Saturday, March 24 – 1945
Match: Football League War Cup, First Round – First Leg, at Anfield, kick-off: 15:00.
Liverpool – Everton 1-0 (1-0).
Attendance: 39,657; gate receipts: £3,040.
Referee: Mr. S. Boardman (Sale).
Liverpool (2-3-5): Alf Hobson, Jim Harley, Jeff Gulliver (Reading), Harry Kaye, Laurie Hughes, Jack Pilling (South Liverpool), Berry Nieuwenhuys, Phil Taylor, Billy Liddell, Don Welsh (Charlton), Horace Cumner (Arsenal).
Everton (2-3-5): George Burnett, George Jackson, Norman Greenhalgh, Jack Grant, Jimmy Morris (Stockport County), Gordon Watson, Harry Catterick, Stan Bentham, Cec Wyles, Alex Stevenson, Wally Boyes.
The goal: 1-0 Liddell (8 min.).
Ted Sagar, Everton’s international goalkeeper, home on leave for the first time for three years, was at Anfield today for the Merseyside “Derby” between Liverpool and Everton in the first leg of the first round of the North War Cup. Sagar had been travelling during the last 36 hours, and so did not play, but went on the field with Burnett just to show himself, and he was given a fine welcome.
Everton opened magnificently, and but for the alertness of Harley would have been a goal up in two minutes. Grant twice dropped centres to the goalmouth, but Hobson fisted away, and then after Gulliver had made a partial clearance Stevenson shot along the floor with Hobson out of position, but as the ball was crossing the line Harley kicked clear. Everton kept on top until Liddell surprised them with a long dropping shot, which Burnett turned over the top.
Wyles beat three men before trying to find Catterick but Hughes was there to say him “nay.”
In eight minutes Liverpool went ahead. Cumner cut in and lobbed the ball across to Liddell who had proved forward a second before Cumner played it, and from an easy position Liddell drove over Burnett’s arm into the net. In my opinion Liddell was offside.
Liverpool kept on top despite some magnificent foraging by Stevenson, and when Liddell burst between the backs like greased lightning, it looked all over a goal, but Burnett managed to get his foot to the international’s fast low shot, and when Taylor quickly returned it Morris was in position to head away. Liddell went through again, but his shot, taken as he was tackled, passed outside.
Just before Burnett had neatly held a fast header from Cumner. Liverpool encouraged by their goal played with marked confidence and not a little skill, and their speed to possession and pass perfection kept Everton worried to distraction.
The Reds had hard luck when Welsh gathered the ball just inside the penalty area and banged in a terrific left foot shot which Burnett never saw, but which came back off the bar at a terrific pace. Liddell was much too fast and quick-thinking for the Everton defence, and proved himself the answer to Scotland’s prayer for a centre forward when by sheer speed, he nipped between Morris, Watson and Greenhalgh to hit a shot which passed only inches over.
Immediately Everton responded, but just as Wyles was about to shoot Hughes managed to flick the ball, so that the “topped” shot was “easy meat” for Hobson. Boyes and Bentham got Liverpool moving the wrong way, but Hobson saved Bentham’s shot, and when Liverpool returned to the attack three times in succession Burnett had to fist away from dangerous centres which looked like curling into the net.
This was hard football and certainly exciting, but Liverpool, apart from those opening moments, had been the more impressive side and should have been more than a goal up.
After half an hour Catterick and Wyles changed places, and Catterick dashed through only to be pulled up for offside – a law which Liverpool were exploiting to their advantage. Catterick gave the right of way to Wyles, who in with a magnificent shot which Hobson beat away for a save as good as a goal any day. Just before the close of the half, which certainly had been Liverpool’s, Liddell damaged a leg in a tackle and went off limping.
Half-time; Liverpool 1, Everton 0.
Liddell was O.K, on resuming when Everton tried to call the tune but without being able to get the better of Hughes and company. Grant made one excellent burst down the right wing, and when Liddell and Cumner loomed dangerous – Jackson and Morris stepped into the breach. Hobson fisted away a fine dropping centre from Bentham, and from the corner Catterick headed just over.
Liverpool’s offside trap kept snaring the Blues’ forwards, but Catterick once beat it by dashing through, only for Hobson to come out and clear. Play fell away in fact it became rather scrappy due to the desire of both sides to concentrate more on negative football. The best effort came from Catterick, who leaped high above Hughes to head in splendidly for Hobson to turn the ball away.
Everton had improved on their first half display and were now having their full share of the pressure. Everton gave us their greatest flash of the day when Stevenson and Bentham got Wyles away, sand and from the centre Catterick and Hobson went up for the ball together. Hobson made his catch, but both fell injured, and a stretcher was brought for Hobson.
No fewer than eight ambulance men and three trainers ran on the field, but Hobson shook his head, waved the stretcher away, and carried on. Taylor made two excellent individual efforts without getting any luck, but much of the sting had gone out of the Liverpool attack, because Morris had taken the measure of Liddell. Welsh had a chance. The ball came to his right foot and the shot passed outside. Then the ball came to his left-foot and his first time shot flashed inches by the far post.
Jackson made a magnificent last minute tackle at the expense of Cunmer and Everton seemed to be playing full of confidence without being able to create shooting openings. Wyles went through but as he turned the ball in Harley dashed over and appeared to beat the ball away with his hand, but Liverpool escaped without a penalty.
Cumner went through and shot inches by the far post as he was tackled. Boyes gained a corner, and from this Wyles shot along the floor, but Hobson managed to stick out a foot and turned the ball around the post. Catterick was fouled as he was going through but Liverpool easily disposed of the free kick. Final; Liverpool 1, Everton 0.
(Evening Express, 24-03-1945)