December 4, 1939
The big game of the day was at Anfield, where the old rivals Liverpool and Everton got to grips again. This time the result with a draw 2-2 draw, and no one could quibble at that. At one time it looked as if the Blues were going to keep up their fine record at Anfield, for Jack Davies provided them with an early lead, and then came out of the most remarkable goal I have ever seen.
Alex Stevenson was the scorer. Arthur Riley advanced to the penalty area edge to clear and landed the ball inside the ten yards’ circle. Stevenson trapped it neatly and propelled it a few yards. In a flash he surprised everyone by making a long lob shot over the head of Riley – still on the edge of the area – and the ball landed true into the corner of the net. It was a brilliant example of an alert mind and accuracy over the ball.
Everton kept the lead for 55 minutes, when Berry Nieuwenhuys cut in to rattle the ball home with one of the terrific cross shots so characteristic of him, and then came the penalty to encourage Liverpool, who pressed almost continuously to the end without being able to break down a grand defence. It was high-powered football all through, with Everton the better team early on and Liverpool coming into their own later.
The dominant factor in the game was the Everton halfback line. Tommy Jones was easily the best man on the field – the personality who consolidated the Blues’ lines and yet played with extreme coolness. Maurice Lindley proved again what a fine young proposition he is, while Gordon Watson was strong on the ball and delighted with those quick Busby-like passes, made unhesitatingly.
Liverpool, well plied by Matt Busby – the consummate artist –and Jimmy McInnes would have done better had they not held the ball too close and over-dribbled. It was playing into the hands of the Everton defence. The ultra-trickiness made the Everton task much lighter. Even so, George Jackson and George Saunders had plenty to do. I liked the way young Saunders settled down to his work. It was his first game this season and his first ever for Everton’s first team. This lad will make the grade.
Tommy Cooper had a grand second-half, and Jack Tennant played with rare calm and correctness. Though Willie Fagan, Phil Taylor, and Berry Nieuwenhuys were the best home forwards. Everton had no attacker to compare with Stevenson, who was the mainspring of cute movements besides being the danger man in front of goal. Wally Boyes made him a willing partner. Ted Sagar had rather more work to do than Riley, but each acquitted himself splendidly. In the boardroom after the game I heard no word of complaint from anyone except on the penalty point.
Mr. Ernest Green, the Everton chairman, had support from directorial colleagues in Messrs Will Gibbins and Dickie Williams and Dr Cecil Baxter. Chairman Mr. Will Harrop, of the Reds was host in chief. Messrs James Troop, R. Lawson Martindale and George Richards, were also there, and Mr. Ronnie Williams, as usual, was making sure that no one was neglected. He has a great capacity for making everyone feel welcomes.
(Source: Evening Express: December 4, 1939; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited
Alex Stevenson, Everton F.C. – wonder goal.