Penalty decides, Liverpool win


January 29, 1944
A penalty in 65 minutes enabled Liverpool to smash Everton’s 100 percent cup record at Goodison Park, today. Everton fought back after being two goals down to draw level. Liverpool won 3-2. Mercer appeared at left-half – his England position – instead of at outside-right, where Wyles continued. Jack Jones was at left-back, Greenhalgh still being unfit.

Liverpool waited until ten minutes before the kick-off before deciding on their team – waiting in the hope that Fagan would arrive. He did not, so Welsh led the attack, with Done at inside left and Balmer and Nieuwenhuys linking up on the right as in pre-war days. Behind them was Matt Busby making his first appearance for the club for two years and being made captain for the day. Busby was given a grand reception when he took the field.

The gate looked to be a record. Tommy Lawton and Joe Mercer, of Everton, have both received notification from the F.A. that they with team mate Cliff Britton, have been selected to play for England v. Scotland at Wembley on February 19.

Everton: George Burnett, George Jackson, Jack Jones, Jackie Grant, Tommy Jones, Joe Mercer, Cec Wyles, Eddie Wainwright, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, Jimmy McIntosh.
Liverpool: Alf Hobson, Jack Westby, Jeff Gulliver, Matt Busby, Laurie Hughes, Jack Pilling, Berry Nieuwenhuys, Jack Balmer, Don Welsh, Cyril Done, Billy Liddell.

Wainwright was the first to threaten danger, but he was held up by Hughes, and Liverpool swept away to almost take the Blues by surprise. When Burnett came out to pick up a back-pass, Liddell surprised him, but before Done could do the necessary Jackson had cleared.

Lawton had a header turned aside after good work by Wyles. Then, in four minutes, Liverpool took the lead with a fine goal by Nieuwenhuys. Busby robbed Jack Jones, and pushed the ball through to Welsh. He quickly slipped it to Nieuwenhuys, who cut in and shot from the edge of the penalty area, and the ball flashed just under the bar, the pace alone beating Burnett. Liverpool took charge, their forwards playing some neat first time football with the ball being moved quickly to position.

Smart Moves.
Mercer made one grand individual burst, but Hughes nipped in at the crucial moment, and when Lawton burst in to take charge of Tommy Jones’ free kick, Hobson made a superb catch. Burnett then dashed out to pull down a centre as the play swung like a pendulum. Lawton slipped the ball aside for McIntosh to put in a terrific shot which just skimmed the bar, and then Busby saved a certain goal.

A low centre from Wyles passed between Hobson’s legs, but before Wainwright could reach it, Busby had kicked clear. The Reds increased their lead in 14 minutes, when Pilling surprised Wainwright and got Done away in the outside-left position. Done’s low centre seemed to be Grant’s or Tommy Jones’s, but Welsh surprised them, and as he was being tackled edged the ball back to Balmer, who promptly placed low into the net.

The visitors two up was a repetition of last week’s Anfield drama, except that Liverpool had established their lead quicker.

Lucky Escape.
Burnett punched out Nieuwenhuys corner to the feet of Done, whose prompt shot was kicked off the goal line by Jackson, with Burnett beaten – a lucky escape for Everton. Liverpool were playing with confidence and no little ability, against a side shaken but not bewildered by early disasters.

It was Mercer’s persistence and the roving genius of Lawton which turned the tide in 23 minutes. From Mercer the ball went to Lawton at outside right, and in a flash the ball was whisked away to McIntosh on the left. McIntosh pivoted to outwit Westby, and his low centre sped across the floor for Wyles to smash it into the roof of the net with his left foot, before Gulliver could avert disaster. This was an opportunist goal, which so encouraged the Blues that they were soon back again, Lawton heading outside before he ran through to shoot a yard wide.

The game continued at a cracker pace, with Everton now more than holding their own and, in fact, doing most of the attacking. Hobson saved from McIntosh before Liddell missed a good chance, after fine work by Done. But for Hobson it would have been all square in 35 minutes, when the right wing created an opening for Stevenson to let go a mightily shot from the edge of the penalty area, but Hobson just managed to flick it over the top, as he fell.

Hughes Shines.
Hughes was playing excellently against Everton’s alert inside forwards, and once he held up Lawton in brilliant style with a grand last minute tackle. Three minutes before the interval Everton equalised through Lawton, McIntosh seized on in a ball which was turned aside as Wainwright tried to shoot. McIntosh centred along the floor and Wyles pushed the ball back to Lawton, who shot from close range, and although Hobson stopped the ball, he could not prevent it going a foot over the line. Referee Nixon was on the spot and his award was instantaneous.

Half-time; Everton 2, Liverpool 2.

The game reopened with a succession of thrills, Burnett driving to turn a high speed Balmer drive around the post, and then diving to grab the ball as Liddell dashed in to take charge of the corner. Jackson was injured, but resumed, and then came a remarkable incident. As Welsh shot, Tommy Jones got his foot to the ball which crashed against the bar, bounced up and then ran straight along the goal line to strike the corner flag and roll into touch.

Welsh was hurt in a collision with Tom Jones, but quickly recovered. McIntosh forced two corners, and Everton got a third when Westby kicked away just as Lawton was going to say thank you to a centre from Wyles.

High Standard Play.
The pace was really astonishing and the football always of high standard. The Blues were calling the tune at the moment and Wyles cut in past Gulliver to shoot by the far post.

Liverpool brought their forward switch into play, Done going centre forward, but Everton were still doing that little bit extra, Mercer once heading off Balmer magnificently. Balmer got through but shot too quickly and the ball went by the far post.

In 65 minutes Liverpool were awarded a penalty, from which Welsh restored their lead. Tom Jones came over to hold up Balmer’s centre, but he did so with his arm, and there was never any doubt the justice of the award. Welsh took the kick and placed to the corner of the net.

Everton should have equalised immediately after, but McIntosh, with the goal yawning at him, placed by the far post. Everton were still forcing the pace, Grant and Mercer being brilliant driving forces, but it was Liverpool who provided the next thrills, Liddell letting go a corner shot which Burnett dived to and turned around the post. Everton then survived a close up free kick by Welsh, as Liverpool began to assert themselves.

Final; Everton 2, Liverpool 3.
(Source: Evening Express: January 29, 1944; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

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