Saturday, December 2 – 1939
Match: Football League, Western Region, at Anfield, kick-off: 14:30.
Liverpool – Everton 2-2 (0-2).
Attendance: 3,000 at the start, 8,000 in the second half.
Referee: Mr. G.V. Salmon.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Arthur Riley, Tommy Cooper, Jack Tennant, Matt Busby, Tom Bush, Jimmy McInnes, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Phil Taylor, Willie Fagan, Jack Balmer, Herman van den Berg.
Everton (2-3-5): Ted Sagar, George Jackson, George Saunders, Maurice Lindley, Tommy Jones, Gordon Watson, Jack Davies, Stan Bentham, Robert Bell, Alex Stevenson, Wally Boyes.
The goals: 0-1 Davies (2 min.), 0-2 Stevenson (35 min.), 1-2 Nieuwenhuys (50 min.), 2-2 Fagan (Pen., 51 min.).
Everton did exceptionally well to play a drawn match with Liverpool in the first war-time competitive game between the sides. Everything was in Liverpool’s favour –they had the stronger side, the benefit of playing on their own ground –yet the reserves talent of the other’s fitted in so well there was never a great deal in it. Taking a two goals lead in the first-half, Everton might conceivably have held on for victory, but once Liverpool found the game swinging in their favour they scored twice in a minute, and in the end were going all out for the goal that would have made the match theirs. There have been many less acceptable peace-time clashes of these neighbour. Without bonus and the usual incentive to win, both sides played sternly for what honours there were to be won. In conditions that did not favour good football, 8,000 spectators were kept interested at all times.
Stevenson’s Fine Judgement.
All the goals were remarkable in their way, and none more than Stevenson’s Everton’s second. This was a triumph for quick thinking, yet there must have been hardly one person on the ground who did not see the possibility of a goal at the same time as the scorer. Riley went to the edge of the penalty box to get distance only half-bit, his clearance, and Stevenson’s got the ball under control and returned it into goal from 35 yards’ range with little compunction and all haste. Riley was only half-way back to his line when he flung up his hands, hopefully and hopelessly. Davies had previously scored when a back pass to Riley had not been made with sufficient power, and this too, was a reward for opportunism. Nieuwenhuy’s goal with a cracking shot early in the second half put some inspiration into a Liverpool that was sadly in need of it at that moment. When Tom Jones was adjudged to have tripped Fagan in the penalty area a moment later. Fagan slammed in one of those penalty-spot shots for which he has great repute. Afterwards it was mostly Liverpool, but in spite of a number of close calls Everton held out.
Everton did not lose because the slight defensive failing in the side were more than counter-balanced by Tom Jones. Centrepiece of a half-back line which must be about the best in the county he judged the right moment to step in and carve his way through the rather tame finishing of Liverpool’s inside forwards. Well as they played up to a point bone always had the feeling that Balmer, Taylor, and Fagan were a bit overawed by Jones’s ability to stop them at the crucial moment. Jackson, not always unsuccessful to duels with Van Den Berg, certainly kicked the ball hearty enough. Stevenson and Davies were quite outstanding in the Everton front line, who apart slips did nothing to enhance its reputation. Bush out headed and out played Bell, and Busby and McInnes could afford time, to go up and use their talents to attacking endeavour. Cooper and Tennant played well, and if the Liverpool inside forwards were not so potent as usual in front of goal they graced the match with some lovely approach play. Additionally, Taylor struck the angle with a solid shot.
(Liverpool Daily Post, 04-12-1939)
Berry Nieuwenhuys, Liverpool F.C.