A look through the diaries to see what was happening to Reds on 26 April in years gone by……..
Workington’s overall record on this day is nothing to write home about, particularly during the eighties and nineties, but just four years ago the boys produced a memorable performance in a thrilling play-offs game at Blyth Spartans.
We had finished the regular season in 5th position and thirteen points behind runners-up Spartans. The league matches had gone with home advantage – Reds won 2-0 at Borough Park, Spartans emerged 3-0 victors at Croft Park.
And it was the old play-offs mentality that went in our favour. Spartans had amassed 99 points over the regular campaign, a tally that would have clinched the title in any other year. But they missed out because Darlington’s record was even better!
Reds had looked to have blown their chance during April, after dropping eight points, but finished with three wins to set-up the 2nd v. 5th knock-out tie.
Without doubt, it was certainly our best ever showing in the play-offs as we ran out 4-3 winners thanks to a last minute winner from Rob Wilson.
A Scott Allison (pictured) hat-trick of quality goals saw Reds lead 1-0 and 3-1 but Spartans restored parity with responses from Sean Reid, Dillon Morse and Danny Maguire. Then Rob netted a 90th minute decider to clinch our place in the final at Salford.
It was a fantastic performance in front of an attendance of 1,124 – many of whom travelled across the A69 to be there.
Sadly, we couldn’t complete the job at Salford a few days later.
Craig Johnston (pictured) was writing himself into the record books on this day in 2003, after scoring a penalty winner in a 2-1 success at Lincoln United.
We had gone a goal down after just two minutes but Rob Ennis had levelled matters with his sixteenth goal of the season before Craig scored the decider from the spot. It was the ninth consecutive league game in which he had scored, establishing a club record in the process.
Our solitary Football League success on this day was back in 1972 with Alan Tyrer and Tommy Spratt sharing our goals in a 2-0 success at Exeter City. Tommy finished top scorer (11 goals) after a season which ended in 6th position under George Aitken’s management.
And the best win and individual scoring performance on this day was way back in the mists of time, 1924 in fact, when Reds emerged 7-3 North Eastern League winners in a home clash against Leadgate Park. Jack Thom scored five that day and he would finish as the league’s top scorer with 30 goals.
Strangely, we met the same opposition the following week, away, and played out a goalless draw.
Results, and performances, were not so good at one point, however.
A Sunday afternoon trip to Bangor City in 1987 ended in a 4-0 defeat, with Carl Dale causing much of the damage with a hat-trick, and we suffered similar setbacks at Borough Park in 1994 and 1997 losing heavily to Spennymoor United and Leigh RMI respectively.
And the mid-nineties mediocrity was epitomised by Blyth Spartans’ 5-0 victory in 1995 as they marched towards the title and we finished 3rd bottom!
Six years ago and a after a nine season stay in Conference North, we said good-bye to manager Ian McDonald following a 2-0 reverse at Stalybridge Celtic.
If nothing else, there was a huge thank-you to Reds’ depleted and battered squad for their loyalty and commitment during a hectic final week two years ago. In the space of six days, we had travelled to Matlock, Stalybridge Celtic (twice) and Coalville Town including a twelve hour turnaround between the away games at the latter two. The Thursday evening match in Leicestershire resulted in a 3-0 defeat but the score line was irrelevant, we were just so proud that our threadbare squad had completed such a crazy schedule.