Reflecting on some memorable cup ties involving Reds on the 16th December in previous years……..
It is a well known that Workington reached the quarter finals of the Football League Cup in both the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons. Perhaps less well known is the fact that our interest each season ended on the 16th December and, taking the coincidences one step further, it was a case of being hit by some capital punishment.
Back in 1963, we were paired with West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground and the history books tell us we had our heaviest defeat in the competition inflicted upon us, losing 6-0 to Ron Greenwood’s Hammers.
The Upton Park boys were skippered by the one and only Bobby Moore and fellow future World Cup winner, Geoff Hurst, scored one of the goals. Johnny Byrne helped himself to a hat-trick on the night with Tony Scott and Ticker Boyce completing the half dozen.
Reds line-up was: Ower, Johnston, Lumsden, Furphy, Brown, Burkinshaw, Middlemass, Timmins, Carr, Moran, Martin.
After holding Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at Borough Park, the replay was at Stamford Bridge on this day in 1964.
Once again, we fell to First Division opposition but, on this occasion, the 2-0 defeat was a bit more respectable. Chelsea handed a first team debut to teenager Peter Osgood and the youngster marked his arrival on the English football scene by scoring both goals.
Chelsea went on to win the League Cup but acknowledged how difficult the two games against the Reds had been.
Our team was: Ower, Ogilvie, Lumsden, Hale, Brown Burkinshaw, Watson, Carr, Napier, Moran, Martin.
It should be pointed out that the attendances at West Ham (10,160) and Chelsea (7,936) were about a third of the league average at the time but two fantastic experiences for Reds nevertheless.
So plenty of pride but no glory from those encounters in the sixties but we achieved both in more recent times, three years ago in fact.
The FA Trophy First Round paired us with Hartlepool United in 2017 – the first competitive encounter between the clubs for over forty years.
And Reds (5th position as a Step 3 club) caused a big upset by knocking Hartlepool (14th in Step 1) out of the competition.
A wonderful Scott Allison goal in the 82nd minute sent the Borough Park crowd into raptures. Our top scorer volleyed home Nathan Waterston’s sublime cross from the right to secure a memorable victory.
Conor Tinnion made his 200th appearance for Reds that day while John Walsh was joined in the commentary box by former Workington and Hartlepool skipper, Malcolm Dawes.
We were also underdogs for a Northern Premier League Challenge Cup tie at Fleetwood Town on this day in 1992.
But a fine headed goal from Billy Gilmour and Eamon Elliott’s first for the club helped us obtain a creditable 2-2 draw and, eventually, we won the replay. Fleetwood, now League One in the EFL, were watched by just 90 spectators that night!