WEST BROMWICH ALBION 7 –v- BLACKPOOL 1
At The Hawthorns – Saturday 28th April 1962.
1962-10.08-Jack Lovatt-Scored 4th goal-Press Portrait
It’s not often that Albion score seven goals, home or away. So, when they do, it’s nice to advertise the achievement to as many ‘Interested parties’ as you can. The added fact, that this great result, against a Blackpool side, finishing just three places below ‘the Baggies’ in 13th position, the same week as I left school, certainly makes this a ‘Great match’. Well, in my book anyway. It certainly rounded off one of the greatest weeks in my life!
Always an attractive fixture back in the 50’s and 60’s. Blackpool’s visit to the Hawthorns, on the very last day of the 61/62 season, was in fact their second visit of the season. They had previously been beaten by Albion 2 goals to one, in the FACup third round replay in the January. The tie at Bloomfield Road, having ended in a goal-less draw.
Before the game, the crowd were treated to the spectacle of Albion’s International full-back, Don Howe, being awarded with the ‘Midland Footballer of the Year’ trophy, by the then club Chairman, Major H Wilson-Keys. Don was afforded a ‘Guard of Honour’ by both sides as he walked onto the Hawthorns turf to accept the award. A ‘star-studded’ affair, this match included fellow internationals, Jimmy Armfield, the Blackpool skipper, and Albion duo, Bobby Robson and Derek Kevan. All of whom, along with Howe, would feature in England’s World Cup preparations for Chile.
The game itself, started with a ‘bang’. No sooner had Howe put his trophy down, than his team were in the lead. It took Albion’s ‘sharp-shooting’ talisman, Derek Kevan, just 30 seconds to register the first of his four goals on the day, and the first of a 25 minute hat-trick for the Albion leader.
‘Chippy’ Clark it was, who made it all possible. Albion’s ‘Wizard of the wing’ completely out-stripped, Crawford and Armfield, put over an immaculate cross, which the Blackpool defence could only scramble away as far as Alec Jackson. Jackson headed the ball back into the box, for Kevan to hook into the net past the ‘Sea-siders ‘keeper Harvey, deputising for the injured Waiters. After seven minutes Albion were two-up, and it was that man Kevan again. Once again, it was Clark who made it possible, when following good work by Bobby Hope, ‘Chippy’ let loose with a with a terrific shot from an acute angle, which Harvey could only parry. The ball ran loose to Kevan, who merely tapped the ball into the empty net.
1962-28.04-Don Howe award
With Albion making all the running, 2-0 became 3-0 after 25 minutes. Jack Lovatt, making only his seventh appearance of the season for Albion, slid a perfect ball through the heart of the Blackpool defence. Kevan, in classic style, burst through, took the ball in his stride, rounded the oncoming ‘keeper, and placed the ball into the corner of the unguarded net. It was the big mans 32nd league goal of the season, and completed his second hat-trick of the campaign., the other being in the November 3-1, home win against Sheffield United.
By this time, the men from Lancashire, were totally ‘shell-shocked’ and seemed to have no answer to Albion’s ‘battering-ram’ that was Derek Kevan. However, the longer Albion went without adding to their total, the more Blackpool came into the game. Between scoring their third on 25 minutes, and half-time, Albion’s only positive effort was a 40 yard shot by Robson, which skimmed the bar. For the visitors, both Parry and Horne went close, before Dave Charnley reduced the arrears, with a fine headed goal, from Horne’s pin-point cross. Indeed, it could have been 3-2 just before half-time, when Parry’s power drive thudded against the bar, and over the top to safety.
Although still holding their two goal advantage, Albion were probably the more relieved of the two teams to see half-time come around. Time to re-group, and get their rhythm back for the second period. That they did in fine style. Within minutes of the re-start, Hope set up Jackson with a glorious opportunity, which the little inside forward spurned. Jackson’s effort, rebounded to Kevan, whose shot struck Lovatt, with Lovatt’s subsequent effort being parried away by ‘keeper Harvey.
It was ‘all Albion’ now, and certainly no surprise when Kevan, again burst through the middle, chasing a seemingly ‘hopeless cause’. Blackpool keeper Harvey fumbled Kevan’s hooked shot, and Jack Lovatt following up, promptly netted Albion’s fourth goal.
An ‘end-of-the-season’ affair, this certainly was not, with Blackpool playing their part in what was turning out to be a very entertaining affair. With the visitors pushing forward, attempting to get back into the game, they left themselves short at the back, and centre-half Gratrix was forced to handle the ball, to prevent Kevan from adding his fourth goal. However, it was only a ‘false dawn’ for the ‘Seasiders’. From the ensuing free-kick by, Robson played a neat ‘one-two’ with Alec Jackson, with Robson blasting the ball into the net from the edge of the box. It was Robson’s 4th goal of the season, and sadly his last in Albion’s colours. By August, he had returned to Fulham, from whence he came.
That goal came in the 75th minute, and the very next minute, only a brilliant save by Harvey prevented Jackson from adding a sixth. With five minutes remaining however, that sixth goal eventually came, with Don Howe converting a penalty, awarded for a handball, by the luckless Gratrix. Graciously, Howe, Albion’s spot-kick wizard, offered the opportunity to Derek Kevan, giving him the opportunity to increase his tally to four. Kevan declined, and Howe made no mistake from the spot.
The big man, did get his fourth goal however, just before the final whistle, when he converted Lovatt’s cross, to make it seven for Albion, their highest score of the season, on the very last day of the season. No more than they deserved, This was an impressive performance, against, make no mistake, a very good side
Sad, that only 18, 000 fans were present to witness a match that historically was quite significant.
It was Albion’s highest win of the season, and their second highest score of the decade. Albion would not emulate this score again, until thumping Burnley 8-1. Five years later, in 1967.
The match featured four goals from one of the finest exponents of goal-scoring, ever seen in the ‘Blue and White’, namely Derek Kevan. Indeed, Kevan topped Albion’s goal-scoring charts for the fourth consecutive year at the season’s end, to emulate the great Dave Walsh’s feat, between 1946 and 1950. The big man, would go on to top the list again the following season, before his departure, to Chelsea, in the March of 1963. Amazingly, with 17 games still remaining! Only Alec Jackson, who equalled Kevan’s 14 goals, could fill the ‘void’ left by the ‘the Tank’. Surely one of Albion’s poorest ever, transfer decisions.
Finally, it would be the late great Sir Bobby Robson’s, last appearance in an Albion shirt, and indeed his last goal for the club. What I would have given, to have been present, to have witnessed that.
Teams: Albion: Millington; Howe, Williams. G: Robson, Jones, Drury: Jackson, Hope, Lovatt, Kevan,