Pilot’s Log (Don Kendall)
Liverpool’s first away win of the season –at Everton’s expense on Saturday –emphasized that the Reds will be challenging for honours again this season, but it still left Everton with problems. This Liverpool combination was complete in ideas, individual ability, combined skill and execution, but the Everton picture was not bright. In my opinion, the grandest feature of Saturday’s play from an Everton standpoint was that Ted Falder showed once again the form which last season enabled him to be one of the most discussed young centre-half-backs in the First Division. Falder played not at Goodison Park, but at Anfield in the Central League game, where he showed that erstwhile agility and command which seemed to have escaped him in his first team matches this season. I think the rest from the more arduous first team duties have worked the oracle with Falder and that he will be proving that his form of last season was no mere flash in the pan. It was unfortunate for Jack Humphreys that he should be recalled to face such a live effective attacking force as that of the Stubbins moulded Liverpool line, but that is the luck of the game. It was unfortunate, too, for Hold that he should find Hughes in such devastating form, so that for all his striving he could not come into the picture.
After such a complete victory as that of Liverpool, which brooked no argument or excuses, one naturally searches for something in the way of consolation for the losers, and the one thing can console the Blues to a certain extent is that much of their labored, insipid play must have been a legacy of their match with Arsenal on the Wednesday. Liverpool you see, had no mid-week match, and so always looked the fresher, livelier side. The Liverpool directors and officials were quite convinced that the mid-week game affected the Blues Alderman S. Ronald Williams said to me; “It was the mid-week match with Tottenham which took some of the snap out of our boys against Derby County, and Everton must have felt the strain of their mid-week game.” That voiced the entire Liverpool view after this match, which was one-sided that the usual thrills with which we always associate a “Derby” game were missing. In place of thrills we had joyous Liverpool football with ease and grace of movement; movement to the right spot by man or ball; and with their mastery being emphasized by the amount of time they always appeared to have in which to take control of the ball and use it. Possibly the “spirit of Goodison” entered into Liverpool, for they played football always on the ground in the traditional way of Goodison. Any tendency to put the ball into the air was on Everton’s part and not Liverpool’s. The old familiar “long ball up the middle” was superseded by craftsmanship and football which bore, the stamp of exactitude and efficiently.
Liverpool’s goals came in the space of 18 minutes in the first half, and afterwards the Reds played with such supreme confidence that they jog-trotted through the second half without ever losing their grip. One could excuse them for riding easily, and also for so cheekily concentrating at times on making for Jack Balmer the hat-trick which still eluded him. The manner in which Balmer’s colleagues tried to get him that goal tickled the fancy of the spectators more than somewhat in a game in which Liverpool forced seven corners to four by Everton, and with seven free kicks against Everton and nine against Liverpool. There was not an intentional foul or offence, and apart from one offside decision against Fielding, with which I disagreed, I thought Mr. Denham referred exceptionally well Liverpool protests against the award of that penalty in the second half as a mere formality, for no one seriously thought it anything but a penalty. There were 27 minutes remaining when it came, and must have given Everton a glimmering hope of recovery, but Wainwright side-footed it not inside the post but well outside. Not like Wainwright to miss penalties. The consolation goal to Everton in the last minute was a little lucky, for obviously Tommy Eglington tried to centre. Yet he hardly got hold of the ball properly which popped up over Sidlow, who had advanced to take the centre, and landed in the net.
The Right Spot
Apart from the leadership of Stubbins there was charm in the creative skill of Phil Taylor; the accuracy of the Payne and Liddell crossing, while if ever a man always was in the right position at the right moment it was Balmer. What a “nose” for finding the open and vital spaces! It was all a question of the mind working so quickly that the body followed automatically. Few have that Balmer anticipatory genius. Jones and Paisley never gave Fielding or Wainwright that real operative room, although Fielding always was manocurving for the right place to which to pass or the chance for a shot. Fielding, as a matter of fact, shot more than any other Everton forward. Buckle did some cute things in flashes, although he and Wainwright did not combine as well as they can blame for that being on the shoulders of Paisley and Spicer. Hold was not a successfully leader, and the striking power of the Everton line was killed in the main by the Lambert subjection of all Eglington’s attempts to burst down the wing. Eglington had to seek other and inside ways, and still gained honours by his delicate use the streaking cross-field pass. Yet Eglington could not get his own way so far as individual raiding was concerned. Lambert saw to that. Grant and Farrell covered a lot of ground in chasing the Liverpool shadows, and did well, but the defence never revolved efficiently around a Humphreys who, I thought, gave Stubbins a little too much room (or did Stubbins take it?). Moore and Clinton made mistakes, but still I thought they did well against this grand attack and will settle down all right. O’Neill compensated for any slowness on, two occasions by some clearance which were vitally important. Everton occasionally operated some cute movements, but generally speaking this was their poorest Goodison display of the season. Still, never forget that Everton were dazzled by the sheer brilliance of this Liverpool. Grand show Liverpool.
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