Football Round Up – Ronald Atkin (Observer 14 December 1969 p.24)
As the man said, it’s a funny game. But Bill shankley can perhaps be forgiven for not laughing. Having destroyed League leader Everton a week ago, his Liverpool team can hardly have anticipated being taken apart by Manchester United at Anfield.
Everton were quick to shrug off last week’s disaster, though the margin of their success at West Ham.
although missing Mick Jones.. Leeds did their stuff in epxpected fashion, pushing fellow Yorkshiremen Sheffield Wednesday into deeper distress at the foot of the First Division with a couple of second half goals from Allan Clarke.
West Ham 0 Everton 1 – Hugh McIlvanney (Observer 14 December 1969 p.24)
West Ham, who were slaughtered last Saturday when they might have drawn, completed a miserable double here by losing a match they should certainly have won.
Everton defended their lead in the League with physical determination rather than the gracefu skills that have established it and for long periods they were struggling breathlessly to cope, with the pace and variety of West Ham’s football. They were worried into methods that barely stopped short of the vicious. Darcy…behaved like a runaway bulldozer and Royle, descending to uncharacteristic depths, put Stephenson off the field with a dreadful foul.
Liverpool 1 Manchester United 4 – Arthur Hopcraft (Observer 14 December 1969 p.24)
More alarmingly for Liverpool than the result was the substantial contribution their defence made to three of the goals. Even the fourth, from Charlton’s ferocious right foot shot, rising irresistibly to the far top corner of the net would not have been possible had not Wall allowed Morgan to play the ball through his legs inside the penalty area.
Liverpool failed exactly where they were so certain against Everton a week before: in their claim on the ball anywhere on the field and their protection of the 18 yard area. All Manchester’s goals were scored from inside the box, and the first three were forced from directly in front of the posts.
United’s performance was uniformly sound and solfless, which is a compliment seldom applicable to them.
Their play contained instances of virtuosity, most of them from an inspired Best of a kind we expect; but for once the vital element in their work was its collective reliability. In a match of ceaseless excitement it was United, unexpectedly, who had the surer method, the secure look of pee-arrangement in defence.
Manchester City 1 Tottenham 1 – Leslie Duxbury (Observer 14 December 1969 p.24)
The temptation is to attribute a stilted City performance to the absence of Bell but it would be doing less than justice to a flinty Tottenham who were effectively determined to resist a further embarrassment on this ground.
Spurs plainly came committed to saving their face. Their tackling was crisp, their cover complete, their spirits always high. Their attitude and dedication were captured in cameo by the duel between Knowles and Summerbee on the right. The Spurs back appeared at time to be sharing Summerbee’s stockings, so close were his attentions.
Southampton 1 Nottingham Forest 2 – Tony Pawson (Observer 14 December 1969 p.24)
Nottingham Forest had the perfect technique for an away game. Having smothered Southampton’s eager attacks, they took advantage of their frustration to win the game with two telling thrusts.
The kill was neat and economical, the chances taken with deadly precision. That was the difference between the teams.
Southampton spurned their chances with a prodigality reckless in a side that has gone 18 league games without a win. Defeat was all the sourer for being self inflicted.