Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The big match No. 6 - Wolves v Barcelona 1960

Posted by Tony Hutton

The following report is as written some fifty seven years ago when English champions Wolves took on the might of Barcelona in the European Cup.



WOLVES 2 (Murray, Mason) C.F. BARCELONA 5 (Koscis 4, Villaverde) 

Sidebottom; Showell, Harris; Clamp, Slater (capt), Flowers;
Deeley, Broadbent, Murray, Mason, Horne;

Ramallets; Olivella, Rodriguez, Gracia; Segarra, Gensana;
Coll, Koscis, Martinez, Suarez, Villaverde;

Referee:- L. Van Nuffel, Belgium

The Spanish champions made several changes from the side which beat Wolves 4-0 in Barcelona on February 10th in the first leg. The most surprising was the inclusion of a comparative unknown Louis Coll at outside right in preference to the Brazalian Evertisto de Macedo. Sandor Koscis was included in preference to his fellow Hungarian Kubala, who it is understood is in the middle of a private feud with team manager Herrara. Sidebottom continued to deputise for the injured Finlayson in the Wolves goal.

Early in the game two low, hard centres from Horne passed across the face of the Barcelona goal, but no one was on hand to tap them into the net. The Spaniards soon settled down to play brilliant football and their first two chances both fell to Coll. He shot over with his first effort, but Sidebottom brilliantly saved the second. After twenty five minutes Wolves were awarded an indirect fee kick inside the Barcelona penalty area. All eleven players came back to pack the goalmouth and the kick was scrambled clear.

Then after twenty nine minutes despite all Wolves speed and fury, Barcelona took the lead with a simple goal. Martinez, on the goal line to right of the goal manoeuvred the ball cleverly round three defenders and pulled it back for the unmarked Koscis to score from close range.

After thirty five minutes Wolves raised a slight hope for their rather despondent supporters with an equalising goal, which was however somewhat fortuitous. Olivella, attempting to kick out from the edge of the goal area, had his clearance blocked by the advancing Murray from whose body it rebounded past Ramallets. Wolves now increased their pressure, but could make little headway against a Barcelona defence outstanding both in the air and it's ability to get out of trouble by playing football. Every goal kick which Wolves took seemed to find the head of Segarra or Rodri to put Barcelona back in possession.

The visitors second goal came three minutes before half time and again it was scored with effortless ease. Coll took the ball down the right, pushed it forward to Martinez, who square it inside to Koscis and the ball was in the net. Martinez, the man from Paraguay, normally a winger was proving a most effective centre forward. Half time 1-2.

Wolves, although already facing a seemingly impossible task, kept on fighting hard and only a brilliant diving save by Ramallets prevented Peter Broadbent from equalising. The contrast between the two side was becoming even greater. Wolves with the exception of the brilliant Slater, were all running around in circles with not results and Barcelona, ball players to a man, were strolling through the game, making it look all too easy.

They really rubbed it in with their third goal in the sixty first minute. Martinez ambled in along the goal line from the right, stopped at the junction with the penalty area and put his foot on the ball, Harris stood between him and the goal and waited for the centre forward to make the first move. Suddenly he did move.
Putting his toe under the ball, he lobbed it over the unfortunate Harris' head, ran round and chipped it against the face of the crossbar. The immaculate Suarez, running towards the corner flag, chased it at top speed as it ran loose on the left and smartly back-heeled it to Villeverde cutting in from the wing. His centre beat Sidebottom and there was Koscis again to head it into the net, when Coll returned it from the right. A magnificent goal.

Wolves were really finished now and Barcelona turned on exhibition stuff. After seventy four minutes Koscis who was now walking his regal way through he game scored his fourth goal. Brilliant play by Suarez in midfield put Coll away down the right, his centre found the Hungarian perfectly positioned to hit an eighteen yard shot past Sidebottom Clamp, who had throughout played an attacking game, paved the way for Mason to score another consolation goal for Wolves four minutes later, but still Barcelona came back for more.

Coll, rated a third choice at outside right, again made the goal. Dribbling his way down the right his centre found the Uruguayan outside left Villaverde in the centre forward position. He swept through two defenders as if they did not exist and hammered the ball home from the edge of the area.

So at last Wolves' proud record of not being beaten by any foreign side on their own ground was shattered by what must have been the most brilliant exhibition of football ever seen at Molineux. It was a team triumph, every man superb in ball control, positional play and intelligence. All Wolves had to offer in return was fighting spirit and this was nowhere near enough to make these master craftsmen of soccer break into a gallop. They played football as it should be played, they made it look easy and they made Wolves look anything but the best team in England.

                                           Suarez consoles Deeley at the end.

However, no one can be blamed for this defeat, Wolves gave of their best and it was not good enough. The crowded English league programme and the climatic conditions under which football is often played in this country are to blame. Wolves methods, based on speed and fitness, have proved successful in the past but it is now proved that true skill will triumph in the end.

1959-60 - Part four (Villa winning on all fronts)

Posted by Tony Hutton




Pratt; Thompson, Briggs; Lumsden, Sleeuwenhoek, Deakin (capt);
Ashe, Baker, Brown, McMorran, Jones (A);

Guinn; Thurnham, Gomersall; Hill, Harold, Oakes (capt);
Fletcher, Pearson, Eccles, Aimson, Wagstaffe;

Referee:- J.K. Taylor, Wolverhampton

Aston Villa became favourites for the F.A. Youth Cup when they beat the powerful Wolves side 5-1 in the previous round. They have certainly acquired the pick of the Midland schoolboys of last season and the youth side is proving just as successful as the first team, which is top of the Second Division.

Villa included two players with first team experience in left half Alan Deakin and sixteen year old Norman Ashe who became Villa's youngest ever league player when he played against Swansea three weeks ago.
Partnering Ashe was fifteen year old Alan Baker. These two played together for both Brierley Hill and England boys last season. Manchester City had only one player with league experience in Alan Oakes, whose build and ability has caused him to be labelled as a second Duncan Edwards.

Villa had just the better of the play in a very close first half and it seemed as though their younger and smaller side would perhaps wilt under the heavy going, particularly when the snow started to fall just before half time.
However three minutes before the interval the home side took the lead. Baker pushed the ball forward as if intending to shoot, but McMorran intervened and his shot on the turn with his left foot cracked in a grand goal. City's best effort during this half was a brilliant run by left winger Wagstaffe which took him past four men. Half time 1-0.

After the interval Villa were even more on top and their defence played immaculately. Centre half Sleeuwenhoek, right back Thompson and right half Lumsden were particularly impressive but skipper Deakin had rather a poor game. In attack the tiny right wing pair came into their own with Baker managing to avoid the attentions of the powerful Oakes on  numerous occasions to slip perfect passes inside the full back.

From one such move Ashes's powerful shot was brilliantly saved by Guinn. Two free kicks, both taken by Oakes caused some concern to Villa, the first was headed against the bar by Pearson and rebounded into the surprised goalkeeper's hands and from the second Oakes hit the side netting with a powerful shot.

Villa's second goal came five minutes from the end. A through ball from Baker was chased by the energetic Brown and Thurnham in trying to pass back turned it past his goalkeeper for Brown to chase and tap into the net just before it crossed the line.

Unfortunately Villa came unstuck in the next round of the competition losing away at Chelsea, the eventual winners, at Stamford Bridge by 3-0. Chelsea went on to win the two-legged final with Preston North End  5-2, with Bobby Tambling scoring a hat trick in the second leg. Also in the Chelsea team were Peter Bonetti and Terry Venables.

FRIDAY 29TH JANUARY 1960                   Attendance 6,945


WALSALL 2 (Davies, Faulkner) BARROW 1 (Bannan pen)

 Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Dudley, McPherson, Rawlings;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Hardwick; Staniforth (capt), Robinson; Clarke, Marsden, McGlennon;
Lowes, Bannan, Robertson, Murdoch, Kemp;

Referee:- Major C.H. Dennis, Surrey

Walsall played this match on Friday night to avoid clashing with cup ties at West Bromwich and Wolverhampton tomorrow. However the atrocious weather conditions spoilt hopes of a bumper gate. The ground was completely waterlogged and the groundstaff were forking it right up to the start. Barrow field a very experienced side. The player manager Ron Staniforth is the former Huddersfield Town and England full back, Dick Robinson, his full back partner, played for the Football League whilst at Middlesboroough and goalkeeper Ken Hardwick, formerly with Doncaster, was once picked for England Under 23s despite being over thirty at the time!

Both teams played good football considering the conditions but Walsall were on top. However they did not manage to open the scoring until the thirty seventh minute. Rawlings, who had a fine game, sent Taylor away and his high centre found Davies in his now customary position in the centre to score with a fine header. Walsall were prevented from going further ahead by several fine saves by Hardwick. He showed remarkable anticipation and was well supported by his experienced defence who played with the utmost coolness, particularly Staniforth, in difficult conditions. Half time 1-0.

Barrow's forward line rarely got going and the Walsall half back, all in good form, saw that they did not get far. Robertson a bustling centre forward, got little change out of McPherson. Walsall's second goal, by then long overdue, came in the seventy first minute. A splendid through pass from Hodgkisson found Faulkner, who ran on inside the penalty area to crack the ball past Hardwick as he came out. This was the inside right's twentieth goal of the season.

With the game almost safe Walsall eased up and Barrow got in their most dangerous attacks of the game. In one of these, former Liverpool forward Bobby Murdoch seemed to throw himself over Haddington's outstretched leg. The referee however had not doubt about awarding a penalty and Tommy Bannan crashed the ball into the corner of the net to Christie's left as the goalkeeper swayed to the right.



ASTON VILLA 4 (Thomson 3, Hitchens) HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 

Sims; Lynn, Neal; Crowe, Dugdale, Saward;
McEwan, Thomson, Hitchens, Wylie, McParland;

Wood; Gibson, Wilson; McGarry (capt), Coddington, Low;
McHale, Law, Connor, Massie, Hawksworth;

Referee:- Major C.H. Dennis, Surrey

Villa, top of the league, were unchanged from the side which knocked First Division Chelsea out of the cup last week at Stamford Bridge. Huddersfield were without Yorkshire cricketer Ken Taylor and brought in Low at left half. The town included former Manchester United goalkeeper Ray Wood and the wonder boy of British football, Dennis Law.

Huddersfield's right wing looked dangerous with McHale making good use of his excellent service from Law, however Neal, who is reckoned to be the Villa player who has made most progress this season, showed that his reputation for speedy recovery is quite justified. McEwan, not getting much change out of Wilson, wandered to the inside left position, slipped past McGarry and pushed the ball across to the unmarked Thomson who promptly slammed a low shot past Wood.

Villa went further ahead after thirty six minutes and again Thomson was the scorer. Crowe lobbed a free kick into the goal are, McParland headed it backwards over Coddington and there was Thomson to fling himself full length and head a beautiful goal. Half time 2-0.

Law had shown some brilliant touches but on the whole his display was much below the standard expected of him and the Huddersfield team were hardly in the same form which they showed when beating West Ham 5-1 away from home in a cup replay recently. Connor sent a cleverly angled header into the Villa net but was ruled offside.

Then in the fifty ninth minute Bobby Thomson completed his hat trick when he chased a long ball from McParland down the centre, outpacing Low and crashing a low shot past Wood. Huddersfield were not finished yet and urged on by Law and Massie they brought the best out of Villa's defence. McHale and Hawksworth made Sims bring off two really outstanding saves. The one in which he dived at Hawksworth's feet and as the winger lobbed the ball over him, flung up an arm to flip the ball clear was magnificent.

Hitchens failed to find the net when it seemed impossible to miss, but in the seventy fifth minute a long goal kick from Sims gave him the chance to gallop clear down the middle to draw Wood out of goal, side step him in his own clumsy way and place the ball into the empty net for goal number four.



ASTON VILLA 2 (Hitchens, McParland) PRESTON NORTH END 0            Attendance 69,732

Sims; Lynn, Neal; Crowe, Dugdale, Saward (capt);
McEwan, Thomson, Hitchens, Wylie, McParland;

Else; Wilson, Walton; Milne, Richardson, Smith;
Dagger, Thompson, Finney (capt), Sneddon, Taylor;

Referee:- R.J. Leafe, Nottingham

Villa who are already heading for promotion from the Second Division took on Preston, who without any league worries, were concentrating on the cup in the hope that Tom Finney would at long last get a cup winners medal before retiring.

In front of a huge capacity crowd, possibly a record for a second division club, Preston suffered a setback soon after the start when former Villa player Tommy Thompson received a knee injury which slowed him down considerably. Villa did all the early attacking an came nearest to scoring when McParland, who had moved into the middle, had a powerful shot saved by goalkeeper Fred Else. The home side did take the lead in the tenth minute with rather a lucky goal.

A long pass from Lynn found Hitchens in the centre. The centre forward rounded reserve centre half Richardson and veered towards the left. The whole defence obviously expected him to pass to the onrushing McParland, but he suddenly turned back the other way and crashed in a shot which was deflected by Walton into the far corner of the net as Else dived the other way to cover the original line of Hitchen's shot.

After this the first half was riddled with missed chances by both side, Hitchens should have scored easily from four yards out and then a brilliant Finney run on the left, in which he lobbed the ball into the goalmouth over Sims' head, saw first Dagger and then Sneddon miss glorious openings. Half time 1-0.

Preston, despite their clever midfield play, were getting nowhere. There was no fight or enthusiasm in any of their forwards who seemed to give up as soon as it became obvious that Dugdale had got Finney bottled up. Villa's fighting spirit, even if sometimes their football was rather crude, was much more suited to the cup tie atmosphere. The best Preston effort came from Dagger who sent in a fierce drive only for Sims to bring off a brilliant diving save.

As the game drew towards its undistinguished close and Villa's superiority became more evident, McParland came into his element. He ranged the entire width of the field with his long striding runs, barged defenders out of the way and generally played havoc with the struggling North End defence, weakened considerably by the absence of Cunningham and Dunne.

McParland's moment of glory came in the seventy eighth minute, McEwan dribbled in from the right, lobbed the ball into the middle and there was the Irishman racing in to chest the ball down, brush aside Wilson as if he did not exist and blasted the ball into the roof of the net. Villa march on to the semi-finals.

On the 26th March Villa played Wolves in the Cup semi final in front of 55,000 at the Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Wolves won the game 1-0 with a goal from Norman Deeley and went on to beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 in the final at Wembley.

However Villa did go on to win the Second Division title with 59 points and were promoted back to the First Division together with Cardiff City who finished just one point behind them.



WALSALL 2 (Hodgkisson, Askey) EXETER CITY 2 (Calland 2)

Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Dudley, McPherson, Rawlings;
Askey, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Jones; Foley MacDonald; Mitchell (capt), Oliver, Thompson;
Stiffle, Rees, Wilkinson, Calland, Dale;

Referee:- R.J. Leafe, Nottingham

Walsall still with a comfortable lead at the top of the table have been slipping lately. The crowning insult came last Saturday when they lost at home to Northampton 2-1. To make things worse Northampton  had been without inside forward Tebbutt, who broke a leg, for more than half the game. Bill Moore, Walsall's manager, said that he did not intend to make sweeping changes as he felt that the tension of being at the top was beginning to tell on his players. However outside right Davies, who had a particularly poor game, asked to be dropped and Colin Askey took his place.

Roy Faulkner missed a great chance to put Walsall ahead soon after the start when he broke through the middle on his own. With only the goalkeeper to beat he lobbed it over his head but just over the bar as well.
Walsall continued in the same vein as Saturday and their attack could make little progress against the very solid Exeter half back line, which dominated the game.

Half way through the first half, Hodgkisson appeared to make a theatrical fall when fairly tackled inside the area, but experienced referee Reg Leafe had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. However justice was done when McPherson shot straight at Jones who saved the kick easily. A defensive mix up between McPherson and Christie led to the ball running loose in front of goal and Calland had a simple task to roll the ball home.
Half time 0-1.

Exeter continued to play far superior football while Walsall went from bad to worse. The whole team seemed affected and every pass went straight to an Exeter player. The visitors went further ahead when Calland broke away on the right and beat Christie with a fine shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The last quarter of an hour brought about a belated Walsall revival. Ken Hodgkisson got their first goal with a shot from close range which passed underneath the goalkeeper's body and shortly afterwards Colin Askey scored the equaliser. After a scramble in the goalmouth the ball came out to the outside right whose shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down into the net despite the frantic efforts of the packed defence. The Saddlers went all out for the winning goal in the closing minutes but try as they did, they had left their effort too late and were fortunate indeed to take even one point.

Despite a few setbacks along the way Walsall did eventually clinch the Division Four title and were promoted to the Third Division along with Notts County, Torquay United and Watford.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

1959-60 Part three (F.A. Cup action)

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 1959                       Attendance 20,600


WALSALL 2 (Richards, Billingham) PETERBOROUGH UNITED 3 (Rayner, McNamee, Smith)

Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Billingham, McPherson, Rawlings;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor

Daley; Stafford, Walker; Banham, Rigby (capt), Chadwick;
Hails, Emery, Raynor, Smith, McNamee;

Referee:- K. Stokes, Retford

Peterborough, the famous Midland League side are well known for their giant-killing feats. Today they brought over five thousand supporters to Walsall for this all ticket match which set a new ground record. The 'Posh' had already knocked out Third Division Shrewsbury in the previous round and their manager, Jimmy Hagan, was confident that they could strike another blow towards league status by beating the Fourth Division leaders.

The visitors received a shock in the first thirty seconds when Faulkner raced away down the right and sent over a low cross which Richards prodded into the net as Banham completely mis-kicked. Walsall seemed to be heading for another easy win but in Peterborough's firs serious attack the scores were very nearly levelled. Christie came out of goal but failed to grasp the ball as he dived at Smith's feet.

The ball ran loose and Raynor instead of crashing it into the open goal hit the underside of the bar. The ball bounced down and Smith headed towards the still empty net but this time it went over the bar. A real let off for the 'Saddlers'.

After fifteen minutes however, Billingham who had returned to the team after an absence due to a thigh injury collapsed with a similar problem and had to leave the field Faulkner moved back to wing half which was unusual in view of Hodgkisson's experience in that position. Billingham did return but only as a passenger on the wing. Petereborough began to get on tope and it was no surprise when they equalised after forty minutes.

Smith put McNamee away down the left, the winger beat Haddington, lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Christie's head and there was Raynor to head the ball home. Half time 1-1.

It looked as though Billingham was all right at the start of the second half and he resumed in his normal postion, but he soon broke down again and limped along at centre forward. After several near misses Peterborough took the lead after fifty three minutes to the delight of their supporters. Hails lobbed the ball over from the right and McNameee raced in to score from a narrow angle.

Walsall really began to fight back now but their injury handicap was too great and after a period of sustained Walsall pressure the non-league side broke away to score again with a calmly taken goal by Smith which made it 3-1 to the visitors. Far from finished Walsall fought on and from a Davies centre Billingham managed to prod the ball home with his good ledg before collapsing in agony and having to be helped back to the centre line.

So at 3-2 to Peterborough after seventy minutes, Walsall had all to play for and despite having nearly all the play in the last twenty minutes they could not get the ball in the net and on the whole the delighted visitors thoroughly deserved their victory. League status for them cannot be far away and Walsall will have the consolation of being able to concentrate on their promotion battle for the rest of the season.

SATURDAY 26TH DECEMBER, 1959                     Attendance 13,191


WALSALL2 (Davies, Faulkner) GATESHEAD 2 (Whitfield, Murray)

Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Dudley, McPherson, Rawlings;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Williamson; Dawson, Moffitt; Hobson, Lackenby, Aitken (capt);
Stephenson, Lumley, Murray, Steele, Whitfield;

Referee:- L. Callaghan, Merthyr Tydfil

Walsall, five points clear at the top of the league, looked certain winners against Gateshead, fourth from the bottom, in this Boxing Day clash. However the atrocious ground conditions and driving rain brought both teams down to the same level. Walsall continued with Jimmy Dudley their recent signing from West Bromwich Albion for his third match.

Walsall with the advantage of the slope pressed at once, obviously with the idea of repeating last week's performance at Crewe where they scored four goals in the first twenty five minutes. However it was not to be, the forwards missed several good chances. Gateshead who had been moving the ball well shocked everybody by taking the lead in the fourteenth minute.

Stephenson sent across a low ball from the right and it ran right across goal for Whitfield, cutting in from the left, to hit it into the net from close range. This seemed to spur on the home side who have come from behind to win several times already this season. The equalising goal came in thirty six minutes when Davies took Faulkner's pass, moved inside to the centre forward postion and cracked in a left foot shot which Williamson got his hands to but could not prevent it entering the net.

Within seven minutes Walsall playing grand football at this stage went in front. Faulkner chased Hodgkisson's lob down the middle and despite the close attention of two defenders pushed the ball home from the right hand edge of the goal area. Half time 2-1.

Walsall faded out completely in the second half and Gateshead prompted by their experienced skipper George Aitken, the former Sunderland and Scotland wing half, played football far above the standard one would expect from a club in such a lowly position. Lackenby the former Newcastle player was a tower of strength at centre half and Lumley the old Charlton inside forward a fine schemer in midfield.

Main incidents of the second half were a shot from Taylor which hit the post, a brilliant diving save by Christie to push out a long shot from Aitken and the great display of Albert McPherson at centre half for Walsall. Then came the great talking point of this match in the very last minute of the game.

Gateshead's centre forward was standing yards offside but a pass down the middle glanced off McPherson's head thus playing Murray onside and he promptly banged the ball into the net. The linesman was still standing with his flag up for offside, but the referee awarded a goal and, despite vigorous protests from the Walsall players, declined to consult the linesman. So 2-2 the final score and a vital point lost by the 'Saddlers'.




Potter; Cram, Williams S.G.; Setters (capt), Wood, Styles;
Dixon, Aitken, Lovatt, Smith, Gaskell;

Sidebottom; Kelly, Tether; Kirkham, Corbett, Jones (capt);
Lill, Durandt, McBride, Stobbart, Mannion;

Referee:- D. Pritchard, Walsall

Albion created something of a sensation by leaving Stuart Williams, the Welsh international full back, Maurice Setter, the England Under 23s and club captain and outside right Andy Aitken, out of the first team which travelled to play Notts Forest today. They also included a new signing from the Manchester area, seventeen year old Jack Gaskell. Wolves included recent signing from Kilmarnock - Joe McBride, together with six players with first team experience.

Albion did all the early attacking and it came as no surprise when they took the lead after only nine minutes play. Setters started the move with a cleverly flicked header to right back Bobby Cram who pushed it down the line to Lovatt. His centre was taken by Smith, who brushed past two men before beating Sidebottom with a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

It was all Albion right up to half time with little Gaskell getting the better of Kelly on several occasions. After a time Dixon and Smith changed positions, but Aitken who is a clever ball player was Albion's best forward.
Half time 1-0.

In pouring rain Wolves pressed more heavily in the second half but Albion's compact defence never looked like conceding a goal. Wood at centre half completely blotted out McBride and Stuart Williams kept Wolves' most dangerous forward, Micky Lill, well under control. Gwyn Jones, normally a full back, played like one in the first half, but in the second half managed to come up into attack a bit more. Durandt worked hard for Wolves but Styles gave him very little room to move in.

Wolves should have been awarded a penalty towards the end when Styles blatantly pushed the ball away with his hand, but the referee did not see it. He did see Lill try to steer the ball into the net with his hand however and that ended Wolves hopes of getting a point.


LEAGUE DIVISION ONE AT ELLAND ROAD, LEEDS               Attendance 20,000

LEEDS UNITED 1 (McCole)  LUTON TOWN 1 (Turner)

Burgin; Ashall, Hair; Cush (capt), Charlton, Gibson;
Crowe, Cameron, McCole, Peyton, Meek;

Baynham; Dunne, Daniel; Groves (capt), Kelly, Pacey;
Bingham, Turner, Brown, Cummins, Gregory;

Referee:- W. Crossley, Lancaster

Both teams started the New Year and the new decade in a perilous position at the foot of the First Division table. Luton, last year's cup finalists, have had a shocking time since Syd Owen retired as a player and took over the club management. Leeds have improved lately and surprised everybody by winning 4-1 at Tottenham last Monday. McCole, the centre forward signed from Bradford City earlier in the season, has proved a consistent goal scorer.

 After a very scrappy start Luton took an early lead after only nine minutes play. Danger man Billy Bingham, the Irish international, broke away on the right and pushed his centre along the ground to Gordon Turner who hit it first time into the net. Leeds replied strongly however and within five minutes they were level.

A lob down the centre appeared to be passing outside the left hand post for a goal kick and Dunne stood and watched it pass him. However McCole raced in behind him and from an almost impossible angle managed to hook the ball into the net. Baynham stuck out a despairing hand at the last minute but could only help the ball on its way.

Leeds were now dominating the game but their finishing was poor and it always seemed likely that Luton would score again as the forwards all moved well in their rare attacks. Excitement came when an in swinging corner from Meek was caught by Baynham, who had both feet behind his line, however the referee waved play on. Then Peyton pushed a perfect through ball down the centre to McCole but the centre forward allowed the ball to run past him and thus missed a perfect scoring opportunity as Baynham dashed out to dive at his feet. Half time 1-1.

The second half was again nearly all Leeds but their England under 23s winger, Chris Crowe, had a very disappointing game and was the main reason why many good moves broke down. He continually tried to go round Daniel on the outside and every time lost the ball or just won a corner.

Towards the end Leeds attacked fiercely in search of a winner and were fiercely urged on by their fiery skipper, Irishman Wilber Cush. It was all in vain and McCole only emphasised their poor finishing when he blazed another simple chance yards over the bar. The Leeds defence looked sound with Ashall and Jack Charlton both doing well. The inside forwards were not very effective and it is to be hoped that Don Revie will soon be fit again after his back problems.

Interesting to note from the match programme that a young man by the name of Billy Bremner was operating on the right wing for Leeds United reserves.

SATURDAY 9TH JANUARY, 1960                                Attendance 26,150



Wallace; Howe, Williams G.E.); Drury, Kennedy, Robson (capt);
Jackson, Burnside, Allen, Kevan, Hogg;

Barnsley; Stacey, Fulton; Williams, Fincham, Casey;
Penk, Carter (capt), Bellett, Waldock, Anderson;

Referee:- G.W. Thorpe, Swindon

On paper this should have been an easy win for Albion who, with their new look side, had produced their best form of the season in beating Preston North End 4-0 last week. Graham Williams has replaced his fellow Welshman Stuart Williams at left back and Chuck Drury has taken over the place of Maurice Setters, transferred this week to Manchester United. Bobby Robson as well as taking over the captaincy has settled down at left half and Alex Jackson look like solving the problem outside right spot.

Plymouth a struggling second division side had two former Albion players in their line up in goalkeeper Geoff Barnsley and skipper and leading scorer Wilf Carter. The visitors experimented with former Chelsea full back Wally Bellett at centre forward after his four goals for the reserves from that position last Saturday.

Both goalkeepers wore vivid red sweaters in view of Argyle's green shirts and presented a very colouful spectacle. Light snow was falling at the start but did not last long. Albion dominated the early stages and their first chance fell to Jackson who worked inside two defenders but with a clear shot at goal managed to hit it straight at Barnsley in the Argyle goal. Hogg was dangerous in Albion attacks but again with a great chance to score the winger sliced his right foot shot and the ball slowly trickled outside.

The first goal which had threatend for so long did not come until half an hours play had gone. Jackson put across a fine centre to the far post, which just cleared the centre half's head, and Kevan was perfectly positioned to head the ball home. Very little was seen of the Plymouth attack as was understandable with both inside forwards back in defence, but the two small wingers both looked dangerous, particularly Anderson who beat Howe with ease on several occasions.

Albion's next best effort came from Burnside, of whom little had been seen. Allen touched on a Hogg centre to him and the clever ball juggler lobbed the ball over Barnsley's head but just over the bar as well to land on the roof of the net. Half time 1-0.

After Barnsley had distinguished himself with a full length save from a powerful drive by Allen, Plymouth at last swung into action. Anderson picked up a loose ball and sent in a fierce shot which hit a defenders foot and passed just wide of the upright with Wallace standing as if hypnotised. With Fincham, the former Leicester centre half now dominating the middle Plymouoth were definately having more of the play and it came as no surprise when they equalised after fifty seven minutes.

The ball was swung across from the right and Howe standing by the far post just watched it go over his head, obviously believing it would go oout for a goal kick, but Anderson racing in on his blind side crashed the ball first time into the net from a narrow angle. Plymouth's joy was short lived, only six minutes in fact.

Hogg put over yet another perfect centre and Jackson sent in a grand shot which Barnsley went down full length to save, but he could not hold the ball and Kevan rushed in the push the ball home with the goalkeeper still on the ground. After seventy minutes Kevan virtually settled the match by completing his hat trick. Don Howe chipped a perfect free kick into the goalmouth and Kevan running in at speed sent a perfect header into the net to make it 3-1 to Albion.

Plymouth were not finished yet however and three minutes later scored again due to slack marking by the Albion defence. The ball came into the middle and Penk found himself with the ball infront of him and a wide opend space down the centre, so he promptly crashed the ball home from near the penalty sport. Kevan nearly scored again when he raced through on his own but Barnsley dived at this feet to save.

So Albion just scraped him with a most unimpressive display. Perhaps it was over confidence or perhaps Plymouth excelled themselves. They certainly served up football better than one would expect from the bottom half of the second division and if they had not concentrated on defence so much and had used the wingers more, they might well have sprung a major surprise.

Asit was their experiement of playing Bellett at centre forward was a complet failure as he was outclassed by the faultess Kennedy. Robon was the only ohter Albion defender to impress and Kevan who worked very hard throughout was the pick of the forwards, although the erratic Hogg of course had his moments of brilliance.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

1959-60 - Part two (Wolves in Europe and Walsall winning)

Posted by Tony Hutton

WEDNESDAY 7TH OCTOBER, 1959                                 Attendance 56,000


WOLVES 2 (Broadbent, Mason) A.S.K. VORWAERTS (BERLIN) 0

Finlayson; Stuart (capt), Harris; Slater, Showell, Flowers;
Lill, Mason, Murray, Broadbent, Deeley;

Spickenagel; Kalinke, Krampe; Unger, Kiupel, Rechelt;
Riese, Meyer, Voigt, Noldner, Kohle;

Referee:- G. Versyp, Belgium

The Wolves started this game again the East German champions one goal down, as they lost the first leg in Berlin last week 2-1 in a most disappointing display. The Germans however were without the services of their international outside right and captain Wirth.

An absolute capacity crowd together with swirling mist made it impossible to see much of the play. In fact I saw neither of the goals, scored by inside forwards Broadbent and Mason during the second half.

Wolves seemed over eager at first and took a considerable time to settle down. The Germans, in all white, played some clever football and looked a most useful side. Outstanding in their compact defence was their giant centre half Kiupel. In addition goalkeeper Spickenagel made a series of brilliant saves.

After Wolves had gone into the lead they seemed to relax and the Germans played some of the best football of the match at this stage. However their finishing was poor and Finlayson in the Wolves goal was at the top of his form, although the Wolverhampton crowd still do not seem to appreciate his worth. No doubt they are still comparing him with his eminent predecessor Bert Williams.

On the whole it was not one of Wolves best performances and they must produce much better form if they are to progress much further in the European Cup which they will need to do to help fund their futuristic plans for ground development.



WALSALL 2 (Taylor, Billingham) OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1 (Spurdle)

Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Billingham Jones, Rawlings;
Davies, Askey, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Ferguson J.; McGill, West; Richardson, Ferguson C., Jarvis;
Spurdle (capt), Scott, Bourne, Phoenix;

Referee:- C.H. Sant, Cheshire

Walsall were without both McPherson and Faulkner. Stan Jones again deputised at centre half and according to the local press was being watched by representatives of West Bromwich Albion. Colin Askey came in at inside right, an unusual position for him, in what was his first league game since breaking a leg at his old club Port Vale last season. Oldham who are bottom of the league with only seven points from fourteen games were captained by former Manchester City regular Bill Spurdle.

The home defence, as usual, was slow in settling down, and the Oldham forwards looked quite troublesome in the early stages. To everyone's surprise the visitors went into the lead when a harmless looking shot from Spurdle hit Jones and was deflected past goalkeeper Christie.

Walsall were shocked into action by this goal and proceeded to pound the Oldham goal. However it seemed as though they would never score and the standard of football began to deteriorate so much that both teams looked like re-election candidates. Just before the interval McGill headed away from the goalmouth, only to land the ball at Taylor's feet on the edge of the penalty area. The little winger did not hesitate but promptly hit straight back into the net. Half time 1-1.

The second half followed the pattern of the first with both sides serving up very poor football. Walsall had most of the play but Oldham always looked  likely to score in their occasional breakaways. Indeed Bourne did get the ball into the net but was given offside.

The winning goal, which took Walsall back to the top of the table, came from a free kick awarded just outside t he Oldham penalty area. The usual barrier of defenders was lined up, Hodgkisson ran up, but jumped over t he ball, to be followed by Peter Billingham, who promptly crashed it through the narrowest possible gap straight into the net.



WALSALL 5 (Richards 2, Davies 2, Taylor) DONCASTER ROVERS 2 (Fernie, Clark)

Christie; Haddington, Sharples; Billingham, McPherson (capt), Rawlings;
Davies, Hodgkisson, Richards, Faulkner, Taylor;

Nimmo; White, Gavin; Marshall, Makepeace (capt), Clar;
Sharp, Fernie, Chappell, Walker, Meredith;

Referee:- I.R. Rosekilly, Uxbridge

Sharples again deputised for the injured 'Chopper' Guttridge. McPherson, who deputised as captain, caused some comment when after winning the toss he elected to kick up the slope into driving rain and wind.

The Doncaster forwards proved much more skilful than their lowly league position would suggest and once again Walsall's defenders were soon in trouble. However after eleven minutes play Walsall should have gone ahead. A long ball from Sharples was brilliantly headed down the middle by Davies, Makepeace handled the ball but could not prevent it going on and giving Richards a clear run at goal. The centre forward pushed the ball past Nimmo as he came out, into the net but the referee had already blown for hand ball. The goal was therefore disallowed and Walsall awarded a free kick, which came to nothing.

The greasy ball and slippery conditions were making it a nightmare for defenders and only great work by McPherson kept Doncaster out. However after twenty two minutes the visitors took the lead. Meredith crossed from the left, Marshall shot, the ball went to Fernie five yards out and in an obvious off side position. He promptly hit the ball into the net and the referee awarded a goal, apparently on the grounds that Fernie had been played onside by the ball striking a defender.

As can be imagined the crowd, already incensed by the referee's previous decision, really gave him the bird. As usual Walsall were now spurred on to greater effort and only some fine defensive work, notably by Makepeace and Nimmo, prevented Walsall from scoring. At long last, a minute before the interval the Saddlers did equalise. Davies sent over a perfect corner to the far post where Tony Richards out jumped everyone and sent it home just inside the post. Half time 1-1.

Doncaster had played some very good football in the first half, with all five forwards looking useful players and wing half Peter Clark, signed from Wolves during the summer, also used the ball well. In the second half it was a very different story with Walsall taking full control. Two minutes after the interval Richards flicked the ball past Makepeace to Faulkner, but Nimmo dived brilliantly to his right to save the inside left's close range shot.

Within three minutes Walsall did score. A corner from Taylor started a goalmouth scramble and the ball finally ran loose to Davies on the penalty spot. He it a slow shot just inside the post with Nimmo lying on the ground and Gavin just failing to get to the ball as he slid along the goal line. 2-1 to Walsall.

Once again, after sixty minutes, the referee brought the crowd's displeasure on his head. Taylor crashed the ball into the net after Richards had beaten Makepeace in a vigorous tussle on the edge of the are, but the referee again disallowed the goal and again awarded Walsall a free kick. Young Taylor seemed determined to score after this setback and started to chase all over the field.

His enthusiasm paid off eight minutes later, when he tore up on Makepeace as the centre half was about to make a leisurely clearance, took the ball from him and raced away in a thirty yard dash which ended with a powerful low drive and the ball nestling in the back of the net. This made it 3-1 to the home side.

Three minutes later, to general surprise, Doncaster pulled it back to 3-2. Clark took a free kick out on the left hand touchline and the ball curved straight into goal. Walsall were really on the goal trail now and only several fine saves by goalkeeper Nimmo prevented further scores. Willlie Nimmo was a Scotsman who started his career with Alloa and then made just one first team appearance for Leeds United before joining Doncaster.

The last ten minutes of this eventful game saw the Walsall right wing in full cry. First of all a pass from Billingham sent Davies racing past Gavin to the bye-line to pull the ball back to Richards, who cracked the ball home first time from close range for number four. Then Hodgkisson sent in a fierce twenty five yard shot which blasted against the top of the cross bar with Nimmo hopelessly beaten.

The inside right was not disheartened however and promptly sent a perfect long ball through to Davies, who was closely challenged by Gavin. The outside right beat off his challenge at the edge of the area and sent the ball past Nimmo as he came out for goal number five. So despite some problems a decisive win from the Saddlers who now look like promotion candidates once more.



WALSALL 4 (Taylor 2, Richards, Hodgkisson) SHREWSBURY TOWN 1 (Guttridge og)

Christie; Sharples, Guttridge (capt); Billingham, McPherson, Rawlings;
Askey, Hodgkisson, Richards, Faulkner, Taylor;

Humphreys; Hobson, Skeech (capt); Harley, Pountney, Walters;
Tucker, Starkie, Edgeley, Copp, Whittaker;

Referee:- W. Clements, West Bromwich

Walsall confirmed their recent good form by beating the Third Division side convincingly in this friendly game which was for the benefit of three Walsall players - Guttridge, McPherson and Richards. The visitors were without their prolific goalscoring player-manager Arthur Rowly and Walsall brought in Guttridge and Askey in place of Haddington and Davies.

Within thirty seconds of the start the ball was in the Shrewsbury net. Taylor picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and sent a pass out to Richads on the left wing. The centre forward lobed it back into the middle and there was Taylor moving onto it perfectly to slam home a powerful first time shot. This grand start set the mood for the evening which proved first class entertainment for the small crowd which had braved icy wind and the threat of rain.

There was only one side in it all the way as Shrewsbury obviously missed the finishing power of Rowley. Copp, who deputised for him, spent most of his time at centre forward and although he chased everything McPherson was far too good for him. The only shining light on the Shrewsbury side was centre half Pountney who kept Richards quiet for most of the time.

He could not stop him scoring Walsall's second goal however, when the centre forward cleverly flicked Hodgkisson's perfect left wing cross past Humpreys with his head. Half time 2-0.

One of the most prominent features of Walsall's fine display was the showing of Sharples at right back. He tackled decisively and always made good use of the ball. On this form he looks like taking Haddington's place in the side. Askey also had his moments on the right wing but is not yet quite ready  to displace Davies.
Rawlings had his best game for some time but Faulkner was once again sadly out of touch.

The softer grounds seem to have put Faulkner off just as much as they have improved Colin Taylor's play on the wing. The little winger scored Walsall's fourth goal with a similar one to Saturday's, turning up on the right wing to score with a strong right foot shot. Hodgkisson had previously scored the third with a fine low drive from the edge of the are which left Humphreys stranded. Shortly before the end a pantomime moment when Guttridge, trying to pass back to Christie, only succeeded in heading the ball past the goalkeeper into his own net.


FRIENDLY MATCH AT VILLA PARK, BIRMINGHAM                Attendance 20,000

ASTON VILLA 5  (McParland, Price 2, McEwen, Crowe) RAITH ROVERS 1 (McKinven)

Sims; Lynn, Neal; Crowe, Dugdale, Saward;
McEwan (capt), Thomson, Price, Wylie, McParland;

Drummond; Polland, Mochan; Young, McNaught (capt), Baxter;
Wallace, Leishman, Kerray, McKinven, Urquhart;

Referee:- W. Clements, West Bromwich (also refereed at Walsall last night).

This match was arranged as part of the transfer deal which brought right winger McEwan from Raith Rovers to Villa Park during the summer. He was made captain of the Villa side for the occasion. The main point of interest about this match was the first senior appearance of Villa's reserve centre forward Ken Price, who has scored goals galore for the Central League side this season. He took the place of Hitchens who was injured, otherwise the side was the same that kept Villa at the top of the Second Division table by drawing at Derby on Saturday.

Peter McParland, Villa's star Irish winger, soon had a chance to show his shooting power, turning inside his powerful right foot shot moved away from Drummond straight into the corner of the net to put Villa one up.
Price was soon in evidence and after going near with one header, he nodded a perfect left wing cross from Thomson down into the net to make it 2-0. Soon afterwards he was racing through again to hurl himself full length and head only a foot wide. Both teams were taking it rather leisurely but Raith's veteran Scottish international Willie McNaught had to leave the field with a cut head after a clash with Price. Half time 2-0.

Tindall and Aldis substituted for Saward and Thomson during the second half and McNaught again had to leave the field with a similar injury, this time White came on as substitue and went to centre forward with Young at centre half and Urquhart at right half. The Scots played clever football but were very weak finishers. McEwan, who had a poor game for Villa, scored the third with a long shot when left unchallenged and wing half Vic Crowe got the fourth.

Price then confirmed his good impression with a well taken second goal, beating his man and shooting home with care to make it 5-0. McKinven had previously got a rather lucky consolation goal for Raith after Sims palmed the ball out to him. His shot scraping through the small gap between Neal and the post. The left back should have stopped the ball, but all te same looked a most useful player.

Jim Baxter, the Scottish Under 23 team left half, in whom Villa and other clubs are said to be interested, did not have a particularly good game and Mochan, Young and McNaught (before his injury) were Raith's best players on the night.



WALSALL YOUTH 1 (Beaman) WOLVES YOUTH 7 (Oliphant, Sill 2, Bridge, Hinton, Clarke and
                                                                                                                                          Jones pen.)
 Boswell; Gregg (capt), Hughes; Patridge, Babb, Jenkins;
Addison, Clayton, Beaman, Wiggin, Saunders;

Beebee; Thomson, Whitehouse; Oliphant (capt), Woodfield, Jones;
Wharton, Sill, Bridge, Clarke, Hinton;

Referee:- F.H. Carr, Redditch

On an absolute quagmire of a pitch Walsall should have taken an early lead when the ball stuck in the mud instead of running to the Wolves goalkeeper. Beaman had a clear shot but put it straight at Beebee from whom it rebounded to safety. After quarter of an hour Wolves found their feet and crashed in three goals in as many minutes.

The first one came when Gregg partially cleared a left wing raid only to see Oliphant race up and hit the loose ball from outside the area into the top corner of the net. The second came following a run by right winger Wharton, who was to prove a real thorn in Walsall's side, his centre was pushed home from close range by inside right Ken Sill. The third was scored by centre forward Tony Bridge, when he managed to hook the ball almost out of the Walsall keeper's hands and into the net from an acute angle.

Things then quietened down for a while but Wolves powerful wing halves were in complete control of the game and Walsall attacked only rarely. The fourth goal came when Alan Hinton, Wolves best known forward, rounded two defenders and cut in to goal. Boswell obviously expected him to centre the ball but the winger calmly pushed it just inside the near post.

Then Wharton who was beating his man every time on the right wing was brought down just inside the penalty area. Left half Jones took the kick after Boswell, trying to put him off, had very kindly wiped the mud off the ball very thoroughly and placed it on the spot. The goalkeeper then stood smiling as Jones drove the ball yards wide! Half time 0-4.

The second half was again all Wolves and they added further goals through Sill and Clarke both following good runs by Wharton, who was the only forward not to score. Jones then made up for his earlier miss by making no mistake with a second penalty. Beaman scored a good consolation goal for Walsall, doing well to hold off challenges from two defenders before shooting into the net. All to easy for Wolves who have been regular finalists in this competition in recent seasons.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

1959-60 - Part one (Spurs, Tom Finney & Jeff Hall remembered)

Posted by Tony Hutton

WEDNESDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER, 1959                   Attendance 35,600



Potter; Howe, Williams S.G.; Dudley, Kennedy, Barlow (capt);
Hogg, Jackson, Robson, Kevan, Dixon;

Brown; Baker, Hopkins; Blanchflower (capt), Norman, MacKay;
Medwin, Harmer, Smith, Dunmore, Jones;

Referee:- J.S. McLoughlin, Manchester

Tottenham have become known as the new Bank of England team as a result of their many big money signings. Their only expensive capture during the close season however was that of Scottish international goalkeeper Bill Brown from Dundee. So with Welsh international Mel Hopkins at full back, the captains of Ireland and Scotland at wing half and two Welsh international wingers, the Spurs side is really star-studded.

Albion were without three regular performers - Maurice Setters, Ronnie Allen and David Burnside, who were all injured. Jimmy Dudley came in for Setters, Jackson for Burnside and Hogg switched wings to enable young Bobby Dixon from Workington to come in for Allen. The two teams met at White Hart Lane a week ago and Albion would be happy with the 2-2 draw they came home with due to goals from Robson and Kevan.

Both sides took time to settle down and although there was plenty of attractive football it was some time before any scoring attempt was made. Spurs began to get into their stride but Kennedy, Howe and Barlow were all in outstanding form. Robson had the best chance of the first half when put clean through, but Brown diving to his left made a great save near the foot of the post.

After thirty four minutes Spurs went ahead with rather a freak goal. Harmer took a corner on the left wing, the ball was headed back to him and from a position right on the goal line near the corner flag, he lobbed the ball into the middle right under the crossbar. Potter took his eyes of it for a fatal moment as Bobby Smith came charging in and only succeeded in pushing the ball over his head into the net. Half time 0-1.

Soon after the interval Albion almost got an equally freakish equaliser when Hogg centred to the far poast and Baker running back almost breasted it into his own goal. After sixty one minutes Albion did manage to score, a fine run by Dixon, of whom little had been seen so far, ended with a grand cross field pass to Hogg running in near the by line to score with a narrow angled shot which went through Brown's legs.

Hogg, who had a miserable first half was now approaching his normal form and one of his centres started a terrific scramble in the Spurs penalty area, but Kevan could not force his way through the packed Spurs defence in which Norman and MacKay were outstanding. Finally with five minutes left Jones who had been blotted out by Howe, switch wings, dribbled in along the bye line and centred for Smith to nudge the ball home from close range to win the points.




Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Billingham, McPherson, Rawlings;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Thompson; Brown, Troops (capt); McMillan, Doran, Bradley;
Mooney, Walker, McGill, Tulloch, Murray;

Referee:- H.J. Husband, London

Walsall, with five matches played, started this game top of the Fourth Division table and with an unbeaten record. In this grand start to the season inside right Roy Faulkner had scored seven goals. The only newcomer to the side this season is John Christie, the goalkeeper from Southampton. Carlisle included former England 'B' goalkeeper George Thompson, formerly of Manchester City and Preston North End.

Within a minute of the start Walsall were a goal down in tragic circumstances. Haddington raced across to clear an awkward ball, bouncing near the penalty spot, with his left foot and instead of hooking it away, only succeeded in slicing it over Christie's head into the net.

This early setback seemed to upset Walsall for they never settled down and and the expected easy victory was not forthcoming. Carlisle's nippy forwards took advantage of Walsall's shaky defence to get in sever dangerous raids, but their finishing was not up to standard. Half time 0-1.

Walsall did little attacking during the first half but after the interval seemed to be getting into their stride. However the visitors defence in which centre half Doran, a dour uncompromising player, was outstanding proved too much for the struggling Walsall forwards who never found anything like their usual form. It was not all bad play however which prevented the Saddlers from scoring, for they also had more than their fair share of bad luck. Several shots went very close, other were well saved by Thompson and more often than not the Carlisle defenders made seemingly lucky interceptions at the vital moment.

However, there can be no excuse. Walsall should have won and won convincingly at that. This form will certainly not retain their place at the top of the table and it is to be hoped that it will prove to be the exception rather than the rules in a season which could be one of Walsall's best ever.



WALSALL 1  (Faulkner) DARLINGTON 0                                 Attendance 13,124

Christie; Haddington, Guttridge (capt); Billingham, Jones, McPherson;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Turner; Dunn (capt), Henderson; Furphy, Spencer, Poole;
Morton, Downie, Darbyshire, Milner, Redfearn;

Referee:- J.H. Brooks, London

Walsall, still head of the table jointly with Milwall, made a surprise late change as Tim Rawlings was found to be suffering from tonsillitis when he reported to the ground. Albert McPherson, himself just recovered from injury, was therefore brought in as emergency left half. Darlington were captained by former Leeds United full back Jimmy Dunn and also including one time Manchester United star Johnny Downie.

McPherson looked most out of place in a number six shirt, but the wisdom of playing him soon became apparent when Stan Jones suffered an ankle injury and was forced to leave the field midway through the first half. 'Mac' promptly resumed his rightful position at centre half and Ken Hodgkisson moved back to wing half. This obviously unsettled the home side for a time, but Darlington were equally ineffective when it came to playing constructive football. The experienced Dunn was outstanding in Darlington's defence against Walsall's liveliest forward Colin Taylor. Half time 0-0.

After the interval, during which it was announced that Jones had gone to hospital for treatment, it was a different story. Walsall dominated the game and one would have thought it was Darlington who had only ten men. Richards, who had previously missed the best chance of the first half, and Faulkner both had clear runs to goal and both shot just past the post. With Hodgkisson doing two men's work, it was all Walsall but Darlington with goalkeeper Turner in fine form looked as through they would keep them out.

Finally with the crowed roaring them on Walsall staged a grandstand finish. Faulkner took a free kick on the left hand edge of the penalty area, the ball was blocked and returned to him and he let fly a terrific shot all along the ground through the crowded penalty area to finish in the far corner of the net. A great goal and how the crowd roared throughout the remaining ten minutes, during which a great diving save by Turner prevented Richards from adding another goal.



PRESTON NORTH END 4 (Taylor, Finney 2, 1 pen, Smith) MANCHESTER UNITED 0

Else; Cunningham, Walton; Milne, Dunn, Smith;
Mayers, Farrall, Finney (capt), Sneddon, Taylor;

Gregg; Foulkes, Carolan; Violett (capt), Cope, McGuiness;
Bradley, Quixall, Dawson, Charlton, Scanlon;

Referee:- R.H. Windle, Chesterfield

Manchester United, at present struggling through a bad patch, experimented by moving skipper Dennis Violett from centre forward to right half. They brought in young Alex Dawson at centre forward. Preston were also experimenting with veteran winger Tom Finney playing in the unaccustomed role of centre forward.

There was an early fright for United when Finney dribbled round Gregg and passed to Mayers, however Foulkes came to the rescue and headed off the line. After fifteen minutes North End went ahead when Mayers found a way round full back Joe Carolan and centred to Taylor on the left hand edge of the area.
The little winger picked his spot and scored with a well placed low shot;

It was all Preston and Gregg made a splendid flying save from a fierce drive by right half Gordan Milne. United's inside forwards were sadly out of touch and Scanlon only once found his was past the stalwart Cunningham. On this occasion Walton was forced to kick out for a corner but this came to nothing. Finney was not taking things too strenuously but his clever flicks and intelligent use of the ball troubled United's defenders.

In one attack on the left Finney pulled the ball back with sole of his left foot, before chipping it across with his right, only for Mayers to head just wide. Just before half time Gregg completely missed a corner from Mayers. The ball hit Foulkes and was deflected towards goal but Cope was there to head off the line.
Half time 1-0.

In the second half after early United attacks had come to nothing, Preston once again got into their stride. Farrall, the weak link in attack, missed two glorious chances. With Sneddon and Finney scheming well and Mayers doing as he liked with Carolan, North End swamped United during the last quarter of an hour. Finney beat Gregg to the ball, lobbed it over his head, and with the goalkeeper out of position Carolan stopped Mayers' header on the line with his hands. Finney took the penalty and gave Gregg no chance with a low shot which went in off the foot of the post.

Ten minutes later Mayers dribbled round two defenders, pulled the ball back from the bye-line and Sneddon scored with a low shot. Then in the very last minute of the game Mayers again waltzed round Carolan and Finney flung himself at the ball and glanced it with his head right out of Gregg's reach into the corner of the net for goal number four.

Preston, for whom wing halves Milne and Smith had impressive games, gave a grand display and bounced back well from their 5-1 defeat at Spurs last week. It must be said that United are not a shadow of last season's time. Bobby Charlton was unrecognisable and never in the game.



BIRMINGHAM CITY 1 (Larkin) ALL STARS XI 5 (Barrett 3, McIlroy, Clough)

Schofield; Sissons, Farmer; Watts, Smith (capt) (sub Foster), Neal;
Hellawell (sub Astall), Gordon (sub Orritt), Orritt (sub Larkin), Larkin (sub Hume), Hooper;

Gregg (Man Utd & Ireland); Edwards (Charlton & Wales); Wilson (Huddersfield Town);
Adamson (Burnley), Gratrix (Blackpool), Docherty (Arsenal & Scotland, capt);
Medwin (Spurs & Wales), McIlroy (Burnley & Ireland), Clough (Middlesborough), Barrett (Notts Forest),
Mullen (Wolves & England);

Referee:- H.J. Husband, London

The proceeds of this match were for the dependants of Jeff Hall, the City and England full back who died from polio at the end of last season, and for a permanent memorial at the St Andrews ground which will take the form of a scoreboard.

Jeff Hall (Birmingham City and England)

The match also marked the last appearance of Jimmy Mullen, the illustrious Wolves outside left, who has announced his retirement from the game after winning so many trophies with his club as well as appearing several times for England.

Birmingham City, struggling at the foot of the First Division,  have had trouble in scoring goals this season and the reason soon became apparent. Against a very leisurely All Stars defence, they had chances galore during the first half and wasted them all with poor shooting. The main culprits were the terrible twins, Orritt and Larkin, who wasted some fine openings made by Hooper, their best forward.

Hooper, showing exasperation with his young colleagues tried his own luck and was equally unsuccessful. Wilson the much publicised Huddersfield full back, who has won a place in the English League side and has been freely tipped for a place in the full England team, gave a most impressive display. On the other hand Brian Clough, another on the verge of England honours was subdued by Trevor Smith. Half time 0-0.

After the interval, Birmingham made several changes, notably the introduction of an untried youngster Winston Foster in place of Smith at centre half. This move proved disastrous for Blues but at least gave the crowd more entertainment than was available during the first half. Five minutes after the re-start Barrett shot home from a Medwin centre to put the All Stars in front. Another right wing move ended with McIlroy, who had demonstrated some of his most intricate dribbled, also shooting past Schofield in the Birmingham goal.

Then Mullen  passed to word to Docherty that this was his last match and how about a few passes. From that moment on he received a stream of passes that wingers dream about and proceeded to mesmerise poor Sissons at right back for the Blues. After seventy five minutes one of his centres from the left was headed home brilliantly by Clough, who leaped high in the air to beat Schofield.

A similar move ended with Barrett this time flicking the ball home with the back of his head and finally the Notts Forest reserve player, brought in to replace Ivor Allchurch, Newcastle's Welsh international, completed his hat trick after Mullen had yet again dribbled along the goal line.With Gregg dribbling the ball outside the penalty area, Gratrix racing off upfield and everyone trying to lay on a last goal for Mullen, Larkin eventually pulled back a consolation goal for the sorry Blues.



WALSALL 3 (Davies 2, Richards) WATFORD 4 (Uphill, Holton 3)

Christie; Haddington, Sharples; Billingham, McPherson (capt), Rawlings;
Davies, Faulkner, Richards, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Linton; Price, Nicholas; Catleugh, McNiece, Chung;
Benning, Holton, Uphill, Hartle, Bunce;

Referee:- N.N. Hough, Macclesfield

Top of the table Walsall were again without skipper Bill Guttridge, who is suffering from a shoulder injury.
Watford, a side which has improved greatly during the last few matches, were captained by former Arsenal star Cliff Holton who has scored six goals in the last seven games.

In glorious sunshine, quite unlike October, Walsall took the early initiative. The first exciting moment came when Taylor got across a beautiful centre with his right foot and Richards racing in just headed past the post.
Another good header by Richards was well saved by Linton and then the visiting goalkeeper was brought to his knees to save a fierce drive from Taylor.

The outside left was certainly proving Walsall's liveliest forward and when Richards cleverly lobbed the ball in from the left, Taylor running in at full speed hit it on the volley with everything he had, only to see his shot graze the crossbar. Richards also drove over with another good effort, but Watford gradually settled down to play some clever combined football.

After twenty eight minutes the visitors scored, Christie could only palm a way a centre from Bunce, who had eluded Haddington, and Dennis Uphill, the former Spurs player, had an easy job to head the ball into the empty net. Watford with a very strong half back line and a most immaculate looking left back in the former Arsenal junior Nicholas, looked by far the better side. After thirty eight minutes Uphill sent in a hard shot which Christie could not hold and Holton tapped the ball in for another easy goal.

A minute before the interval however Walsall did find the net, when Davies ran in to head home a left wing cross from full back Sharples, the former Villa man, who was having quite a good game. Half time 1-2.

Soon after the interval Walsall very nearly equalised, Richards side-stepped McNeice, a much sought after centre half, and sent in a fierce shot which Linton could not quite hold, it fell behind him but he recovered well to prevent it crossing the line. After fifty eight minutes Watford went further ahead, Holton taking a pass from Catleugh and calmly steering the ball home.

At 3-1 down Walsall were still not finished and kept up their persistent attacks. In one of these Richards was brought down just inside the penalty are by McNeice and after consulting a linesman, the referee awarded a penalty. Billingham, who was not playing left back as Sharples suffering with concussion had gone onto the left wing, strode up to take the kick. To everyone's surprise he drove the ball straight at Linton who had no difficulty in saving. This was Billingham's first miss from the spot for Walsall.

Another piece of bad luck for the league leaders came when Linton failed to hold a powerful shot from Faulkner. The ball spun from his hands and appeared to be crossing the line when Nicholas raced across to kick clear. The crowd and the Walsall forwards all appealed for a goal but the referee waved play on.
However the home side did at last score again after seventy minutes play when Davies unleashed a surprise left foot shot which flew through a crowd of players into the far corner of the net. So 3-2 to Watford.

Walsall's hopes of snatching a draw did not last long as five minutes later Holton strolled through the middle and making goal scoring look easy completed his hat trick. That made it 4-2 to Watford but Walsall still fought back strongly and with just over five minutes to play they made it 4-3. Davies sent over a perfect centre from the right and Richards headed a splendid goal. At this point Nicholas, the Watford left back was hurt. After receiving attention, he hobbled slowly to the centre forward position to kick off, thus holding up the game for some time. Holton moved to left back and gave his side a good example in time wasting by kicking the ball out of play to the farthest extremity of the field.

Walsall tried desperately for a late equaliser, but the referee did not allow any extra time for injuries or the Watford time wasting tactics and so the Saddlers suffered their second home defeat of the season. Although Walsall suffered atrocious bad luck they did not deserve to win by any means and Watford played much superior football. Walsall's weaknesses are hard to define, but no doubt the return of Guttridge will strengthen the defence.

Billingham, apart from missing the vital penalty, had a poor game all round and it is to be hoped that he will recover his form of last season soon. Although Davies scored twice and made the other goal, he did little else right. The return of Askey has been delayed by further injuries when he was already recovering from a cartilage operation and there is no doubt that his skill is badly needed to counterbalance the enthusiasm and hard running of Taylor on the other flank.