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On this day – 21 April

A look through the diaries to see what was happening to Reds on 21 April in previous years…….

The name of Tony Geidmintis (pictured) crops up twice on this day in the past, firstly for his football exploits and secondly, and rather sadly, following his premature death.

Supporters under the age of fifty probably won’t remember Tony, a Londoner, who made 350 appearances for Reds over ten seasons in the sixties and seventies.  That was after making his Football League debut as a fifteen year old.

Back in 1970, a 3-0 win at Notts County, on the final day of our Fourth Division campaign, saw us avoid the re-election zone (bottom four) by just one point.  Tony scored twice that day in one of our most significant ‘last day’ wins.

But an away game at Caernarfon Town twenty three years later was a more poignant affair.  Tony, who subsequently played for Watford, Northampton Town and Halifax Town as well as two NPL games for Reds, passed away at the tender age of 44.

Our game against Caernarfon was preceded by a minute of silence to mark ‘Giddy’s’ passing.

The Caernarfon fixture was already a talking point because that was the season the Welsh club had to play their home matches in England to comply with retaining a place in the English pyramid system.

So our first away win over ‘The Canaries’ was obtained on English soil at Curzon Ashton’s old ground.  And that 1-0 victory was secured with a Paul Campbell goal which, privately, I dedicated to Tony!     

Keith Armstrong (pictured) was enjoying his stint at Workington during the second half of the 1978-79 season and scoring goals on a regular basis.  He netted two in a 3-1 home success over Morecambe with strike partner Walter Gillott also finding the target.

Keith Armstrong

But his career well and truly took off when he moved permanently to Finland.  He played and managed numerous Finnish clubs, winning many titles in both roles, before becoming the country’s top football pundit (Finland’s equivalent to Gary Lineker, I suppose).

John Smith became our key marksman during the first half of the eighties and he scored on this day in 1984 and 1985.  Firstly, his goal at Witton Albion was a mere consolation in a 2-1 defeat but his strike at Matlock Town twelve months later helped us to a 2-0 victory, rubber-stamped through a Neil Bramhall goal.

We were also on duty at Matlock’s picturesque Causeway Lane two years ago but lost 2-0 on that occasion.

Reds have also met Farsley Celtic twice on 21st April drawing the first (2-2) in 2001thanks to a Barry Irving goal and a sublime Glenn Murray lob then winning at Throstle Nest (2-1) in 2007 when Craig Johnston and Derek Townsley shared the goals.

Billy Charlton

Thirties hero, Billy Charlton (inset), must have enjoyed the Spring air too.  He scored five when Workington thumped Ashington 7-2 at Lonsdale Park in 1931 then, twelve months later, netted twice in a 5-0 success over Crook Town.  And not to be outdone, Robert Whalley bagged four as Reds inflicted a 6-0 defeat upon Bedlington United ninety two years ago!

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