Sunday 29 October 2017

Season 1962-63 - Walsall are relegated.

Posted by Tony Hutton

In September 1962 I got married for the first time. This rather curtailed my football watching activities and I only saw a dozen games. I have the results and goal scorers and that is about all. Since then I have managed to retrieve match reports from the Birmingham Post archives.

It was also one of the hardest winters for many years and games were postponed week after week between the middle of December  and the beginning of March. The season was extended to the end of May when I do have the full story of Walsall's relegation back to the Third Division.

Pleased to say that normal service will be resumed for the start of season 1963-64.




Boswell; Gregg, Palin; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Wills, Taylor;

Wood; Atkins, Wilson; Saward, Taylor, Dinsdale;
McHale, White, Stokes, Massie, O'Grady;

Huddersfield who had started the season with a draw at Derby looked as if they meant business.
The visitors' close passing game had the Walsall defence in trouble early on and although McHale had been guilty of one pass too many on a few occasions he eventually got the message and tested Boswell with a stinging shot from the edge of the area.

After only fifteen minutes Huddersfield took the lead when Ray Wilson, playing at his constructive best, cantered upfield to cross a perfect ball for Stokes to flick home. Huddersfield now had all the possession but first Stokes, then Massie and later O'Grady  all ballooned the ball over the bar from close range. Wood was hardly called into action, apart from dealing with back passes, in the first half and Walsall's first effort on goal did not come until the second half. Half time 0-1.

Huddersfield immediately were made to suffer for their missed chances when Tony Richards, now nearing the 200 goal mark for Walsall, put them level after a clever pass from Gordon Wills, the new man from Leicester. Palin started the move and then Wills lobbed the ball down the middle for Richards to volley it on the turn past a startled Ray Wood.

Huddersfield were always able to play their way out of trouble and keep possession whereas Walsall were not as efficient. Wood did well to keep out a tremendous drive from Hodgkisson in the closing minutes and Boswell also did well to dive at McHale's fee. A draw was a fitting result.

SATURDAY 27TH OCTOBER, 1962                                    Attendance 7,353


WALSALL 1 (Taylor) LEEDS UNITED 1 (Johanneson)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Rawlings, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Wills, Taylor;

Sprake; Reaney, Mason; Bell, Charlton, Hunter;
Hawksby, Storrie, Johnson, Collins, Johanneson;

Referee:- N.N. Hough, Littleborough

Leeds United took an early lead through their South African winger Albert Johanneson and looked to be taking both points until Colin Taylor equalised just three minutes before the end with only his second league goal of the season.

Report from Birmingham Post.

If ever there was a game which deserved to end in a draw, it was this meeting of Leeds and Walsall. In all honesty neither team had the ability to merit victory. Without John Charles Leeds lacked inspiration; Walsall merely lacked any inspiration without being able to blame any absentee. Indeed this was a game which brought back recollections of the Third Division (South) days when Walsall were consistently seeking re-election. It also brought present thoughts that unless there is some prompt strengthening of a palpably poor side, Walsall will find themselves on the way down again.

It was left to one player on each side to save the match from being the worst post-war exhibition.
The coloured South African, Johnanneson, on the Leeds left wing stood out like a beacon among flickering candles and it was only justice that he should score the Leeds goal in the 12th minute only seconds after another net-finding shot by him had been disallowed.

Strangely enough the only Walsall player to impress was also their left wing player, Taylor. He had atrocious luck with at least six strong shots but at least fortune smiled on him just three minutes from the end when his free kick was diverted by a defender's legs to gain the equaliser. The game must go down as one of unsure goalkeeping. Between the Leeds uprights young Sprake fumbled more shots than he saved cleanly but he escaped paying a heavy penalty because of the vigilance of Charlton, who had to leave the field with an eye injury before Walsall drew level.

In the home goal Boswell was badly at fault in allowing Johnanneson's shot to pass over his head and later he appeared to drop a shot from Storrie well over the line but escaped as neither linesman or the referee were in position to be sure. All in all this was a match which merited no more support  than the 7,353 spectators - the smallest attendance for many seasons.

SATURDAY 10TH NOVEMBER, 1962                                     Attendance 8,492


WALSALL 1 (Taylor) CHELSEA 5 (Tambling 2, Moore, Dudley o.g., Bridges)

Boswell; Gregg, Palin; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Newton, Taylor;

Bonetti; Shellito, Harris (A); Venables, Mortimore, Upton;
Murray, Tambling, Bridges, Moore, Knox;

Referee:- S.B. Stokes, Nottingham.

These pictures and report are from the following week's Chelsea programme.

 Tambling scores the fifth through the goalkeeper's legs.

The table shows Chelsea at the top of the league with Walsall struggling near the bottom.

Match report from the Birmingham Post.

Walsall's slide towards relegation seems to be taking on the speed of an avalanche. Trounced 5-1 by Chelsea before their own supporters, Walsall have not won one of their last eight games and have conceeded 25 goals while scoring only 5 themselves. Even after making full allowance for an injury to Palin early in the game, Walsall looked a poor side when compared to the slick London team which surely must be heading back to the First Division they left only a season ago.

Walsall's defence, with newcomer Gregg excepted, were hesitant and unsure; their half backs have rarely been so out of touch whereas the attack was no improvement on the goal shy lines seen earlier in the season. It is evident that Walsall must strengthen both attack and defence if they are to stay in the higher company. The writing on the laundry wall is in capital letters after this latest debacle - and if this is not enough then the attendance of 8,492 indicates that support as well as points is being lost.

As an entertainment this game had almost everything. In the opening minute Walsall took the lead through Taylor, seconds later Moore headed the equaliser during a Chelsea raid in which Palin was injured and carried off on a stretcher. Before Palin resumed fifteen minutes later Chelsea, aided by home defensive mistakes, had taken a 4-1 lead. It was Walsall's left half Dudley who gave Chelsea the lead after six minutes when he put an overhead kick into his own net and four minutes later the same player mis-hit a clearance straight to Bridges who had no trouble in finding the net.

One more minute and Tambling headed in a centre from the right wing. At full strength again in the 20th minute Walsall were again penned in their own half and in the 26th minute Tambling put the result without doubt with a low shot which passed through the goalkeeper's legs. Light relief to this slaughter of the Walsall innocents came with the antics of a small dog which defied all efforts to catch him.

In the second half Chelsea were quite content to slow things down and as a result Walsall came back into the game. Chances were made but wasted by erratic finishing and it was all so clear that Walsall must stop talking about getting new players and make some actual signings.

SATURDAY 24TH NOVEMBER, 1962                           Attendance 27,050



Match report from the Birmingham Post.

On the Merseyside, where they have a logic that is all their own, there is a saying that Labone of Everton may be the best centre half in England, but he is not the best centre half in Liverpool. Down Anfield Road way they give that distinction to Ron Yeats. At St Andrews on Saturday Yeats led and marshalled a defensive action that was brilliantly precise and uncompromising and which was also the main reason why Birmingham, who deserved much better, were beaten at home for the first time this season.

City had Stubbs injured after eight minutes and handicapped for the rest of the game. Yet they needed no excuses. The reason for their defeat was simply that Yeats wrecked their best moves and threw back all the pace and passion that Birmingham could muster. The support for Yeats was complete. How difficult it is to beat a team whose defence does not make a single mistake. As their hottest attacks expired before Yeats, so the momentum was turned against them, twice to bring goals to that nifty finisher Hunt. Both of them came at a time when City's pressure was most fierce.

Birmingham were on top in the second half when Watts with one magnificent pass to Hellawell, began the most memorable of many fine moves. Hellewell at full tilt, crossed for Leek to head hard and true for the corner. Lawrence was supposed to have had no chance but he reached across with one hand and turned it aside. This was City's best moment, the climax to all their endeavours but it was still not good enough.

The kept at it and after Leek had missed their only other worthwhile chance they were allowed, Liverpool almost predictably bounced back for Melia and St. John to create a goal for Hunt. Birmingham were still pressing hard when, so simply from a throw in, Hunt was put away while the defence waited for an off side decision, and the inside right tied up the match with a neat right foot flick.  

SATURDAY 8TH DECEMBER, 1962                      Attendance 5,451


WALSALL 3 (Richards 2, Eastham og.) BURY 1 (Calder)

Boswell; Hill, Gregg; Dudley, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Wiggins, Richards, Taylor;

Harker; Robertson, Eastham; Turner, Stokoe, Atherton;
Mayers, Jones, Calder, Beaumont, Barclay;

Referee:- R.E. Smith, Newport, Mon.

Report from Birmingham Post.

The ability of Richards to make the most of the slightest of chances was the vital factor in Walsall's victory over Bury, possessors of the safest defence in the whole of the Football League. Welcome though these two points were in the fight against relegation, Walsall should have no need of complacency nor should their search for marksmen grow any less urgent. The fact that they were able to claim both points was as much attributable to the ineffectiveness of Bury's forwards than to anything else.

In the first half hour Calder, Beaumont and Jones all failed to beat Bowell from the easiest of positions.
The inability of the visitors to press home their advantage gradually gave Walsall the confidence they had formally lacked. In the 34th minute Meek sent over a cross which Richards headed home and within a minute Taylor crossed a low centre from the left which Eastham ran into his own net.

Eight minutes later the whole Bury defence stood still expecting an off side decision against Richards.
The whistle did not blow and Richards was able to pick his spot. Well served by wing halves and wing forwards Bury could still have made a fight of it if their inside men had been anything like on form.
As it was when Calder did score, during a goalmouth melee in the 64th minute, Walsall had gained a winning hold they never looked like losing.

No man played a bigger part in Walsall's win than Hill who is developing as a full back as he did at wing half. The attendance of 5.451 was Walsall's lowest of the season.

  SATURDAY  15TH DECEMBER, 1962                            Attendance 36,558



Tony Marchi replaced Danny Blanchflower at number four for Spurs. Malcom Beard replaced Watts in the Birmingham side.

Report from the Birmingham Post by Cyril Chapman.

It was a particularly bitter pill for Birmingham City to swallow. After having a goal disallowed at a crucial time half way during the second half, they watched Spurs themselves snatch victory with two 
unexpected goals, the second of which coming beyond the full ninety minutes if amateur timekeepers are to be believed.

In this kind of match, exciting from first to last and with each playing throwing himself into the fray as if his life depended on it, there ought not to be a losing side. Here, if there had to be a points decision it should have gone in favour of Birmingham, who pitched their endeavour on a slightly higher plane all through. How galling then for City to see Spurs snatch the match from them so outrageously when the large crowd was already easing towards the exits.

After an hour most of us were resigned to a game without goals, though the contest has been so roundly and sportingly joined and the fare so satisfying that only a glutton would have needed the extra course.
Both forward lines had been a trifle negligent during the first half, Tottenham's when Greaves put the ball outside while defenders stood rigid awaiting an offside decision which never came, and City's when Leek headed the ball away from goal instead of into it.

Other and more accurate scoring attempts had been well and truly dealt with by the two goalkeepers. Withers surpassing himself with a full length save from Greaves and Brown twice suffering injury in checking Leek before stopping a shot from Auld which made him wring his hand as if handling a red hot poker. Jones might have scored for Spurs during this half and he neglected a similar opportunity after half time when Tottenham began to put on the kind of pressure which looked as though it might put Birmingham's backs to the wall.

Here it was that the new found strength of the Birmingham defence became apparent, with Green making a heart warming first appearance at left back. The half back line was splendid too, and if there was negligence later this it could be put down to the whole team over reaching themselves in an all-out match winning endeavour as first Spurs were repulsed and then thrown back on the defensive.

A tremendous wave of applause which greeted the seemingly good goal which Trevor Smith headed in from a Bloomfield right wing corner kick turned to groans as the referee, Mr N.N. Hough of Littleborough awarded Spurs a free kick on the ground that the City centre half had charged too freely into his scoring position. It looked a harsh decision, for Smith undoubtedly played the ball and did not seem to prevent an opponent from doing so first. Perhaps City were a trifle fortunate a moment or two later when Greaves was tripped in the penalty area and the referee gave them the benefit of the doubt.

But the dice then rolled the other way when first Greaves nipped in to give Spurs the lead, with only a minute or so to go, and then a shot from Harris struck the goalpost with Brown, for once a defeated onlooker. There hardly appeared time for anything other than a disgusted snort from the City supporters but the Birmingham defenders got themselves into a tangle and Smith scored a second goal for Tottenham.

This was a decidedly happy result for Spurs, who moved much to sluggishly all through the game to stamp their usual dominance on it at any stage, and a sad blow for City, particularly for such players as Auld and Harris who struggled with might and main to give Birmingham that added impetus need to push the strong Tottenham defence into error.       



WALSALL 0 MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Harley)                       Attendance 11,553

Boswell; Sharples, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Richards, Taylor;

City team:- Dowd; Betts, Sear; Benson, Leivers, Pardoe;
Dobing, Kennedy, Harley, Hannah, Wagstaffe.

Referee:- H.P. Hackney, Barnsley.

This third round cup tie was originally scheduled for Saturday 5th January, but the date on the programme was Wednesday 30th January, after several postponements due to the wintry weather.
However the bad weather continued and the match was eventually played on Wednesday 6th March.

It was not a particularly memorable game, Manchester City were always in control and won the game by a single goal scored by centre forward Alex Harley.

Report from the Birmingham Post.

A lack of finishing power against the much vaunted Manchester City 2-5-3 plan lead to Walsall's dismissal from the F.A. Cup at Fellows Park last night. An early goal by Harley in one of City's rare attacks was sufficient. Things might have been vastly different if a first minute shot by O'Neill had gone in instead of hitting a post, for the inspiration of an early goal would have been just what Walsall needed.

Throughout the second half, when they were kicking down the slope, Walsall mounted attack after attack, broken only by isolated raids from the City forwards. The Manchester defence held firm, helped by Walsall's own inability to build on their determined progress in midfield.

A splendid passing movement in the first minute almost brought a goal for Walsall. O'Neill's shot from ten yards hitting a goalpost with Dowd well beaten.The ball went from Dudley, Hodgkisson and Richards for O'Neill to take it in his stride. City's 2-5-3 plan was causing Walsall little trouble at this stage. The home side were quicker to the ball and Taylor lifted a shot just over the City bar. Richards then headed wide from a free kick by Hill.

The first dangerous City attack came after twelve minutes when Dobing found Harley on the right. Sharples cleared confidently when Hannah looked dangerous from the centre forward's cross and a moment later Boswell was forced to tip over a fierce shot from the inside left. Another good move by Dobing gave City the lead after fifteen minutes. Again he veered to the left to beat two defenders and took the ball almost to the line before putting it across to Harley who was standing unmarked in front of goal. The centre forward had an easy task to score.

On the heavily sanded pitch Walsall's early verve began to fade but O'Neil kept their hopes alive with a determined run and a shot which brought Dowd to his knees. As the first half continued Walsall's tactics became difficult to understand. Although they had as much of the play territorially they persisted in trying to work the ball through the thick mud in midfield strange tactics against the closely knit City defence.

Four minutes after the resumption O'Neill was carried off with a leg injury after a tackle by Leivers. He limped back on three minutes later with a bandage covering his right ankle and instep but managed to take his normal position. Another heavy tackle by Wagstaffe on Meek displeased the crowd. Some discussion must have taken place in the home dressing room during the interval for Walsall were now employing the whole field of play, Taylor causing some trouble to Dowd with a cross shot.

They kept up a constant pressure but the cohesion and thrust needed to produce the required result was lacking at the vital moments. Fifteen minutes from the end Richards almost did the trick with an unexpected back header from a long through pass by Hodgkisson. The effort nearly beat Dowd's late dive. 



WALSALL 2 (Taylor, Meek) PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 2 (McParland, Carter)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill (capt), Eden, Dudley;
Meek, O'Neill, Wiggin, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Leiper; Roberts, Davis; Reeves, Newman (capt), Buckingham;
Corbett, McAnearney, Carter, O'Neill, McParland;

Referee:- T.W. Dawes, Norwich

After the long winter break which had seen seven successive league games postponed during January and February, Walsall had a very poor run of form which has seen them lose their seven matches and they now find themselves at the bottom of the league.

In this game they did at least salvage one point with a much changed side with local youngster Wiggin at centre forward in place of Tony Richards, the club's record goal scorer who has been transferred to Port Vale. Richards scored 196 goals for the club thus beating previous record holder Gilbert Alsop's total of 165. He has been a consistent goal scorer throughout his nine years with the club since he was signed by then manager Major Frank Buckley. He twice scored 36 goals in a season and will be missed by all Saddlers followers.

Report from Birmingham Post.

Walsall ended a disastrous run of seven consecutive defeats at Fellows Park last night. It was a game packed with thrills. When Plymouth well served by the former Midlanders McParland, Alan O'Neil and Carter, went into a two goal lead early in the second half few would have given much chance to Walsall being able to salvage a point. In a grandstand rally however Walsall drew level in a tremendous four minute spell and came near to achieving their first victory since December 8th.

Walsall opened as determined to wipe out the memory of recent disappointments. Clever work by Meek brought him past two defenders before he crossed the ball to O'Neill who shot straight into Leiper's arms. It took Plymouth ten minutes to stage their first real danger move. McParland burst down the left wing and his strong centre was only just flicked for a corner by Eden with Carter in close attendance.

Plymouth's next move brought them the lead after fifteen minutes. When Alan O'Neil centred from the right Carter jumped over the ball allowing McParland to get in an unchallenged drive to beat Boswell.
Walsall fought back strongly and had much the better of exchanges in the first half. But they wasted many hard won chances. The second half began in a blaze of incident. When McParland put the ball up the centre with only one minute gone Boswell and Eden got in a terrible mix up and enabled Carter to calmly tap the ball through the goalkeeper's legs to increase Plymouth's lead.

Inside four minutes Walsall had drawn level. In the 49th minute Hill gave Taylor an opening on goal and the winger's shot was in the goal before Leiper could move. Straight from the kick off Taylor made ground on the left before crossing the ball where Meek was able to turn it into the Plymouth net. It was an amazing recovery and Taylor was unlucky not to put Walsall in front with another powerful drive.



WALSALL 2 (Newton, O'Neill) CARDIFF CITY 1 (King)

Boswell; Palin, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

John; Stitfall, Edwards; Williams, Peck, Hole;
McIntosh, Tapscott, Fraser, King, Hooper;

Referee:- K.R. Tuck, Chesterfield

Another valuable two points for the Saddlers in yet another close battle against a Cardiff side full of Welsh internationals. Newton put them ahead in the first half and they led 1-0 at the interval. King equalised for Cardiff, but O'Neill who has not really settled into the side got the vital winner.

Report from Birmingham Post.

Goals by Newton and O'Neill to which Cardiff could only reply once, improved Walsall's chance of avoiding relegation and incidentally marked up the club's first home victory of the year. It was not a game for the purists. There were frequent infringements for petty offences for which Cardiff must take much of the blame and Walsall's attack was not inspiring against a defence which was often as wide open as the proverbial barn door.

When Newton headed Walsall ahead after nineteen minutes hopes were high that this might encourage the home side to greater initiative. That this was not so was mainly due to the wing halves failure to link up with the attack and accurate passing was a rare spectacle. After Cardiff had drawn level in the 77th minute - King having tapped the ball into the net with the Walsall rearguard floundering hopelessly, it appeared that Walsall were doomed once again to concede a valuable home point but nine minutes from the end the best move of the match had it's reward. 

Hodgkisson and Meek split the Cardiff defence and O'Neil slid the ball into the unguarded net. Spectators who had not already lost heart and left stayed to cheer Walsall to even greater effort, but Cardiff were not caught napping again.



WALSALL 3 (Newton, O'Neill, Meek) NORWICH CITY 1 (Allcock)

Boswell; Palin, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

Jones; Kelly, Ashman; Burton, Metcalf, Mullett;
Sutton, Bryceland, Allcock, Hill, Miller;

Referee:- J. Mitchell, Prescot, Lancs.



WALSALL 0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0 (Game abandoned at half time - torrential rain)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

Wakeham; Sewell, Hewie; Lucas, Tocknell, Edwards;
Kenning, Peacock, Ryan, Kinsey, Durandt;

Referee: G.D. Roper, Swaffem Prior, Cambridge.

This vital game, which if Charlton won would save them and send Walsall back into the Third Division, was played on my birthday. However at half time the sky turned black and an absolute
torrential downpour flooded the pitch and the match was abandoned. It was hastily re-arranged for the night of Friday 24th May, just three days later. The season had already been severely prolonged because of the hard winter in January and February.

Report from Birmingham Post by Cyril Chapman.

A heavy thunderstorm just before half time in this battle for survival at Fellows Park last night caused the abandonment of the match and left the two clubs teetering on the edge of relegation until Friday evening when the re-arranged match will be played. Thunder and lightning were perhaps an appropriate background for a nerve wracking encounter like this, but the rain which quickly converted the pitch into a lake was a most unwelcoming accompaniment.

A quarter of an hour after the second half should have begun the referee Mr G.D. Roper of Cambridge, inspected the pitch and said he would look at it again in five minutes time. The rain was still tumbling down and one end of the ground was completely awash when he made his second inspection and he called off the match. It was so obvious that the game could not continue that it was a wonder so many of the large crowd - the biggest of the season- remained to hear the verdict. 

When the times went in at half time neither had scored although Walsall should have had a respectable lead. Nerves had been taut from the start and a lot of the shooting suggested that the teams had been more concerned in getting the ball as far as possible from their own goal rather than putting it into the net of their opponents. Charlton with the stiffest task (they had to win the game to stay in the Second Division) were nevertheless the more composed for a while, but after twenty minutes came under heavy siege.

O'Neill had one chance which should not have been missed in such a crucial game. He shot outside when a goal seemed inevitable. Then Hodgkisson put the ball on the railway when Charlton again feared the worst. Finally Newton shot against the crossbar. Only occasionally could Charlton strike.
Their best opportunity came when Durandt, the former Wolves winger, forced Boswell to a full length save. The Londoners would have had the benefit of the slope if play had continued and Walsall might well have had cause to regret those earlier misses. 


LEAGUE DIVISION TWO AT FELLOWS PARK, WALSALL                 Attendance 16,761

WALSALL 1 (Taylor) CHARLTON ATHLETIC 2  (Peacock, Kenning)

This was the night when everything went wrong for Walsall. They had looked confident to get at least the point they needed to avoid relegation in the first match, so sadly abandoned after the torrential downpour at half time.

The story of this memorable game is vividly told by Geoff Allman in his excellent book 'Walsall F.C. - Fifty of the finest matches' published in 2002 re-printed here.

This truly was the saddest night in Walsall's long history. As they played the long list of postponed games from one of the severest winters on record, they had pulled off one or two excellent results -
a 1-0 win at Chelsea, a 2-0 win at Newcastle and a 3-1 home win against Norwich. This left them with everything to play for in the last game against Charlton. A draw or win would keep Walsall up and Charlton would go down, together with Luton.

They seemed to be well on the way to safety when the first half of the game was played on Tuesday 21st May. They dominated the game and, although it was still 0-0 at half time, they just didn't look like losing. Then came a cloudburst, and the game had to be abandoned, with 18,820 fans going home soaked to the skin and bitterly disappointed.

The game was hastily rearranged for the following Friday and initially, things again looked good for Walsall. They set off towards the Laundry End like men inspired. George Meek shot just over, and then Graham Newton hit the underside of the bar and, as the ball came back in his direction, he too shot just high. Then Newton raced through and as he collided with Charlton goalkeeper Peter Wakeham, the ball rolled into the net. The crowd roared, but referee Roper's whistle had sounded for offside and, worse still, Newton lay injured.

His right Achilles tendon had been injured in the collision and, even with heavy strapping he was a limping passenger. In those pre-substitute days, however, he breavely stayed on the field and Walsall looked capable of a at least a point, right up until a minute before half time. It was then that Alan Boswell's cheekbone was cracked in a goalmouth collision. He tried to play on, but was seeing double, and was taken to the general hospital, where he listened to most of the second half on hospital radio.

Bravely, his team-mates battled on. Tim Rawlings was just wide with one great drive but after fifty-five minutes, defender John Sewell set Keith Peacock up for the latter to beat Granville Palin, who was doing his best in goal. After sixty-three minutes, former Aston Villa and Shrewsbury winger Mike Kenning went past John Sharples and Albert McPherson to make it 2-0.

Walsall still battled on and, with eighteen minutes to go, Ken Hodgkisson and the limping Graham Newton played a one-two, before slipping the ball to Colin Taylor who powered his shot home. There was still time for a miracle, and Walsall gave their all and dominated the closing stages, but it was not to be. 'They'll be back' said a disappointed fan, as he left the ground. But it took another twenty-seven years and, by the start of the following season, Alan Boswell (to Shrewsbury), Ken Hill (to Norwich), Colin Taylor (to Newcastle) and Tim Rawlings (to Port Vale) had all moved on.

It was not much comfort to Walsall at the time, but before the triumphant Charlton party left, their manager Frank Hill pointed out that in January 1933, he had been in the Arsenal side knocked out of the FA Cup by Walsall, while goalkeeper Peter Wakeham recalled his own agonies on a Thursday evening in September 1949, when, as a Torquay junior, he had heard that his side had been beaten 7-1 by Walsall.

Saturday 28 October 2017

1961-62 - Part seven (FA Cup semi-final Burnley v Fulham)

Posted by Tony Hutton



BURNLEY 1 (Leggat)  FULHAM 1 (Connelly)                          Attendance 59,989

Blacklaw; Angus, Elder; Adamson, Cummings, Miller;
Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Harris;

Macedo; Cohen, Langley; Mullery, Dodgin, Lowe;
Leggat, Henderson, Cook, Haynes, O'Connell;

Referee:- W. Clements, Birmingham

Fulham, struggling to avoid relegation, could not have imagined when they beat Walsall in a fourth round replay that they would be just one match from Wembley at this stage of the season. However here they were, but very much underdogs against the powerful Burnley side who are currently First Division leaders.

Fulham began well in bright sunshine and took the game to Burnley, who seemed strangely hesitant.
Centre forward Cook twice went close with headers, once following one of Langley's long throws and then Blacklaw made a brilliant save when Cook headed on Langley's corner. McIlroy, the brains of the Burnley attack took an early knock and had to receive treatment. This seemed to slow him down somewhat and Fulham remained on top.

After 28 minutes as the sunshine turned to sleet Cook and Haynes combined to put Leggat through and he scored with a left foot shot from 15 yards. The pitch was now white all over with sleet and hail and the huge crowd on the uncovered Holte terrace were in for a soaking. Blacklaw was continually in action in the Burnley goal first blocking a shot from O'Connell and then sticking out a foot to stop a point blank effort from Johnny Haynes. Connelly lead two brief raids at the other end but Fulham had been by far the better side. Half time Burnley 0 Fulham 1.

The snowstorm continued for a few minutes at the start of the second half and then to the relief of the fans it stopped. No sooner had it done so Burnley went level a square ball from McIlroy, still limping somewhat, found Connelly who scored from ten yards. Fulham came back strongly straight away as the snow began to fall again. The players were finding it difficult to keep their footing and Burnley were finding it hard going against the likes of Mullery and Cohen who both had fine games.

In the last ten minutes Burnley had two opportunities to score the winner and missed them both. First McIlroy put Pointer clear down the middle, he raced through outpacing the defenders only to finish with a drive which went just inches over the bar. The five minutes from the end Robson missed a great opportunity when he headed a great cross just wide. Fulham had been the better side throughout and must have felt hard done to with only a draw.

(The replay took place at Filbert Street, Leicester on 9th April and Burnley went through to the final by winning 2-1. Details of the Final when they played Spurs will follow later).



WALSALL 1 (Meek) LEEDS UNITED 1 (Johanneson)              Attendance 9,005

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Foster, Richards, Taylor;

Younger; Hair, Mason; Goodwin, Charlton, Smith;
Bremner, Collins, Lawson, Peyton, Johnanneson;

Referee:- H. Richards, Oldham

Both teams struggled to control the ball in a heavy cross wind and far too many balls were hit into the air when a pass along the ground was called for. Lowly placed Leeds were still in danger of relegation to the Third Division and their star man proved to be South African winger Albert Johnanneson, whose speedy runs down the left had the Walsall defence in trouble. Indeed with a bit of luck he could have had a hat-trick.

As it was Walsall took the lead after 24 minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Taylor mis-kicked and sliced his shot across goal, where Meek collected and hit a hard shot into the net after being deflected off the diving goalkeeper. Leds came more into the game after this and Goodwin hit the post and Boswell saved well from a fierce drive by Johnanneson. Meek went close at the other end and Tommy Younger, the Leeds goalkeeper needed attention after the ball struck him in the midriff.

Younger soon recovered his breath and did well to finger tip a 30 yard swerving effort from Colin Taylor over the bar. Just before the interval the dangerous Johanneson had a great chance for Leeds. He ran onto a defence splitting pass and his hard shot was blocked by Boswell. The rebound went straight back to him but he lofted it high over the bar when he seemed certain to equalise.
Half time 1-0.

In the second half Leeds began to play the better football, despite the high wind and it was backs to the wall time for the Walsall defenders. Boswell had to race out of goal to stop Johanneson again and had to boot the ball out of play. Younger was injured again when he got a knock in the ribs as Foster tried to head in a Richards cross. Both sets of forwards struggled in the windy conditions and the game deteriorated as both teams missed several good chances.

In the 75th minute Boswell could only palm the ball out. It went straight to Johanneson who hit it back just inside the far post from a narrow angle. With Leeds now on level terms they went all out for the winner. Boswell had to push an effort from Lawson over the bar but Walsall managed to hold out for the draw despite constant late pressure from Leeds.

(Walsall finished their up and down season in a satisfactory 14th place certainly managing to hold their own in the division. Leeds finished in 19th place just three points away from relegation)


F.A. CUP FINAL AT WEMBLEY  (On Television)           Attendance 100,000

TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 3 (Greaves, Smith, Blanchflower pen) BURNLEY 1 (Robson)

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Norman, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones;

Blacklaw; Angus, Elder; Adamson (capt), Cummings, Miller;
Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Harris;

Referee:- J. Finney, Hereford

This start to the Cup Final obviously gave Spurs the edge yet Alan Hoby of the Sunday Express did not pick Jimmy Greaves as man of the match, nor did he pick skipper Danny Blanchflower whose stroking and caressing of the ball he described as sheer poetry. He also considered 'The Ghost' as inside forward John White was known and the Scottish warrior Dave Mackay known to the fans as 'The Tank'. Hoby's selection was giant centre half Maurice Norman, who in the past has been accused of defects of temperament and tecnique. Going a bit over the top Hoby said Norman bestrode the middle like a mountain peak in his task of subduing the dangerous Ray Pointer.

Goal number one for Jimmy Greaves.

So with Pointer to some extent bottled up it was left to mid field maestros McIlroy and Footballer of the Year Jimmy Adamson to try other avenues of attack. Harris hit one over the bar and Robson had a header saved with ease by the capable Bill Brown in the Spurs goal. Spurs had a scare when Mackay went down injured but the tough Scot was soon back in action after treatment. John White then tried a lob which Blacklaw saved well under the bar but Burnley were on top just before the interval and the game was by no means over. Half time Spurs 1 Burnley 0.

Five minutes after the interval Burnley were level and it was a mistake from the normally immaculate John White who tried to flick the ball to Mackay but left him stranded. Pointer was away and gave the ball to Harris on the left who turned a short pass inside for Robson to score easily. The Burnley supporters found their voice and the North had come from behind to rock the South back on it's sophisticated heels. Not for long though.

Goal number two for Bobby Smith.

White was immediately away down the left after the kick off and floated a beautiful ball into the middle and there was centre forward Bobby Smith, with socks around his ankles, taking the ball from Tommy Cummings he went round him with a double shuffle and hammered the ball home. 2-1 to Spurs and now it was Burnley back on their heels. They came back though with Adamson and McIlroy scheming away in midfield. Connelly missed a golden chance with an open goal, then Robson missed another and even though Bobby Smith was by now limping after a fierce Cummings challenge Spurs were in control.

Eight minutes from the end a slice of luck ended Burnley's hopes. Greaves who had made little impact in the second half slipped a nice ball through to Medwin on the left, who passed it on to White. His immaculate cross found a group of Burnley defenders jumping to clear and the linesman flagged as Smith appeared to have impeded goalkeeper Blacklaw. Referee Finney ignored this signal and waved play on so Medwin shot for goal and the ball struck the unfortunate Cummings who was standing on the goal line. Referee Finney had no doubt - handball by Cummings and a penalty to Spurs.

Goal number three from Blanchflower.

Danny Blanchflower, the Spurs captain, took the kick with his usual precision, sending Blacklaw the wrong way and the ball into the opposite corner of the net. 3-1 to Spurs and the game was all over.
Sadly Burnley had not risen to the occasion and Spurs after their double triumph last season had the confidence to perform on the biggest of stages.


Thursday 26 October 2017

1961-62 - Part five (Spurs in the Midlands)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Having been pre-occupied with Walsall for most of the season so far it made a change to go to Molineux to see Wolves, who had been struggling for once this season, entertain double winners Spurs. So far Villa and West Brom. were the top two Midland teams in the First Division with Wolves and Birmingham City both in the bottom half of the table. Wolves, having lost 7-2 in their last league match at Blackpool and then knocked out of the cup by local rivals West Bromwich, were looking for a revival.



WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 3 (Wharton, McParland, Crowe)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 1 (White)                                                    Attendance 45,687

Davies; Stuart, Thompson; Kirkham, Slater (capt), Flowers;
Wharton, Crowe, Murray, Broadbent, McParland;

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Norman, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Allen, Greaves, Jones;

Referee:- H.P. Hackney, Barnsley

Wolves, only two points off the two relegation places, introduced two new signings Peter McParland, the Irish international winger, from Aston Villa and inside forward Chris Crowe from Blackburn. Spurs on the other hand were beginning to reproduce their form of last season, when they won the double, with the recent introduction of Jimmy Greaves from Chelsea. They were now second in the league just two points behind leaders Burnley.

Today however, the form book went out of the window and Wolves for once played with their old determination. It was not just the two newcomers who brought added zest as the rest of the forward line, all played as if inspired. Wolves were well on top and deserved their early lead which came after fifteen minutes. McParland made a characteristic run down the left before being knocked off the ball, but he recovered his footing and sent over an excellent cross which Wharton, not the tallest of men, headed past Brown into the net. Wolves continued to attack and Spurs had Brown to thank for two excellent saves.

Spurs did fight back very quickly when the Scotsman John White took a pass from Allen and hit a wonderful 20 yard goal over goalkeeper Davies to make it 1-1. Soon after this Les Allen was injured in a fierce tackle from Crowe and had to move onto the right wing with Medwin taking over at centre forward. Crowe was already becoming a firm favourite with the crowd and was always in the action but the other new boy McParland scored the next goal with a flying header from Wharton's right wing cross. Half time 2-1.

Spurs still had the limping Allen on the right wing at the start of the second half  (remember no substitutes were allowed at this time). The visitors continued to attack and after a series of hard tackles from full back Stuart, they appealed strongly for a penalty when Jones was sent flying inside the area. Greaves led the protests, which were of no avail, and got booked for his pains.

Just when Spurs seemed to be getting back into the game Wolves scored a third and probably decisive goal. Murray broke clear when Mackay misheaded the ball, but as Norman was about to tackle him turned the ball inside to Crowe, already a new hero, who calmly stroked the ball past Brown. 3-1 and surely were assured of the points now. Wolves attacked for much of the rest of the game but failed to add to their score.

Spurs did not lie down and Mackay in particular had two long range efforts, one saved by the young goalkeeper Davies and another which went narrowly wide. Spurs were no doubt handicapped by the injury to Allen, but were already behind when that happened. Wing half Kirkham should also be congratulated for keeping Jimmy Greaves out of the action for most of the game. As it was the whole crowd rose as one to salute the Wolves at the end of the game - a rare sight indeed this season.



WALSALL 2 (Taylor 2) HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (McHale, Balderstone)

Boswell; Palin, Guttridge; Hill, McPherson (capt), Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Foster, Richards, Taylor;

Wood; Atkins, Wilson; Saward, Coddington, Dinsdale;
McHale, White, Stokes, Balderstone, O'Grady;

Referee:- A.W. Sparling, Grimsby

The League Table before today's match with Walsall just having slipped into the bottom half.

Walsall were still trying to find a replacement centre forward for injured Tommy Wilson and this time tried local lad Trevor Foster, normally a winger or inside forward. Meek replaced Askey on the right wing for the Saddlers. Huddersfield included Len White signed from Newcastle on Monday at inside right. Huddersfield had a few other big names in goalkeeper Ray Wood, formerly with Manchester United, Ray Wilson at left back, Irishman Pat Saward at right half and Yorkshire cricketer Chris Balderstone at inside left.

Walsall had an early fright when McHale easily beat Guttridge on the right wing and flashed the ball across the goalmouth where Stokes missed the ball completely with the goal at his mercy. Walsall then took the lead after only seven minutes when a defensive mix up left Colin Taylor with only the goalkeeper to beat. His first shot came back to him off Wood, but he smashed the second attempt into the far corner of the net.

For the rest of the first half Walsall dominated possession and had several good chances which all went astray until the 36th minute when Taylor scored again after a defensive blunder by Coddington as Hodgkisson found Rchards, who flicked it into the area. George Meek let the ball run to Taylor who this time hit a hard right foot shot past Wood. Five minutes later Huddersfield pulled one back when the Walsall defence failed to clear a left wing cross and McHale scored with a perfect right foot shot. Half time 2-1.

Huddersfield caught Walsall cold in the first minute of the second half when Stokes rounded McPherson and put across a perfect ball from the bye line and a defender's attempted clearance struck Balderstone and bounced in off his chest before Boswell could get to it. 2-2 and all to play for. However the game seemed to deteriorate from this point onwards  with Walsall's forwards unable to click into gear. I got even worse when a terrific thunderstorm drenched the ground and the crowd.

During this downpour Len White nearly scored the winner for the visitors but Palin somehow managed to clear off the line. Boswell did well in the Walsall goal during this period but the home side, despite frantic attempts to get the winner, were thwarted by the other goalkeeper Ray Wood who kept his nerve and defied everything Walsall threw at him in the final stages.



ASTON VILLA 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 0                       Attendance 50,063

Sims; Lee, Aitken; Crowe, Sleeuwenhoek, Deakin;
MacEwan, McMorran, Thomson, Hale, Burrows;

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Marchi, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Dyson;

These two teams have been drawn together in the sixth round of the F.A. Cup next month so tonight was something of a rehearsal for the game at White Hart Lane. The visitors were without three regulars centre half Norman, Les Allen and Cliff Jones but still fielded a very strong side. The Villa took the game to them right from the word go and only poor finishing stopped them from being well in the lead. Perhaps they missed chief goalscorer Derek Dougan but their attacking game soon got the vast crowd behind them. They bombarded the Spurs goal but a combination of their very agile goalkeeper Bill Brown and the barrier of defenders in front of him kept them out.

Spurs perhaps had the best chance of the game when Medwin crossed, only for it to be missed by Bobby Smith in the middle. It ran to left winger Terry Dyson but he could only hit the post. Mackay played his usual tough game for Spurs and was repeatedly penalised for fouls, becoming a target for the Villa crowd. A great long distance shot from Bobby Smith had Nigel Sims scrambling across the goal to save, but Spurs were nearly always on the back foot throughout the game. The vital goal would not come yet Villa will fancy their chances in the forthcoming cup tie after a really fighting performance.

In another game played that night Manchester United beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in a fifth round replay 2-0 in front of a crowd of 65,009.

(Villa in fact lost the cup tie 2-0 at White Hart Lane in March and Spurs went on to win the cup for the second season in succession by beating Burnley in the final).