Everton Almost Snatch Victory in the Sunshine

Aug 9 1969

Arsenal 1 (Graham 38), Everton 1 (Hurst 74)

Kendall introduces himself  to the young Charlie George as a steam train with no brakes, as Gould is clipped on the heels on the way through.

It was a game of robust tackling, forceful attacking play and missed opportunities under a bright London sky. In fact the tackling was more dirty than robust, especially from an Everton side known last season for their stylish football. Perhaps with the return of the diminutive Ball, some semblance of entertainment might return to the toffees.

Arsenal, on the other hand, seemed the team more concerned with trying to get the ball into the net in the first half. They lapsed back to their usual football ways in the second almost allowing Everton to steal and clobber their way to the full two points.

It was in the first few minutes that Arsenal made their intentions known. Not too concerned with getting a suntan (as Londoners they must all surely own sunbeds or have lifetime memberships to such contraptions), Graham sublimely slid his way the Everton throng on the left side of the Everton box. He cut in from a confused Wright and shot powerfully, only for Everton’s West to parry the ball away for a corner.

On the quarter hour mark Everton won a throw in near their left corner flag. Without waiting for Arsenal to remove their sunglasses, Kendall picked up the ball and threw it with venom towards Royle. Royle spun round, but this must’ve confused him as he shot the ball high over the cross bar. Earth tonight has a new satellite orbiting around it. Leather is such a versatile material even in space.

Halfway through the first half McLintock, trying to pay back Kendall for a harsh tackle on new boy George, tried to help Kendall become the first man orbiting the earth without a spaceship. Such propensity for a scientific breakthrough earned McLintock a booking and Kendall a lovely momento: a dark bruise on the left calf.

Young Charlie George got his chance to impress just after the half hour mark as a long Wilson goalkick was allowed to bounce all the way into the Everton box. George pounced on it like a wild tiger but his shot was just wide. He has enthusiasm at least to go with his bohemian hair style.

Penalty! Wright tries to surgically remove Radford from his boots, with his feet still in them.

It was in the 38th minute mark that the game changed complexion. With George Graham playing a lovely interpassing movement with Radford, it allowed Radford to move into the box with only West to beat. This is when self appointed surgeon Wright decided to experiment with a new procedure: to remove the boots from a player, with the feet still in them. In reality it was a clumsy challenge and he was deservedly booked for the tackle. Radford duly hobbled away and no doubt would be saving his pennies when buying his new boots, as he would be requiring a smaller size from now on.

Up stepped Graham and duly scored for Arsenal. 1-0 to the Arsenal as the languid chant goes and so it remained at half time.

Yet it was a more determined Everton which returned in the second half and they faced an Arsenal side that seemed  to enjoy a lovely steak and a subtle Bordeaux for lunch. Sluggish is too kind a word for what they displayed at Highbury in the second half. It was all Everton.

It was left to Wilson and his gloveless hands to save the Arsenal time and time again. A sublime shot from Hurst on the left edge of the box was pushed away by Wilson to safety. Five minutes later Wilson used his feet to slash  away a Royle shot from an even more difficult angle.

The equaliser had to come and it did in the 74th minute. A lovely passing combination by Harvey, Kendall and Labone in the middle of the park confused the Arsenal midfield, which allowed Hurst to run in on the right side of the box and score near the bottom of the right post.

Everton almost won it in the death throes as a Royle dribble saw him pass McLIntock and Rice and with only the goalkeeper to beat, Royle did what most strikers do at the beginning of the season, he shot straight at Wilson who duly produced a sublime stop and saved a point for the home side.

Both teams need to improve if they are to challenge for the title but perhaps they could be excused as the lovely weather everyone enjoyed during the match might’ve distracted them.

Arsenal: Wilson, Rice, McNab, McLintock, Neil, Simpson, Robertson, George, Gould, Graham, Radford.

Everton: West, Wright, Brown, Kendall, Labone, Harvey, Husband (Kenyon), Jackson, Royle, Hurst, Morrissey.

Graham cooly stokes the ball into the net to put Arsenal in front.

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