Ball gives Liverpool the Blues

Liverpool Echo - Saturday 21 March 1970

Everton gained revenge for that Goodison defeat in December, by beating derby rivals Liverpool at Anfield this afternoon. And this victory for the Blues means that they have stepped up the challenge to Leeds. To-days results mean that Leeds, the current League champions, are still doing the chasing . . . and with time running out, they must go some to catch Everton.

Joe Royle's first derby goal—and his 21, of the season—put Everton ahead deservedly at Anfield this afternoon. With Liverpool taking time to get in their stride it was Everton who were much more impressive in the first half —and playing into the Kop goal at that. Only some brilliant work by derby debutant Clemency in the Liverpool goal prevented Everton from increasing their lead and West at the other end, only had one save to make from Callaghan. With Everton showing superior speed and ideas in midfield, mainly thanks to the generalship of Ball it was the Blues who played the more progressive and penetrative football.

Two chances
The Liverpool defence was often beaten in the air in the first half-hour and Royle had two more chances to add to his goal tally. First he headed just wide and then put a weak shot into Clemence's hands as he tried to lift the ball over the goalkeeper's head. Clemence's best save came from a misplaced header by Yeats, but there was almost as much quality in the way he punched away from a header from Hurst. Everton, with their midfield pace, were winning the duel in the centre of the field as Kendall and Harvey backed up Ball. Liverpool's best move came when Thompson and Graham broke clear down the right but from Graham's centre Hurst headed away for a corner. Little was seen of Liver. more and St. John and it was Everton who always threatened to add to their lead. In this tension packed game the tackling was always hard but there was nothing out of the ordinary until Strong brought down Whittle and was promptly booked referee Walker. Everton's pace and more accurate passing give them a clear edge in the first half of play. The first half belonged to Everton—and particularly to Ball playing an inspired game Everton's superior was clinched by Whittle's goal three minutes after half time. This was the youngster's eighth score in 12 games this season and the way he nipped in to take a quarter chance after a shot from Harvey had been deflected, was typical of his pace.

Fight back
But, Liverpool came back with great spirit although their attacking play did not have the pattern of Everton's. Their best chance came from fine work by Graham down the right but Hughes and Thompson between them failed to get in an effective strike. Royle, who had dominated the air, headed just wide but Everton seemed content now to rely on their lead and fall back on effective defence Wright and Hurst were outstanding in an Everton defence which placed with composure and confidence. Smith, forging through from his defensive beat drove Liverpool on but with Ball stills the dominating midfield figure. Everton held all the aces.


Liverpool Echo - Monday 23 March 1970

Liverpool captain Ron Yeats was in no doubt about that first goal. "I headed it, Joe Royle never touched it. I only wish he had," he said. And he was backed up by Ian St. John. Said the Scottish star, recalled for his first game for a month: "They scored two scrappy goals. The first was headed into his own net by Ron Yeats and the second hit Alan Whittle on the knee and bounced into the net. When you're at the top things go for you, you get the breaks. We created a lot of chances but we didn't take them. “We created enough chances, in fact, to have won the match, but you can't win if you don't take them. I thought we created more chances than they did." A derby game was a new experience for young Doug Livermore. His reaction: “I didn't feel particularly nervous but I'm sick at the result. We didn't get a grip on the game at all.” Liverpool chairman. Eric Roberts, added: “I think it was a game far above the average for a derby, and it was a fair result."

On the "who scored!" controversy over Everton's first goal, Joe Royle was in no doubt. "I headed the ball first-I wasn’t aware of anyone behind me when I went for John Morrissey's centre. Anyway, I’m claiming it and it couldn’t have been more delighted with the timing of my first derby goal.”

Copyright - Liverpool Post and Mercury - Transcribed by

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