Welcome to the latest in our series of retro match reports. Our thanks this week must go to The Blue Correspondent website created by James Smith, who has produced a fantastic site for anyone who would really like to know their history. James is looking to digitise a match report for every game in the rich history of Everton Football Club.
EVERTON 7 CHELSEA 2
(Liverpool Post and Mercury)
Football League Division One – 14th November 1931
Chelsea visit provided Everton with another sweeping victory by seven goals to two. The last three home games have thus been won by scores of 9-3, 8-1, and 7-1, a total of 24 goals against 6 –a truly wonderful performance of consistent scoring. Saturday’s game will long be remembered as a personal triumph for Dean, who scored the first five goals in a manner that confirmed the view of these who regard him as the most efficient centre-forward of the day. The first three were headed, and in this category Dean is certainly in a class by himself.
Everton’s success was the result of brilliant work well conceived and effectively carried through. Rarely did a forward hold the ball long enough to lose it. They drew the defence passed at the correct moment, and always moved towards their objective. With long sweeping passes frequently had the Chelsea defence in a tangle. Chelsea’s plan was in direct contrast to Everton’s. They hold the ball, made pretty movements, and generally finished by losing or misusing it after making little headway. It was not practical football, although at times it was attractive and good to watch, but against a strong forceful side such as Everton it was a policy that brought its own defeat. Early on it looked as though the understanding between Jackson and Gallacher would provide the Everton defence with a difficult problem. They worked well together and with grafty moves were fairly effective, but once Thomson and Cresswell found their bearings, the Chelsea right wing was quickly subdued. Indeed, long before the end the side as a whole was demoralized and outplayed.
Dean scored three goals in the first fifteen minutes, and with the object of strengthening the defence O’Dowd became a third back, while the Everton forwards were often maneuvered into an offside position, but in spite of these tactics Everton were irrepressible. For most of the game it was good, bright football with Everton the dominant side and Chelsea struggling hard to make their pattern weaving effective, but with little success. Sagar had not a great deal to do, but twice in the first half he turned the ball cleverly round the post from shots by Mills, and altogether gave a safe display. Sound and resourceful were Williams and Cresswell, although Chelsea forwards were so well held by the Everton halves that the backs had a fairly easy day.
Clark, Gee, and Thomson made a strong and formidable line always difficult to pass effective in linking up with their own forwards, Dean’s heading was a feature, and he missed few chances, especially when the ball came across head-high, while Johnson stood out as a great worker in a line that moved smoothly in a definite way. The Chelsea defence –never strong –broke under the terrific strain, while the wing half back were a source of weakness. O’Dowd did some good work, but he had to shoulder a task that was too difficult, besides having concerned with Millington in a mistake that gave Stein a goal. The forwards backed support, and would have done better by adopting more direct and practical methods. No interval was taken, Dean’s five goals were scored in 4,8,15,24,and 33 minutes, while Mills scored at 38, Johnson at 50, Stein at 60, and Jackson at 85 minutes.
Everton – Sagar, goal; Williams and Cresswell, backs; Clark, Gee, and Thomson, half-backs; Critchley, White, Dean (captain), Johnson, and Stein, forwards.
Chelsea – Millington, goal; Odell and Law, backs; Russell, O’Dowd and Carter, half-backs; Jackson, Gallacher, Mills, Rankin, and Crawford, forwards.