May 3, 1954
Match: Liverpool Cup, Final, at Goodison Park.
Everton – Liverpool 2-0 (1-0).
Everton (2-3-5): Jimmy O’Neill, Eric Moore, Don Donovan, Peter Farrell (C), Tommy Jones, Cyril Lello, Eddie Wainwright, Wally Fielding, Dave Hickson, John Parker, Tommy Eglington.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Dave Underwood, Tom McNulty, Frank Lock, Barry Wilkinson, Laurie Hughes, Geoff Twentyman, Brian Jackson, John Evans, Louis Bimpson, Sammy Smyth, Billy Liddell.
The goals: 1-0 Parker, 2-0 Hickson (89 min.).
A few days ago I was at Wembley’s final which is the show-piece of football but it fell very much short of expectations. In fact it had nothing to commend it compared with the Liverpool Senior Cup Tie Final between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park last night, here was a game which had everything, good football, plenty of goal thrills and for the Everton supporters a pleasing victory which will no doubt lead them to think that Everton’s prospects in the First Division next season are going to be good.
But let us be a little wary, for while Everton who they had a lot of luck in the second half when Liverpool were deserving of a better fate than that which beset them. Derby games usually bring out the best and this game was no exception. It was clean and entertaining, and although Everton won, Liverpool can rightly consider themselves a trifle unfortunate not to have got a least a “half.”
Everton were undoubtedly the better side in the first half. They moved with more rhythm, were more accurate in their passing and they got an all-important goal but after the interval they seemed to lose their grip. Where they had been so strong they now became weak, and Liverpool took such a hold on the game that it took all the combined efforts of the Everton defence to hold on to their slender lead.
How they did it I do not know for there were times when the Liverpool forwards were only a matter of yards away from O’Neill yet could not force the ball into the net. O’Neill was responsible for a lot of his side’s success for he made some winder saves when Liverpool were literally pounding his goal. the “Cover” for which Everton are so well known, seemed to go to pieces and on occasions it was sheet desperation which prevented Liverpool from scoring. Exciting it certainly was and the roars were twice as strong as were hard at Wembley.
Touched Top Form
In the first half Everton touched really top form. They ran into the open spaces, switched about, in fact, they did everything a good footballing team should do, but then for some unknown reason all this left them and it was Liverpool who were in charge.
The Anfield side had a Parker goal (made by Hickson) to pull back and they set about doing it with a heartiness which must have been encouraging for their followers. They tried hard for the equalizer and two saves by O’Neill which stand out in my mind from Evans and Liddell, were worth going a long way to see.
During this half, the luck was certainty against Liverpool and with Everton. With a minute to go the best goal of the match was produced by Hickson. He collected a perfect pass from Fielding and unleashed a shot which Underwood simply watched fly into his net. He could do nothing else. That goal was without question much against the run of the play but that is football.
When things are going right for you, things come easy and they undoubtedly went right for Everton in this second half.
Taken all through it was a grand game and the 52,012 spectators must have gone away hoping next season was not too far away.
(Liverpool Daily Post, 04-05-1954)
Thrilling “Derby” Game Earned Its Cheers
I have heard the roar at Wembley, I have heard the roar at Hampden Park, but the roar at Goodison Park last night almost excelled the lot. Furthermore, it was a prolonged roar, and the match was well worthy of it.
The meeting of the Reds and Blues is always an occasion on Merseyside for one can usually guarantee a thrilling and enthusiastic encounter. We had it in full measure in the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup at Goodison Park last night, and although Everton won by two clear goals the score was hardly a true reflection of the play. We know of course that goals count but we can also commiserate a little with a side which has done so much yet reached so little reward for its endeavour, Everton undoubtedly took the honours of the first half, but the second went wholly to Liverpool, but they could not force the ball into the net. Try how they would they could not get the ball beyond O’Neill. It often happens in this great game of ours but really one had to be there to realize just how unlucky Liverpool were in this second section not to have at least equalized or possibly won.
Lost Their Grip
Everton had looked such a confident side for 45 minutes that it was hard to understand why they fell off as they did. Perhaps it was that they waited for the ball rather than went to it which had been one of the secrets of their success in the first half. It was Liverpool who went for the ball and Everton seemed to lose their grip of things.
The wing halves were not probing as they had been and the defence which had stood so securely against the Liverpool attack became uncertain. Well, that to some extent was due to the power drive which Liverpool produced. It was an astonishing turn around and I know a few Evertonians whose hearts were in their months all through the second half.
Unfortunately, this may be the last “Derby” game we may see for some time, I hope it isn’t for we can do with a lot of games like the one we saw last evening. The best class football was undoubtedly produced in the early portions of the game and it was not all on one side but the Everton rhythm was more smooth and their passing more accurate. Yet the goal came rather expectedly and although Parker’s name goes on the score card in reality it was Hickson’s goal, for I think that his header would have crossed the line even without Parker’s help.
“Poacher Made Sure
“Poacher” Parker intended to make sure, stepping in to slip the ball beyond Underwood to chalk up his first goal of the day. It was a very slender lead considering the way Liverpool hammered too clear it off the slate. With the slightest bit of good fortune it would have been done for on balance the Reds were definitely on top and had been almost from the interval. The allusive goal however would not come. At me. O’Neill was one of the reasons for this for he made some excellent saves, scrapping one or two over the bar but his two most outstanding efforts were when he pushed away a header by Evans and was there to parry Liddell’s return. At this stage Everton had fallen from their high estate becoming rather gagged by never losing their fighting spirit, and they needed every ounce of that for Liverpool were hitting them very, very hard.
Quite unexpectedly a second goal came to the “Blues” with just one minute remaining and it was the best of the evening. A perfect pass by Fielding up the middle found the unattended Hickson and the fair-haired Everton leader left Underwood standing with as good a shot as he had delivered all season. The Liverpool goalkeeper could do no more than stand and watch the ball fly into his net. He was helpless to do anything else. And so concluded another derby game, a derby game which lived right up to the best traditions. Everton were naturally keen to show that they were worthy of the new sphere in which they will operate next season and on what we saw they should do reasonably well. They will not have to fall away as they did in the second half, for luck will not always be on their side. As to the Reds if they can fight back as they did last night they may well be knocking at the First Division door this time next year.
(Liverpool Echo, 04-05-1954)