A first venture into the play-offs, the last Football League game and a rather unique fixture were our Borough Park exploits on the 14th May in previous years…….
First, we reflect on the Unibond League Premier Division promotion play-offs which eventually got underway after the Spennymoor United ‘farce’ in 2005.
Two weeks on from the end of the season, we hosted Prescot Cables (2nd v. 5th) and were confident of returning to form after an indifferent end to the regular season.
And a Will Varty goal (pictured) after three minutes settled the nerves as he headed the opener at the Derwent End. Craig Johnston doubled the advantage on the half hour and things appeared to be going to plan. But Cables reduced the arrears before the interval through Karl Connolly to give them hope.
A third goal early in the second half from Graham Goulding restored the two-goal cushion and Reds avoided any further scares to go through. A crowd of 736 witnessed what remains our only ninety minute play-off victory on home soil and meant Farsley Celtic would travel to Cumbria for the final.
A sad period in the club’s history came to a tame end in 1977 when we staged our last Football League game in the town with Newport County the visitors. We didn’t know it was the final fixture at the time but those long suffering Reds supporters sensed it was. Our fate was decided at the Football League AGM a month later.
On a beautiful sunny day but with a distinct lack of atmosphere, Reds were second best. County were in the mood, maintaining an impressive end of season revival of their own, and won comfortably thanks to Preece’s first half goal.
Included in their line-up was Ronnie Walker who had served Workington well over the previous five seasons.
Goalkeeper John Laisby made his first team debut for Reds that day.
Reds inexperienced team huffed and puffed before falling to a thirteenth home defeat and the ignominy of amassing just 19 points all season.
Keith Hackett refereed the game and, as our twenty six season stay in the Football League was coming to a feeble end, he was embarking on a notable career with the whistle.
It is not very often we host Irish opposition at Borough Park but we did just that in 1951.
As part of the Festival of Britain, the FA had organised a series of matches in the fortnight after the season’s end mainly against Scottish, Irish and continental opposition.
We welcomed Shamrock Rovers to Borough Park and played out a 1-1 draw against the Irish League team with a Scot, Willie Harkness, scoring our goal.
Shamrock also played at Carlisle United (0-2) and Barrow (1-3) on their mini tour of Cumberland and Furness.