Alan Deakin scored the third nine minutes later with a shot from outside the penalty area and the teenager, Hazelden, competed his hat trick six minutes from time. This young lad could have a great future.




Finlayson; Stuart, Harris; Slater, Wright (capt), Flowers;
Deeley, Broadbent, Henderson, Booth, Mullen;

Gregory; Bond, Cantwell (capt); Malcolm, Brown, Landsdowne;
Grice, Smith, Keeble, Dick, Musgrove;

Referee: H. Haworth, Blackburn

My first visit to Molineux this season to see the reigning league champions Wolves. They had started the season well with a 5-1 home win over Notts Forest, but since then lost 2-0 at West Ham last Wednesday and then were trounced 6-2 at Stamford Bridge by the young Chelsea side on Saturday. Jimmy Greaves, the eighteen year old Chelsea inside right scored five goals in this game and gave England captain Billy Wright the run around.

Wright and the whole Wolves side were given a real grilling by the Press this week and it must have pleased them to get such a great ovation from the big crowd here tonight. Only one change, Booth for Mason, was made from Saturday's side. West Ham, who trounced Aston Villa 7-2 on Saturday, have taken full six points from their first three games in the First Division and were worthy opponents for Wolves' effort to regain their lost prestige.

The visitors shocked the home side by taking the lead after only eighteen minutes play. Harris, the left back, left Grice completely open and when the winger got the ball he cut in and let fly a fierce drive which beat Finlayson and went into the net off the far post. Although Wolves had most of the play, West  Ham looked equally dangerous whenever they attacked with Harris giving the dangerous Grice far too much room.

The lively Keeble troubled Wright but the Wolves centre half showed that he isn't finished yet. Slater in particular and Stuart were also outstanding in the Wolves defence. All the West Ham defenders did well and the general impression given by their side was of a team rather than personalities. Gregory made a brilliant save from a great back heel by Henderson and Bond, a cultured right back headed a Mullen free kick off the line. Half time 0-1.

With their famous floodlights on the Wolves were really dominant in the second half and hammered away at the West Ham goal without respite. But the West Ham defence remained steady, Gregory made many fine saves, notably from Broadbent when the inside forward was through on his own, and Bond cleared off his line twice in as many minutes. Then after sixty three minutes the Wolves drew level when a low shot from Broadbent went into the corner of the net with Gregory unsighted.

Try as they might Wolves could not get the winning goal and although they had most of the play they did not really deserve it as the West Ham defence and Grice's snap shot earned them the draw. To take three points from the Wolves in the first fortnight of the season is a great feat and they should finish well towards the top of the league if this form is maintained. As for Wolves they obviously have not yet found the touch of last season, but no doubt they will soon.


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