Maine Road win deserved against a galliant Everton

Pilot’s Log (Don Kendall)

The semi-final at Maine-road was completely satisfying to the thrill-seekers even if the game did not itself come into the “super” category. For 30 minutes this was an intense battle, for Everton looked really good, while Liverpool were getting over the amazingly nervous and uncertain opening, but then Liverpool began really to “feel” the game, and even before they had gained the lead which virtually ended, Everton they had got on top and never for a moment looked back. The second half was nearly all one-way traffic-towards the Everton goal.

Those Goals
Liverpool I think, deserved to win by a more convincing margin for two goals hardly represented their superiority and especially as they were themselves scratchy goals. Bobby Paisley deserves great credit for the manner in which he chased Burnett’s punch away, and with the ball running away from him, contrived to hook it back with his left foot so that it dropped straight into the net with neither the arriving Liddell nor Burnett touching it. The second goal was a semi-tragedy for Everton and Eddie Wainwright in particular. Little Rev Baron gave the Blues the jitters, forcing Farrell to keep in play a ball which was going out, and then Wainwright (not Farrell) as it at first appeared from the angel rather previously to push the ball diagonally to the penalty spot where Liddelll did the rest coolly comfortably and accurate the brave Burnett having no chance. It was a nightmare moment for Wainwright and he has the sympathies of all. Many Evertonians contended that the ball had already crossed the line before being sent to Liddell, but every Everton play states emphatically that the ball was in play all the time –another example of grand sportsmanship and in itself another tribute to Referee Fletcher who also was proved right by photographic evidence that Eric Moore did keep out the Stubbins header in the first half which brought such a strong Liverpool claim for a goal. The referee was right both times. Liverpool should have had more than those goals but once they had scored they never looked like losing the advantage for the Everton forwards crashed on the Liverpool half-backs rocks, and eventually became an idea less and dispirited fine lacking in design.

No Finish
Everton’s midfield work early on provident much of the football joy of the game, but their was no conviction in finishing, and that despite some goal worthy centres which swept through to vacant spots. When Everton failed to crown their clever approach with good football, Liverpool took the heart they needed and we began to see the machinations of that great half-back line of Taylor, Jones, and Paisley which eventually completely controlled and decided the game. That is the line which smashed Everton hopes as brilliant and masters footballers of varying style, which obliterated Everton attack so effectively that they were able to devote time plus to keeping their own attackers services. That little believe me will lay the foundations for Wembley success too. Liverpool unlike Everton always did look like scoring when they proved, and it is a tribute to Everton’s brilliant sound defence that the Reds failed in the many missions. Everton defeat there was reason for prominent satisfaction in the Everton mind, and none more so than the display of Eric Moore the youngest man in the game and one of the best. Not the best in my opinion for without qualification. Whatever I hand that tribute to Bill Jones but Moore was great and on this form an England player of the future. No full back has played Billy Liddell more successfully, Billy knew this and that is why quite early on he was ready to escape to some Moore-less spot so that he could gain effectiveness. It was Hedley’s luck to find Jimmy Payne in dazzling mood ably supported by the darting clever, working Baron. Neither of this pair ever have played better or stood the pace so well.

The Decoy
The orthodox of Liddell was used by Liverpool as a decoy to get the Everton defence out of position Liddell moved here there and everywhere to strike fear into Everton hearts and there was subtleness and delight in the manner in which partner Billy Fagan managed to find him wherever he went, Taylor’s creative abilities were a positive joy, while I doubt whether Bobby Paisley ever has had such a complete game. Stubbins was most-improved and besides his individual manipulation and alertness, he did hold the line together. Had Stubbins been faced with a less accomplished centre-half that Ted Falder he would have ended his non-scoring spell. Falder pleased me but neither Farrell nor Grant were as commanding as usual, due partly to the masterly of Baron and Fagan. Everton’s forwards promised so much, but fulfilled so little, and for the most part were overwhelmed by the bigger strong Liverpool defence in which Lambert and Spicer soon got over their shaky moments, and walked through to rest to make Cyril Sidlow for the most part a mere onlooker. Fielding juggled well but faded out and Eglington looked menacing without being able to get the ball to his left often enough. The Wainwright –Buckle wing started finely but soon fell to Liverpool mastery, and Catterick although promising things when moving wide to accept the long pass, was generally as clay in the hands of the Jones potter. This Jones was mighty. Make no mistake about that. For 90 minutes he was the supreme controller of the centre and never made the slightest sign of a mistake. All the Liverpool players played well and all the Everton player fought well, and with Jones and Moore the outstanding men of each side, in a game which Liverpool will never forget; which Everton can forget because they were below standard; and which we shall always treasure as the last great Reds’ stride to Wembley. The two chairmen with the respective Secretaries Theo Kelly and Jack Rouse travelled to London yesterday in time for today’s Football League meeting in private.

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