WEST HAM UNITED 3 –v- WEST BROMWICH ALBION 3
At Upton Park. Saturday 11th November 1961.
The Nation’s press generally agreed, after this match, what a wonderful advert for English football it was. Indeed, ‘Match of the season’.
1961-11.11-Jackson goal-v-West Ham-Sp&Gen
On a freezing cold November afternoon, with winters icy chill just starting to hit the UK, two teams, bursting with talent, and a desire, put on 90 minutes worth of entertainment. Even Southampton players, forced to migrate across London, to watch the game, when their game at The Valley against Charlton was called off, heartily agreed, it was, the best they had seen all season.
1961-11.11-Tony Millington-West Ham United-PAReuters
The Hammers, with skipper Phil Woosnam, at the heart of everything they created, and a youthful Bobby Moore, moved from left half to right half, as an experiment for this game, controlling everything in the middle of the park.
The home side scored three goals in a devastating 10 minute burst, to rock the visitors, who quite frankly, had been the better of the two sides ‘football wise’ for the first 15 minutes or so. However, as the old saying goes, ‘It’s goals that count’.
First, Malcolm Musgrove, fleet of foot, wizard of the wing, opened the scoring after 16 minutes.
hosts then proceeded to batter Albion with just about everything they had. They mounted attack after attack, on the now shakey Albion defence, and first Sealey after 18 minutes, then Bond, on 25 minutes, with a penalty, after Don Howe had brought down the ever-dangerous Musgrove, put the home side into an assumingly un-assailable, 3 goal lead.
Albion Tony Millington & Phil Woosnam-Ilford Recorder
However, although Albion were down, make no mistake, they were by no means ‘out’. From that point in the match, with 15 minutes of the first half still remaining, they took control of the game. Their inspiration, was a wing half, with the poise of a guardsman, and the ball artistry of a Joe Davis, by the name of Bobby Robson.
Without doubt the finest wing half of his generation, and surely the first name Mr Walter Winterbottom, the then England manager, would put onto his England team sheet. Bobby pulled his team-mates up by their ‘boot straps’, and made them play. He orchestrated everything. As Pat Collins, cultured ‘scribe’ of his day reported “Watch how these Albion boys flowed back into the game”. He continued, “You can’t say fight, for that is too crude a word, to describe, this always elegant, West Bromwich football”. Certainly, it needed something, because after 25 minutes, you wouldn’t have backed them with someone else’s money!
Alec Jackson-opened scoring for Albion-Universal
Pat really set the scene, by proclaiming, “The Hammers fans, forgot the biting cold, and prepared for the slaughter to come. It never came!” Bobby Robson superbly backed up by, Stan Jones, Don Howe, Stuart Williams, and Chuck Drury, turned off the West Ham ‘tap’ and Albion, with as good a brand of football, “Mud or no mud,” Pat continued, “I expect to see all season”.
After Lawrie Leslie, in the Hammers goal, had brilliantly saved from Dave Burnside. Alec Jackson reduced the arrears for the visitors. ‘Jacko’ worked a brilliant one two, with inside forward colleague Burnside, dribbled the ball around Leslie, and placed the ball into an empty net. It was no more that Albion deserved, and that goal, gave the visitors a greater impetus to succeed. In truth, how they were still behind 1-3 still at the break, was probably beyond everyone, including even, the Hammers faithful.
The reason, that was the score at the turn-around, was due to the brilliance of ‘keeper Lawrie Leslie. He first ‘flew through the air’ to turn a Jackson ‘goal bound header’ over the bar, then ‘parried’ a fierce drive from Derek Kevan, which luckily fell into the path of team mate Bond, and not the onrushing Keith Smith.
Brilliant Bobby Robson-Central Press
With the second period under way, it was the home side that made the early running. The brilliant Woosnam, put John Bond through on goal, but the full-backs first time shot, skimmed the bar on it’s way over. Back came Albion, and after 53 minutes they got the break they deserved. Centre-forward, Keith Smith, was brilliantly put through by Burnside. Just as the Albion front man was about to shoot, Bobby Moore, brought him down from behind, in the penalty area. Despite hammers protests the penalty stood, and up stepped, the penalty taker supreme, Don Howe, who made no mistake with his cultured shot into the bottom right hand corner.
It was now, more than ever, ‘Game on’, and very much all, in the direction of the West Ham goal. Albion dictated the play, and won constant applause from the home supporters, for their cultured performance, and excellent man-to-man passing. After 70 minutes, they reaped the rewards of their efforts.
Derek Kevan- Equaliser for Albion-Sports Press Pics
Albion won a corner on the left, after some good play, once again by Jackson and Clark. Clark took the corner, found the head of Derek Kevan, and the ‘big man’ did the rest. He beat Leslie, with a glancing header, into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
What a ‘turn-around’. The home side, tried, to get back into the lead, but were never able to break down the visitors’ defence, superbly marshalled, as ever, by the brilliant Robson. Indeed, Albion, it was, that finished the stronger, and could have, maybe, should have, wrapped up the points, when Stuart Williams, beat three men in a tremendous run into the West Ham area, only to see his fierce drive, well saved by ‘the brilliant’ Leslie.
So, honours even, in a game that had just about everything. Unanimously, two men, stood out, in this game of superb performances. Bobby Robson, of course, for Albion, and a young, up and coming, Bobby Moore, for the Hammers. Ironically, it would be Moore, who would replace Robson, in the England side, whilst the latter was injured. Tragic for Robson, true, but who can deny, that the young man, Moore, would more than justify his inclusion in the national side, and in five years time, captain his country to world cup glory.
Teams: West Ham United: Leslie, Kirkup, Bond: Moore, Brown, Hurst: Crawford, Woosnam (Captain), Sealey, Dick, Musgrove:
West Bromwich Albion: Millington, Howe, Williams: Robson (Captain), Jones, Drury: Jackson, Burnside, Smith, Kevan, Clark:
Laurie Rampling-May 2010.
Musgrove goal opens the scoring for West Ham-Central Press
Sealeys goal forWest Ham in 3-3 draw
Team Group 1961-62-Ex&Star