Record crowd see derby thrills

September 18, 1948
Two goals were scored in the space of six minutes near the finish of the Goodison Derby this afternoon. Fagan scored a scrambling goal for Liverpool after 80 minutes, and at 86 minutes Dodds equalised for Everton from a penalty. It had been a game of thrills. A record crowd of 78,299 saw the game.

The result was a tribute to both teams, and in common justice there could have been no other. Everton had out six of the 1939 championship team. Liverpool were seeking “the daily double” their reserves having beaten Everton Reserves at Anfield earlier in the day. Bentham and Boyes, in the Blues team were making their first appearance of the season and in the absence of Farrell, Alex Stevenson the only Irishman in the game, skippered Everton.

Bill Jones, Liverpool centre-half who is due to play for the Football League against the Irish league at Anfield on Monday, arrived with his head bandaged, following a cut over the left eye, received in Wednesday’s game against Arsenal. The bandage was merely protective and Bill will be there all right on Monday. Liverpool have not given up hope for an amicable settlement of the Stubbins impasse, and I think it very probable the talks will be resumed shortly. There were indications of a near record crowd. Ambulance men were kept busy, but as they always are on Derby days.

Everton: Ted Sagar, George Saunders, Jack Hedley, Stan Bentham, Tommy Jones, Gordon Watson, Aubrey Powell, Wally Fielding, Jock Dodds, Alex Stevenson, Walter Boyes.
Liverpool: Cyril Sidlow, Bill Shepherd, Ray Lambert, Phil Taylor, Bill Jones, Bob Paisley, Jimmy Payne, Jack Balmer, Les Shannon, Willie Fagan, Billy Liddell.
Referee; Mr. F. Thurman, of Preston.

Jones played with a patch over his eye, and after he had repelled Everton’s opening thrust he touched this gingerly, but seemed content. Liddell robbed Jones, who recovered from his hesitancy and then, when Liddell got the better of Saunders, Everton were relieved by Shannon running into an offside position.

Lovely Pass
A lovely through pass by Stevenson to Fielding made the Evertonians sit up and take notice, but after colliding with Jones, Fielding’s quick shot passed across the face of the goal. Everton showed, for a moment, that they had not lost their football craft and after a Boyes “made” move, in which all five forwards took part, it needed three stout-hearted Reds to prevent Dodds from getting in his shot. Balmer picked up a loose ball in characteristic style and set Liverpool attacking in open order. Hedley after repelling Taylor and Payne, kicked behind for the first corner of the day. Everton were having rather the better of the argument, with their close style of progress, but Liverpool looked more dangerous when Shannon slipped the ball inside for the inrunning Liddell, who, however, failed to withstand the intrepid intervention of Hedley. Away went Everton for Stevenson and Boyes to change places cleverly, the Stevenson centre being a little too awkward for Fielding. Liddell’s curling centre from the touchline dipped just when it seemed it was going over, and Sagar had to scrape the face of the bar with one hand to prevent a goal. Everton’s first shot came when Bentham followed up a right wing move, but although he had power his elevation was a little faulty.

Balmer’s Try
Bill Jones and Shepherd twice held up attempted breakthroughs by Dodds, who just afterwards could not get hold of an acute centre by Powell. Balmer tried a shot on the turn, but did if far too quickly, and it flashed over. Then the inward run of Boyes got Liverpool running all the wrong way, as did his quick pass to Stevenson at outside left, which saw Alex step in with a right foot shot which Sidlow turned around the post at full length. Sagar, not for the first time, had to run out of his goal to drive on a pass back which went astray. Stevenson and Boyes proved, in the first 25 minutes that their re-union was a wise move, for again Stevenson got, Liverpool moving all the wrong way with his scissors pass to Boyes whose centre found Fielding by the far post. Fielding’s header was headed away by Bill Jones, but Boyes got it again and this time Sidlow saved low down from Dodds. Definitely this was a much brighter and more confident Everton, but there was a gasp when Tommy Jones completely missed the ball, to let in Shannon, who raced to the line, attended by Saunders.

Watson Hurt
Shannon got his centre in, but Sagar’s anticipation was excellent, and he dived out to catch the ball from the feet of the in-running Balmer. Watson was injured, and was unable to intercept Taylor’s quick throw-in when play was resumed. Payne got away, to turn the ball back inside for the enterprising Balmer, who let go with his right foot. The ball crashed against the post, and bounded back to Hedley who, just as Fielding had done previously to hold up Liddell, conceded a corner for safely. Liverpool were coming more into the game as the interval approached, and after Liddell’s shot had been charged down Payne drove inches over. Balmer’s wide pass seemed to put Liddell on good ground, but Saunders was there, just as he had been throughout the game against the Scottish international. Once again Everton’s five forwards moved in rhythm, but Shepherd made a splendid recovery to hold up Boyes on the goal line.

Half-time; Everton 0, Liverpool 0.

Liverpool resumed where they had left off by Liddell having two efforts blocked, before Dodds was ruled off-side after Stevenson’s headed pass had outwitted Liverpool. Shannon and Payne got the Toffees on the run, and when Fagan flicked it home he was yards offside. Liverpool had a glorious chance of taking the lead in the 50th minute, when Payne’s centre streaked across the face of the Everton goal to Liddell and Fagan, but there was a fatal hesitancy in shooting, giving Saunders that split second needed to clear.

A long free kick by Shepherd dropped awkwardly, and Sagar had to turn it over the top as Liverpool piled on the pressure, but without showing as quickly as usual. Certainly Everton were packing well and presenting few loopholes, Sagar was right in position to hold Fagan’s 18 yarder, and Shepherd stepped in smartly when Stevenson and Fielding promising to break down the solid Liverpool resistance.

Sagar’s Leap
Shannon’s first shot was neatly made, but Sagar was the man who took command. Shepherd jarred a leg, but carried on, and when he handled the ball Stevenson shot from 25 yards, Sidlow driving to turn the ball around the post for a corner. Liverpool hit back immediately and when Paisley lobbed the ball in, Fagan, standing just inside the penalty area, hit the ball on the volley with his right foot. It was going like a bullet just inside the post when Sagar leapt on it, and actually held it on the goal-line –the most dramatic moment of the game so far.

Dodds thrilled the crowd with a grand runaway to the right, in which he beat four men without being able to get the ball away to a colleague. And, after Liverpool has wasted a close-up free kick, Dodds ran past Bill Jones, but Sidlow came out and managed to tap the ball away from him.

Sagar made a thrilling save from Shannon before Liddell, when favourably placed, shot straight across the face of the goal, with the all-time record attendance of 78,299 spectators yearning for a goal. The previous record, for the Liverpool-Manchester United cup-tie was 74,251.

At the 79th minute Tommy Jones went off the field to receive attention on the touchline for a knock on the leg. While he was off the field – at the 8oth minute – Fagan gave Liverpool the lead, with a scrambled goal – something typical of how things are running against Everton this season. The ball broke loose to the feet of Liddell standing just outside the goal area, and although he shot promptly along the floor the ball rebounded off Bentham’s legs to Fagan, who promptly turned it into the net off the foot of the post.

It was rather unfair that either side should be ahead but at the 86th minute, Everton drew level, thanks to a penalty by Dodds, which incidentally was the first goal I have seen Everton score this season. Liverpool had all their work cut out to prevent Everton cashing in on another corner. Only sheer weight of numbers keeping Dodds at bay.
(Source: Evening Express: September 18, 1954)


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