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Graver's Greatest Game

20 January 2014

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Here's how the Lincolnshire Echo reported Andy Graver's six-goal salvo in the Imps' record Football League victory...

Lincoln City 11 Crewe Alexandra 1, Division Three (North), Saturday 29 September 1951.

By N.H.B.

"COME on, this isn't a game of cricket" called a spectator at Sincil Bank after watching Lincoln City and Crewe Alexandra walking through the first quarter of an hour of Saturday’s game. The advice was overdue, the Imps took it and winning 11-1, very nearly made it cricket, from the score point of view at any rate.

There was nothing in the first quarter of an hour which gave any indication of the goal-treat to come, for Crewe played some competent football, even though it was only at half pace.

It was good enough to give City’s defence some severe shocks, and there is yet something to do to improve this department of the Lincoln side, in which Green and Jones were outstanding.

They might very well have conceded two or three goals in the first half if Crewe had been smarter to seize their chances.

A goal from Graver after 19 minutes was really the turning point of the game, for after that, while Crewe occasionally looked like a goal, the Imps scored more or less as they likes.


After that first goal, Lincoln played football at a cracking pace, and their speed and accuracy had the Crewe defence hazed and bewildered to such extend that 19-years-old Murray, playing his first game in the Northern Section, never had a chance in the visitors’ goal.

His inexperience was patent, but he should not be made the scapegoat of a defeat for which the more experienced men must share the blame. Murray was never given the cover even an experienced goalkeeper is entitled to expect.

The score makes Crewe look a bad side, but they are not as poor as it seemed. Their defence had conceded only 11 goals before this fateful visit to Sincil Bank, but they met the Imps in devastating form when everything the home team did came off.


City cashed in on their chances. They had the edge in every department of the game, and they took advantage of the opportunity to improve a goal average that has been causing come concern.

With Sheffield United, Lincoln City now have scored more goals than any other Football League club, and but for the “goals against” column, they would be as well placed as the “Blades.”

In this record-breaker, Andy Graver hit six of the best goals I have ever seen him score.

Suffering from a severe cold, he had medical treatment before he came out, and his performance shows without doubt how he is improving.

His goals, two with his head, two with his right foot and two with his left, put him at the top of the Football League list of goalscorers, and he took them all very well. Lees, the Crewe centre half, cannot have had such a tottering time ever since he came into League football.


Even on a successful day like Saturday, the defence had to get itself into knots several times, and Mitcheson’s goal was a blot on a good day’s work.

Nevertheless, the team as a whole played well, as the score indicated. The wing halves were strong and supported their forwards well, and their grip on the game rarely wavered.

It is ironical that Johnny Garvie, top scorer last season, could not get among the goals on a day like this, but everything conspired against him in this respect.

He had an excellent game, however, and it was from a good deal of his work that the goals actually came, and I think he might well have scored in the first half when he was pulled down, and Horace Green netted from the spot.

Whittle also had a great hand in this record-breaking game. His second half goal, the result of a shot from the edge of the penalty area which went into the net as if jet-propelled, was one of the best of the game, matched by a similar one from Harry Troops, who also made the Crewe defence look very slow.

George Johnson, the left winger, in his first Northern Section game at Sincil Bank, showed considerable promise.

Naturally , he has a deal to learn, particularly in the art of positional play, but he crosses a good ball, can beat a man, and if allowed to settle down, should certainly make the position his own.

Sincil Bank spectators are certainly getting their value in goals this season, and if the Imps could only reproduce this form away from home they would take some stopping.

For the record book, this is the biggest Football League goals total since season 1948-49, and, of course, a club record. Previous best were 9-1 against Accrington last season and a similar score against Halifax in 1932.

Scorers: Graver (6), Whittle, Green (pen), Troops, Johnson and Grummett.

Graver’s six, of course, do not bring him a record. He still has some way to go to equal Frank Keetley’s Football League record of six in one half.

City team: Jones, Green, Varney, Wright, Emery, Grummett, Troops, Garvie, Graver, Whittle, Johnson.

photo - To commemorate his six-goal haul against Crewe, Andy Graver is presented with the match ball by manager Bill Anderson. Looking on is goalkeeper Jimmy Jones.

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