March 25, 1950
Liverpool deserved their victory in a game which was hard, dour and fought out at top speed throughout, though always in good sporting fashion. There was not a tremendous lot in it, though Liverpool were always more constructive in attack, and looked more dangerous in front of goal. Everton could count themselves unfortunate with Liverpool’s second goal, for it seemed that the ball had definitely gone behind for a corner when Farrell screwed it back to Liddell’s a chance which he was not slow to accept.
Liverpool thus make their first appearance in the Cup Final since 1914. This will be only their second time and a colour clash will mean that both sides will have to change shirts. Liverpool had forced 15 corners during the match, ten of them from Liddell’s flank, to five by Everton. Anfield were worthy winners, but they had to fight hard. Official attendance 72,000, £13,497.
Liverpool: Cyril Sidlow, Ray Lambert, Eddie Spicer, Phil Taylor, Bill Jones, Bob Paisley, Jimmy Payne, Kevin Baron, Albert Stubbins, Willie Fagan, Billy Liddell.
Everton: George Burnett, Eric Moore, Jack Hedley, Jackie Grant, David Falder, Peter Farrell, Ted Buckle, Eddie Wainwright, Harry Catterick, Wally Fielding, Tommy Eglington.
Maine Road looked a picture in the bright sunshine with red and blue favours dotted about in such profusion that the terrace looked almost like a herbaceous border. With the crowd fixed at just over 73,000 compared with a record attendance of 84,000 the terrace spectators did not appear to be unduly crush though in one or two corners, they were packed perhaps a little tightly.
The first incident of note was a rather tender pass-back by Moore which saw Stubbins dashing in quickly in the hope of picking it up before it reached Burnett. Burnett got there first, however. Straight from this Everton dashed away on the right, and again we saw a faulty pass-back, when Spicer was well off the mark, and instead of putting the ball to Sidlow presented Everton with a corner. Buckle pulled this well back to Farrell, who slipped it forward to Fielding for the latter to hook the ball just over the bar. A praiseworthy effort.
Everton came again with some dangerous looking work by Eglington, which finally went for nothing, however, when Catterick, trying a long shot, put the ball behind. Liddell, Fagan, and Stubbins combined in Liverpool’s first upward move of real note, which was characterized by two stylish back-heel passes and a final shot by Liddell which caused Burnett no more work than to watch it go behind.
Falder set Fielding in motion for the latter in turn to swing a long pass out to Eglington, whose centre was cleared by Jones before it reached Catterick. Everton’s attack in the early stages, had certainly been more forceful than Liverpool’s and another well-judged Fielding pass saw Wainwright fire in a cannon-ball effort which was only a couple of yards wide of the post.
Helped by Wind.
Offside pulled Catterick up in yet another advance by the Blues and the wind, which was of fairly stiff caliber appeared to be definite help to Everton. Then came the first real high-powered thrill of the match. From a throw-in Stubbins back-headed the ball to Baron. Baron swiveled round and put it on still further to Payne, who, in almost the centre-forward position, eluded Hedley, and fired in a grand right foot shot from about ten yards’ range which Burnett saved in brilliant fashion at the expense of an unproductive corner.
Only a few moments later Payne again called Burnett into action, this time with a long effort from 20 yards or so, which the Everton keeper hugged to his chest in very careful fashion. Liverpool forced their second corner, this time on the left flank, Stubbins heading outside from Liddell’s in swinger. Liverpool’s right wing dovetailed in a tricky little move which saw Stubbins rather badly angled when in possession, from Baron’s final pass. He screwed the ball round well, but could do no more than hit the side netting.
The second excursion by a trainer on the field came when Fielding had to have attention for a knock on the thigh. Earlier on Bill Jones had also called for the ministrations of Trainer Shelley. Liverpool were no showing better ideas in attack, and another grand move saw Payne cut in quickly, on the inside of Hedley, and put across a shot-cum-centre to which Baron literally threw himself, but just failed to make heading contact.
Baron bamboozled the Everton defence again, to such good tune that it took the united efforts of Moore, Falder, and Farrell to get the ball away, then, in anything but convincing fashion. The Everton defence just now was having an anxious time, so much so that we saw the unusual sight of Eglington actually tackling Liddell- who had come over to outside right – right on the line near the corner flag.
At the 24th minute there came an incident which will long be debated by fans of both sides. Fagan chased quickly to a ball which seemed to be going out, and screwed back a centre which Stubbins bent down to in deliberate fashion and headed out of Burnett’s reach. More was standing behind the goalkeeper, however, on the line, and cannoned the ball out a couple of yards where Burnett on his hands and knees, regained possession and booted it up field. Several Liverpool players immediately appealed for a goal on the ground that the ball had actually been over the line, but Referee Fletcher waved them aside and beckoned play on. From my point in the Press box, two-thirds of the length of the field away, it was impossible even to guess, whether the ball had gone over or not. But the referee was fairly well up with play.
At the 30th minute Liverpool supporters went wild with jubilation when the Reds took the lead. The movement was started by an upward pass by Taylor to Baron, just inside the Everton half, Baron slipped it back to Taylor. Taylor on to Payne who beat Hedley, cut in and centred with his left foot for Burnett to punch away to Paisley. Paisley lobbed the ball goalwards high in the air, where Libbell, boring in at top speed, jumped for it at the same time as Burnett and two Everton defenders. It looked as though Liddell might have connected, but actually he did not, and it was Paisley’s lob which entered the net direct, and the half back must go down as the scorer.
Everton dashed away after this to such good purpose, that Eglington found himself with an unimpeded shot from 12 yards range but sliced his effort a yard wide. Payne and Baron were giving the Everton left defensive flank a lot of anxiety just now, and on the other side the referee wagged an admonishing finger at Moore when he brought Liddell down.
For some minutes now play had been almost entirely confined to Everton’s half, and when Eglington did manage to get away there was only Catterick up to lend him support so that assault was short-lived. It needed good work by Jones and Spicer however, to hold up Everton when at last the Blues returned to a full-blooded attack, with all their line up, and the wing halves on the spot to give support. The best save of the day had been a Sidlow tip over the bar from Eglington’s high shot, almost immediately after Liverpool’s goal, though one just now by Stubbins brought a very confident collection by Burnett.
Payne was jinking his way in and out of the right flank in a disconcerting manner to the Everton defence, and just on half time he forced Liverpool’s fourth corner of the half, from which Liddell headed the ball downwards to Baron without the latter being able to get in a shot. Spicer robbed Buckle and put the ball up to Stubbins, half way in the Everton half, where he was tackled by Wainwright, of all people, who for some time had been playing as an auxiliary half back.
It had been a grim and hard first half, characterized by tenacious tackling and sheer determination rather than any outstanding classic touches, though Payne was prominent at times. I thought Liverpool just deserved o be in front, because of their better balance in attack, where the line dovetailed more impressively than Everton’s.
Half-time; Liverpool 1, Everton 0.
The second half opened with Everton, for a few minutes, providing some of the most entrancing combination we had seen so far and it took the combined efforts of Lambert, Jones and Spicer to hold them at bay. Then one of Liddell’s electric runs gave the Liverpool supporters a thrill. He dashed down the middle to beat both Falder and Moore, and collect a Stubbins pass, but he booted it too far forward, so that Burnett was able to dash out and get there first to save a very ominous looking situation.
When Liverpool came again there were no fewer than six Everton defenders congregated in a close knot around the penalty spot, so that though the ball bobbed about four or five times Liverpool were unable to see a way through to test Burnett. Fielding piled Eglington with two beautiful passes, which in turn led to centres from the left winger. Paisley headed the first away, and Buckle, who had come too far in, was unable to make contact with the second. Paisley had to receive attention following his headed clearance, but the tough little Anfielders shook himself a couple of times and then dashed into the fray.
Liverpool, this half had the sun and wind behind them, and after Everton’s early exuberance had worn off a little the Reds were back in the Blues half, though without giving Burnett anything very testing to worry about. Burnett made a spectacular save when he tipped a high dropping shot from Baron over the bar at the last split second when it seemed almost certain to go in.
A free kick to Liverpool when Moore brought down Liddell, saw the Scottish winger lob over a centre which Burnett came out to catch but missed. Stubbins tapped the ball back towards Baron, but this time Burnett retrieved himself by smothering the pass. Although Liverpool were now throwing everything into attack, I thought they were fortunate to get a second goal through Liddell’s at the 62nd minute, for when Farrell turned the ball inwards to Liddell in order to avoid a corner, I am quite certain the ball actually had been well over the dead ball line. I could see the line on the near side of the ball from where I sat in his anxiety to save a flag kick. Farrell pulled it back right to Liddell’s feet. Although angled Liddell shot hard and true, and managed to squeeze it into the goal, just inside the far post, to put Liverpool in what appeared to be a commanding position.
A couple of minutes later Burnett made a brilliant save from Stubbins; Liddell fired into the side netting, and a moment later went topple-tall over a group of photographers crowded near the dead ball line. The referee came up and moved them further back. In the first 20 minutes of this half Liverpool had forced four corners three of them gained by Liddell’s persistence.
Everton, however, were not taking it lying down, and a determined bit of work by Fielding, Wainwright and Catterick carried the battle into the Liverpool penalty area, where Jones, who had played calmly and confidently all through, stood like the Rock of Gibraltar between Catterick and Sidlow. As a matter of fact Everton’s only hope now was to throw everything into attack. They had nothing to gain by further defensive measures. That this was their plan was obvious, but it was easier said than done, for Liverpool were now riding the crest of the wave. A two goal lead in a match of this description must be a comforting feeling to those who possess it.
Catterick and Wainwright paired off in a move which petered out with a simple pick-up for Sidlow, and then at the other end Stubbins tried two shots in succession the first of which cannoned back off a defender to give him a second opportunity. Liverpool were also throwing everything they had into attack when they got away, and on one occasion even Lambert tried a long lob from the centre line which went just over the bar.
Liverpool’s defenders successfully appealed for offside when Fielding sent Catterick away on the right flank. With a quarter of an hour to go, Liddell again forced a corner, the 12th which Liverpool had gained so far, to Everton’s three, nine of which had come from Liddell’s flank, with his twelfth one Liddell appreciably and struck the near post. Baron was continuing to do some grand foraging work for Liverpool. He has never played a better game.
Liddell was a real thorn in the flesh of Grant and Moore. Closely though they struck to him he frequently beat them by speed and persistence. Everton’s best move in this half came from a free kick against Fagan taken by Moore, and helped on by Farrell to Wainwright, who shot first time in strong fashion, but only into the side netting.
Catterick won Everton’s first corner of the second half off Paisley the outcome of which was a lob by Falder, who had come up, into Sidlow’s hands. Everton won another corner with only three minutes to go, but could not turn it to advantage.
The pace appeared to be telling more on Everton than on Liverpool, and the Anfield team still looked the more dangerous side when they bore down towards gal.
Final: Liverpool 2, Everton 0.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: March 25, 1950)