May 6, 1959
How seriously can these derby games be taken? The answer, I should say is that where Liverpool and Everton are concerned all meetings are serious even though that at Anfield in the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup last night, was oh so gentlemanly. Any fouls there may have been, and they were remarkably few, were entirely without ill will and we had the spectacle of Hickson picking up Younger’s cap and handling to him after it had been knocked off in a save Parker kicking the ball out of play when A’Court was injured so that he could receive attention and players bringing the ball back for free kicks to the opposition.
There was in incident in which Ronnie Moran stopped the ball with his hand and got away with it to the amusement of both crowd and Everton players. Imagine the reception an offender would have had in different circumstances. For all; that there was plenty at time left for Jones endeavour and quite a lot of good football too. End of season it may have been, but the crowd had incident enough to exile them, unless they were Everton supporters in a second half in which their team could fine little attacking spark.
Three times these teams have met this season and the results have gone all one way – in Liverpool’s favour. There are those who will tell you that the consolation for Liverpool having to remain in Division Two or another season is that all they had been promoted they would not have proved strong enough to hold their new position. These tussles with Everton suggest that this generality may be far removed from the truth for Everton’s record suggests they are by no means the weakest side in Division One and yet at each meeting they have had to bow the knee to Liverpool.
In the opening half hour there was nothing in the play to suggest a Liverpool triumph for Everton monopolized the attack with speedy direct approach that suggested Younger would not always be in a position to keep the ball out of the net. Young Wignall’s sampling his first Derby game showed us touches and distributive moves that made him look quite at home in this senior assembly and though chances to confirm that early impression were fleeting he had as much right as any of his side to be satisfied with his performance.
What a busy man was Younger during this period of Everton ascendancy. There were times when he stood alone between Everton and goals and it can truthfully be said that when Liverpool went into the lead in 34 minutes through a Liddell goal, it was completely against the run of play.
The scoring of it was more than a shade fortunate, for Melia who had a mixed match lost his chance of adding to his impressive scoring record for the simple reason that he took too much time in sighting his target. When he shot, the ball struck a defender and bounced out high enough into the air for Liddell to rise like a fish to a fly, and ram the ball home with a header that had the force of many a forward’s shot leaving Dunlop’s single handed intervention ineffective.
A fusillade of shots and headers were rained on the Liverpool goal almost immediately afterwards and with Younger down on the ground from the last of his saves Thomas was left with a great opportunity to restore equality, but the wonderfully quick recovery of the Liverpool defence ended in his shot being blocked. Although Everton’s superior play had produced several thrills and hair-breath escapes they were as nothing compared with the chances which came Liverpool’s way in a second half, in which they were dominant to a remarkable degree matching the quality of effort which had previously belonged almost exclusively to Everton.
If Liverpool had ended the game with five goals to their credit, who could have complained? The openings were there for all to see and it was Liverpool’s failures rather than Everton’s recoveries that kept the score at one.
Probably the most glaring miss of the evening had to be debited to the man who normally has no part in such gestures of clemency – Billy Liddell, A’Court squared a ground pass almost from the touch line to the foot of Liddell admirable placed in front of the Everton goal. He side-footed the ball well clear of Dunlop, but so wide was it that it cleared the post as well, narrowly it is true but still wide. Liddell on another occasion headed high into the air and with cool deliberation nodded the ball forward to Arnell as it came down – Arnell’s hooked shot was yards over the bar at a sitting target from a perfect position. A’Court put the ball into the net only to find that Wilkinson’s pass had come from a position inches over the goal line. Liddell was within inches of a goal with a terrific header from a Melia offering sent over from the touch line, so that Everton could have no complaints for on balance they were defeated by a superior side. One glorious run by A’Court must have done much to restore his shaken confidence. Three men he beat with wonderfully controlled action at speed and that memory should serve him well in his efforts to forget a disappointing season.
I thought Parker, Brian Harris particularly in the first half and Jones were the strong men in Everton’s defensive setup and of the forwards Thomas got through a lot of work with little reward.
Moran’s Hard Luck
Moran chalked up yet another highly satisfactory performance and though his maiden goal continues to elude him, it is only sheer bad luck that is so consistently keeping his name out of the scoring lists. A cracking drive from a short Wilkinson free kick beat everybody and no wonder Moran shook his head disconsolately as he narrowly cleared the target.
It would be extremely difficult to name three Liverpool displays to surpass those they have give for Everton’s discomfiture this season and there can be little doubt that such form consistency produced would have earned a more deserving reward than they have received from their endeavours in Second Division football.
This latest victory, however, will do nothing to lull the club into a false sense of well-being and a belief that all will come right next season for intensive activities in attempts to obtain new signings, which are going on incessantly behind the scenes, are an indication of the determination that if at all possible the necessary reinforcements will be forthcoming.
Surely they will not always have to accept “No” for an answer to their approaches.
Liverpool: Tommy Younger, John Molyneux, Ronnie Moran, Johnny Wheeler, Dick White, Barry Wilkinson, Fred Morris, Jimmy Melia, Billy Liddell, Alan Arnell, Alan A’Court.
Everton: Albert Dunlop, Alex Parker, John Bramwell, Brian Harris, Tommy Jones, Mick Meagan, Jimmy Harris, Eddie Thomas, Dave Hickson, Frank Wignall, Bobby Laverick.
Referee; Mr. W. Hickson, (Wigan).
(Source: Liverpool Daily Post: May 6, 1959)