A look through the diaries to see what was happening to Reds on 28 April in years gone by………..
End of April usually relates to end of season and, if you have put together positive league results during the month, an opportunity in the play-offs beckons. And, as far as Workington is concerned, that’s when things go wrong.
Five years ago was a good example of the end of the season heartache Reds fans have suffered. The last month had been good at the end of a very good season.
Reds had won five and drawn one of their last six matches but could not overtake FC United of Manchester but, as runners-up, we would get home advantage in the play-offs. That meant Ilkeston (pictured) would be our opponents in the knock-out phase, a team we had beaten comfortably home and away in our winning end to the regular season.
You could almost write the script – a home defeat!
And, unfortunately, it turned out that way. In a tense ninety minutes, Ilkeston’s Kane Richards bagged the only goal early in the second half and his team survived what little Gavin Skelton’s side had to throw at them. Deflation!
But the play-offs usually pull an extra thousand spectators through the turnstiles and gate receipts totalled £10,000 from an attendance of 1,391.
It was a similar scenario in 2010 but Conference play-offs were two-legged affairs and, on the back of six wins and two draws in April, it was 3rd v. 4th – Alfreton Town v. Workington.
Again, we had the backing of the west Cumbrian public with hundreds turning out for their annual visit in a gate of 1,483.
The opinion was that Reds were a far better team than Ilkeston, but Alfreton were certainly better than us at the time and they just about deserved their 1-0 first leg victory. Liam Hearn scored the winner ten minutes into the second half.
In between those two play-off disappointments, the end of season feeling was much better after surviving a final day relegation scrap at Worcester City in 2012.
One of eight clubs could have been relegated on the final day but a deserved 1-0 win ensured it wasn’t Workington and we actually finished in 13th position. Jordan Connerton headed the winner a quarter of an hour from time to the delight of the 100 Reds fans in the 800 strong crowd.
There was a bizarre end to the 2006-07 season, our second in the Conference, when Lancaster City visited us on the final day. Reds had already qualified for the play-offs, City were rock-bottom after a troublesome campaign.
Indeed they arrived at Borough Park with ‘no points’ – the ten they had won had been deducted for league infringements. Such was the interest of them finishing the season with a nil points total, Sky Sports covered the game from a City perspective.
No surprise, therefore, when they obtained a point in a 1-1 draw with Johnston and Helliwell the respective scorers – both from the penalty spot.
Lancaster officials subsequently told me that led to the best end of season party they ever had!
That was one of many disappointments on this day but, thirty years ago, we completed a league double over Rossendale United after a 2-1 win at their place – Peter Harbach and Andy Walker scoring the goals.
Keith Armstrong was the hero of our 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers in 1979, scoring both goals in our first win at Marston Road. The goalkeeper that day was Jim Arnold who, a decade later, would make his one appearance for Workington!
Searching for a home win on this day took me back to 1962 when Joe Harvey was given the perfect send-off, his team inflicting a 5-3 defeat upon Bradford City at the end of his five season tenure in the Borough Park hot seat.
Jackie Swindells (inset) had the satisfaction of scoring his first hat-trick for the club that day and was joined on the goal trail by Mike Commons and Johnny Haasz.
But the best individual scoring feat on this day was Andy Lincoln’s five goals in our 1934 7-0 romp against Annfield Plain. He would finish the campaign with 51 goals, 45 of which were in the league!
Given the industrial heritage of the two towns, it was rather apt that a player called Steele would find the target when Reds met Consett at Borough Park in 1949. Sydney Steele netted a penalty for the hosts in a 5-4 victory.
Two years ago, we said good-bye to Anthony Wright (pictured) who announced his retirement after the home game against Ashton United. We could not give him the winning send-off he deserved, we lost 2-1, but the players formed a guard of honour when he left the field for the final time.