Everton v Wrexham 2-3 (War Cup: February 5, 1944)


February 5, 1944
Match: War League Cup (North), Qualifying match, at Goodison Park.
Everton – Wrexham 2-3 (1-2).
Attendance: 14,309; Gate receipts: £955.
Referee: Mr. H.E. Lambert (Blackburn).
Everton (2-3-5): George Burnett, George Jackson, Norman Greenhalgh, Jack Grant, Tommy Jones, Gordon Watson, Billy Hall (Liverpool), Eddie Wainwright, Tommy Lawton, Alex Stevenson, Jimmy McIntosh (Preston North End).
Wrexham (2-3-5): D. Whitelaw, Jones, A. Jefferson, A. Livingstone, James Milburn, F.R. Hill, C. Revell, G.H. Bremner. L. Horsman, Albert Malam, J.S. Foxall.
The goals: 1-0 Lawton (23 min.), 1-1 Foxall (33 min.), 1-2 Horsman (37 min.), 2-2 Lawton (63 min.), 2-3 Bremner (74 min.).

Everton stroke a bad patch.
Once in a while it comes to all clubs to strike bad game. It was Everton’s turn on Saturday. They had been playing so well recently that no one, not even the Wrexham people, expected them to lose. Still Wrexham won by 3-2. Without attempting to take away any of the praise for victory from the winners, who were the better side, it was Everton’s factadasical display and Wrexham’s enterprise form, which brought Everton to heel. Wrexham demonstrated that their form, which has enabled them to win six victories in succession, was not mare luck, but the result of high quality football.

Pace and Team Work.
They had just as many good moves as Everton but add to that pace and team work and you have the answer to their triumph. Fore and aft were better than Everton, an Everton that failed to produce the football which made the two derby games outstanding. Goodison Park has been the scene of some high scoring in recent weeks, but Everton never suggested that, they would register a big win, for Wrexham were doughy rivals, who were not concerned with what had gone before, but what was to come. They had gained in confidence as a result of their sequence of victories; had a belief in themselves which was absent before the start of the cup games, and played as a team. They were better workmen; the players linked up one with one another to make a complete whole, and by sound constructive football played Everton at their own game, and beat them at it.

A Team of Units
Whereas Wrexham were a united whole, Everton were units. They started well with some attractive football, but without goal-punch, and the same might be said of their opponents for they too could carry the play into enemy quarters by nice combination. Both sets of defenders were masters of the rival attacks, and so it was twenty-two minutes before the first goal was registered. T.G. Jones sent the ball soaring up the middle, Lawton ran forward, anticipating where it would land, and got to it just in time to shoot, beating the advancing goalkeeper by a split second. But within eight minutes Wrexham had negatived that goal, Bremner scooping the ball across to Foxall, who headed beyond Burnett. That rather shook Everton, but Wrexham had not finished there. Wainwright fiddled until he was dispossessed, and Bremner again provided Horseman with a scoring opportunity what time Everton were appealing for offside. Whitelaw the Welshmen’s goalkeeper relieved his colleagues time and again by cutting out centres by moving out of goal and catching the ball like a cricketer, and so Wrexham had a 2-1 lead at the interval.

Stylish Play
I realised then that Everton would have to pull themselves together to pull the game out of the fire, but as they started the second half with seemingly more purposeful play near miss by Lawton and a bad miss by Stevenson from five yards out there was still plenty of time to rectify matters, but as time went on Everton, instead of getting better became gradually worse. Wrexham still kept on with their stylish play, and were now worrying the Everton defence severely, so much so that T. Jones in his eagerness to clear away a dangerous attack handled the ball –I thought it was ball to hand and a penalty was granted, Malam entrusted with the kick made a hash of things by shooting wide. Three minutes after (sixty-three minutes) Lawton scored, shooting between the advancing goalkeeper’s legs to equalise. Lawton netted again, but was offside, and it was left to Bremner to score the winner. He beat two men to get position before shooting past Burnett. Near the end, Lawton had bad luck when an effort of his hit the angle of the posts, came out, and Whitelaw swept the ball away.

Left wing Curbed.
Not for an age have I seen Everton so ineffective; blame Wrexham for a lot of it, for their half-backs and backs hacked up the rare success defensively and constructively. They curbed the Everton left wing –its strong wing, and had little difficulty in holding the right for Hall; loaned by Liverpool, had a poor match after a promising start, Lawton was a done raider. He received three decent passes – scored from two of them and netted the third, which was disallowed. Everton waited for the ball; Wrexham went for it, and having got it made use of it. I am not going to individualise about the team, but simply any that good team work, fast and clever play beat Everton, who were slow by comparison, Attendance 14,309. Receipts £955.
(Liverpool Daily Post, 07-02-1944)

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