21 September 1946 Blackpool 1 Aston Villa 0


But Blackpool Have A Gruelling


Blackpool 1, Aston Villa 0

By “Spectator”

THREE players who never dreamed that so soon after the war they would be in First Division football played in the Aston Villa match at Blackpool this afternoon.

One of Blackpool’s two reserves. Crosland, the former Fleet Air Arm pilot, had never played outside the Fylde League until three weeks ago, is still in an accountant’s office, and is able to train only in the evenings.

In the Villa team, too, there were a couple of men who were making their bow in the First Division. One was the full-back, Ashton, the other an unknown outside right, Haynes, who was in the Villa's third team five days ago.

Today there was little of the pre-match excitement which made a cup-tie of the Wolverhampton game two weeks ago.


BLACKPOOL: Wallace, Sibley, Lewis, Kelly, Crosland, Johnston, Eastham, Buchan, Mortensen, Blair (J) and McIntosh.

ASTON VILLA: Rutherford, Ashton, Cummings, Iverson, Moss (F), Lowe (E), Haynes, Dixon, Edwards. Smith and Goffin.

Referee: Mr. C. Fletcher (Davenham)

First Half 

There was nearly a sensation in the first minute.

After a long raid on the left which the Villa defence seemed unable to repel Johnston crossed a long throw-in as fast and high as a corner.

Rutherford leaped late to it and was half clutching the ball as Mortensen headed it out of his hands on to the line of an empty goal.

Moss cleared it anywhere as it was bouncing under the bar.    

The Villa’s answer was a corner in the next minute and a raid on the left which Wallace had to halt by racing 20 yards out of his goal.

Neither defence looked too compact in these early minutes, even if Crosland made one sound clearance with Smith cutting in fast.

The Villa were setting an off-side trap. 


It might have been expensive, too, for Blair darted to a re-bounding ball and shot it so fast that Rutherford was still in mid-air as it hit the top of the bar and bounced out. 

In the next minute Blackpool's goal was near down-fall, Smith shooting from close range a ball which Wallace beat out in a remarkable save. 

The Blackpool forwards at times seemed to be threatening to cut the Villa defence to ribbons. 

Cummings cleared in front of another open goal with Rutherford miles away chasing a forward who had been left on an open path.

Not that the Villa were out of it. Their forwards were fast and direct. The Blackpool defence under pressure was not as sound as I have seen it,

I liked the way Crosland headed one long forward pass away from Edwards, who is rated among the first half-dozen centre-forwards in the country.


Grand Clearance From High Centre 

Wallace made a gland clearance with two forwards on top of him, when Lowe crossed a high centre into a packed Blackpool goalmouth. 

The offside whistle was often halting play which had not a lot of excitement in it after a dramatic opening. 

The Villa's offside trap was repeatedly bringing to a standstill Blackpool's close-passing forwards.

Yet this game nearly cost the Villa a goal in the 25th minute.

Blair delayed his pass until McIntosh was on-side, and the winger raced away on his own and crossed a centre which Mortensen headed only inches wide.

Blackpool's goal was as near downfall two minutes later when Goffin shot in a ball which Wallace parried brilliantly before making another full-length clearance from the corner which followed.

There was little in it with half an hour gone. 


The Villa used fewer passes, and as a result there was a menace in their raids which Blackpool were less often revealing. 

Lewis made two fine clearances in rapid succession, one almost under the bar, as the Villa's pressure continued. 

Haynes, the young unknown on the Villa's right wing, missed a goal and a chance to make a name for himself with 10 minutes of the half left, shooting over the bar from a scoring position. 

Then the Villa conceded two corners in a minute. Neither produced anything. It was ordinary sort of football. 

In the end an unexpected goal gave Blackpool the lead in the 37th minute. 

Blair and Mortensen were both in it. Short passes between the two men created a bare sort of chance.  

MORTENSEN took it, and shot from 20 yards out a ball which never rose an inch above the grass, and was in the back of the net with Rutherford falling late to it. 

Later, Wallace made another grand save as Haynes shot at him a high, rising ball, which would have beaten nine goalkeepers out of 10. 

Half-time: Blackpool 1, Villa 0. 


Villa went straight for goal in the first half-minute of the second half. 

Lewis had to clear at the cost of a corner with the left wing racing into shooting position. 

These Villa forwards knew the direct route to goal and took it. even if nothing particular seemed to happen when they got there. 

The first big chance of the half fell to Blackpool, but Blair missed it, slicing the ball yards wide. 

It was left to Kelly, after Blackpool's first full-line raid of the half, to force Rutherford to a clearance with a shot from 20 yards out.

Half a minute later, it should have been 1-1 as the Blackpool defence waited for an offside whistle that never went and left Haynes in a position where he should have scored. 

He shot instead excitedly at Wallace with the rest oi the goal to aim at. 


For a time Blackpool were outplayed by a team faster and still employing fewer passes. 

Lewis made a desperate clearance at Smith's feet after Blair had raced on his own through the Villa defence and appeared to hit the outside of the near post with his shot.

The Birmingham team nearly dictated the first 15 minutes of the second half, and missed sufficient chances to have taken the lead. 

Johnston was steady in Blackpool’s defence as it lost position against Villa’s almost non-stop attack. 

Elsewhere desperate interceptions alone halted these raiding forwards. 

Deprived of passes. Blackpool's front line could find little plan, and was reduced to lone spurts.


Buchan headed wide in one of these raids before Rutherford left his goal again to snatch away a high bouncing ball from Mortensen’s head. 

There were signs with 20 minutes left that Villa had gambled all-out for a goal early in the half and lost their chance.  

Ten minutes from the end came a sensation. The Villa were still raiding. 

Wallace advanced to snatch away the ball, clutched it to his chest, challenged a forward and tumbled him to earth as he still held it.

Without hesitation and in spite of all the goalkeeper’s protests Mr. Fletcher gave a penalty.

Cummings took it and shot a ball which Wallace beat out on his knees to tremendous cheers. 

Blackpool were hanging on by their teeth until the last minute. 

In that last minute Eastham missed one of the chances of the game,


BLACKPOOL 1 (Mortensen 37 min)  



Something went wrong with the Blackpool machine today. It had little of the precision or purpose which have marked the team's football this season.

The presence of two reserves probably affected the defence. Yet it should not have done.

For Kelly, as the game progressed, became more and more tenacious in the tackle and was seldom passed, and except in the air Crosland gave little away

Yet this defence was curiously out of order at times. Too often it was left to Wallace, Lewis and Johnston to retrieve it from disaster. 

The forwards this time were in and out. It was seldom that the ball came back from the wings 

Nearly all the craft of the line, which played too close, was limited to one man, Blair, Mortensen waited in vain for passes which never came.

The Villa can blame their forwards for losing this match - a line which seemed able to do everything except shoot a goal.    

Gates Closed Again At Bloomfield-road

By “Spectator”

A late rush compelled the closing of the gates five minutes before the kick-off in the Blackpool v. Aston Villa match this afternoon.

FOR 15 minutes before this decision was reached dozens of people had been climbing out of the south terraces and under police escort transferring to the packed east side.

The attendance again approached 27,000. This is the third successive time that hundreds of people have been locked out of the Blackpool ground. Stewards were warning long queues "Standing room only" an hour before the teams took the field.

But there were no signs at that time that the gates would be closed again. When the gates were opened at 1.30 fewer than 1.000 people were waiting outside. Afterwards traffic was thick in all streets within a half-mile radius of the ground.


The services of a special squad of packers were required as Spion Kop and the terraces began to fill, and eventually on the embankment there seemed few untenanted inches. 

I hear by the way, that Tom Buchan, the young half-back who was hurt at Brentford on Wednesday, is still in bed under doctor’s orders. It may be a few weeks before he is on a football field again.

Two Blackpool Defeats Not a Disaster

By “Spectator”

THERE was no flag waving in this column when Blackpool won the first four games of the season. There are to be no lamentations because the next two have ended in defeat. 

You can lose a sense of proportion at this time of the year without realising it. 

Eight points out of eight do not necessarily make a championship team. The loss of four points is no reason for the ordering of funeral crepe or dismal talk about relegation.

It's a long time until the beginning of May. A lot can happen in the next seven-and-a-half months.

Yet, whatever happens now, the Blackpool team that has been in the field in the first three weeks of this season - and the men who trained it before the season opened in a new plan of action - are entitled to compliments. 

The cause of the defeats at Sunderland and Brentford requires no expert analysis. 

Apart from an inclination at times during the Roker Park match to play a game which was a shade too close and had a few too many passes in it, the Blackpool forwards can be given a “Not guilty” verdict in both engagements.   

Two Goals a Match 

THE line’s record of 13 goals in six games - four of the games away from home - speaks for itself.

This two-goals-a-match average has been achieved too, by a line with no fewer than three of its five men out of position - an inside forward at outside-right, another inside forward at centre-forward, and a centre-forward, which was McIntosh’s first position, at outside-left.

No, there's been nothing wrong with the forwards. Their football in the open for the first half-hour at Sunderland I have seem no Blackpool forward line equal for years.

If half the chances had been taken the match would have been won before ever Sunderland were permitted to enter it!  

Defence Unsettled 

IT was the defence which made the serious errors in this game. 

Yet as a defence it has no mean record this season, Until the Sunderland match it had played three hours without surrendering a goal against such forwards as Brentford and the Wolves can field today. 

That this defence was unsettled by the absence of Suart stood out a mile. But I am told that the young Ansdell recruit from the Fleet Air Arm, Crosland, played such a composed and confident game at Brentford that the question of an understudy for this position should not offer any particular problem. 

Return of Hayward 

THE problem may be who to play there. For Hayward is appearing for the Reserve today at Wolverhampton, and may soon be challenging for the post again. 

It all resolves itself to the conclusion that Blackpool today about 100 per cent stronger than 99 out every 100 people expected three weeks ago - not perfect but what team is?  That I think, is beyond dispute.

Exultation after four victories would have been premature. So is depression after a couple of defeats. 

Jottings from all parts 

BY "SPECTATOR" 21 September 1946


THE Villa played today on a Blackpool ground where only once a team from Villa Park has lost a First Division game. 

That was the amazing match in March, 1933, when Phil Watson, the Scottish centre-half, fielded as a last desperate resort as a centre-forward, shot a "hat trick” in the first half-hour, and Blackpool took the points 6-2. 

The last time the clubs met in the First Division in September, 1938, it was the old story again. 

Nearly always these games, produce a harvest of goals. There were six in the 1938 match, and the Villa had four of them.

Willie Buchan scored Blackpool’s two for the following team:

Wallace, Blair (D.), Sibley, Farrow, Hayward, Johnston, Munro, Buchan, 0’Donnell (F.), Blair (J.), and Dawson. 


THERE must be prophets in S.E.A.C. 

Several weeks before the season opened, at a time when confidence in the Blackpool team in these parts was at its lowest ebb, Major Dennis Airey wrote to one of the Blackpool directors, Mr. T. W. Judson, from a Burma outpost. 

There was, apparently, no depression out there about Blackpool’s prospects. Major Airey sent a message of good luck to the team from Blackpool men he had met or commanded. and commented, “They all say that Blackpool can lick the living hide of any team.” 

And that was written in our mid-summer!


TIME marches on . . . I realised how it has marched when I met Albert Watson, one of Blackpool's between-the-war's captains outside Roker Park last weekend.

He came to Blackpool at about the time Matthew Barrass enlisted with the club - and Barrass now has a son playing for Bolton Wanderers.

One of the old brigade now is Alpert Watson - "I'm 43," he said as if he were confessing to the age of Methuseleh - is in an electrician's business in the North-East, but would prefer to be in football again.

The family name is still on Blackpool's books. One of his nephews has signed amateur forms for the club.


KICK-OFF In the Portsmouth match at Blackpool on Monday is at 5.40 pm. The last time Portsmouth came to town the F.A. Cup came with them. They had won it week earlier at Wembley by defeating the Wolves.

The date was May 6th, 1939. Blackpool won 2-1. The goals were scored by Dai Astley and Jock Dodds.


I HEAR that there may be a sequel to a certain incident in the Blackpool-Wolverhampton Wanderers game a fortnight ago. 

A report has been sent to the authorities - but not by Blackpool. 


A MAN to watch among Blackpool's reserves:  George Dick, the 6ft., 12st. forward, who appeared at headquarters late in the close season, presenting a recommendation from the B.A.O.R. -  to Chelsea. Stamford Bridge may yet regret that he took a train to Blackpool instead of to London.

He is strong, direct - everything in build that a raiding forward should be.


ANOTHER penalty goal last weekend for Peter Doherty, who will be playing against Blackpool at Derby next Saturday. 

It's not often he misses penalties. He has missed few since he perfected the technique at Blackpool.

He seldom shoots the ball from the spot. He rolls it, instead, slowly wide of the goal-keeper. 

Once he rolled it at Blackpool, and forgot the couple of inches of mud on the ground. The ball barely crawled over the line. 


MET Louis Cardwell, the former Blackpool centre-half, at the Central League match on Monday. He looks as fit as ever - and there have been few fitter men in football. 

It is eight years ago that he followed Peter Doherty to Maine-road on a £6,000 fee. He has been worth every penny of it to the City. 

I rank next to Maurice Webster and George Wilson as the best centre half-back produced by Fylde football between 1919 and 1939. 


WHAT do I think of the Pole, Adam Wolinin? I have been asked that question a dozen times since the Central League match on Saturday.

He has great promise. Not only is he always hunting for the ball, but he knows when to part with it, and he can shoot.

But nobody pretends that he is the complete footballer yet. But he may be one day - if only, as a. Pole, Blackpool can offer him a professional contract, 

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