Gallant failure at Anfield, on Trophy duty in Essex and not much joy in league matches are some of the bullet points from Reds escapades on the 12th January in years gone by…….
Reds were the Football League new boys for the 1951-52 season but had to overcome non-league opposition in the first two rounds of the FA Cup. Victories over Blackhall Colliery Welfare (away) and Witton Albion (in a replay) secured a place in the 3rd Round.
Imagine the excitement in the town when we were paired with Liverpool at Anfield. The Liverpool Reds were a mid-table First Division side at the time whilst the Workington boys were struggling to make an impact in their inaugural season in Third Division North.
And in front of the biggest crowd a Workington team had ever played before – 52,581 – the underdogs put up an excellent, performance before falling to a Jimmy Payne goal twelve minutes from time.
Scouse hearts missed a beat when they thought the Cumbrians had equalised with the last kick of the game but the referee’s whistle had sounded a split second before and it finished 1-0 to a very relieved Liverpool.
Liverpool were a ‘British’ side in those days with Scottish international Billy Liddell and Bob Paisley two of their better known players.
We were involved in another FA competition more recently, 2008 in fact. The FA Trophyhanded us a trip to far-flung Essex and a first ever meeting against Braintree Town. About 70 Reds fans made the journey and saw the team earn a replay following a 1-1 draw.
The hosts opened the scoring inside five minutes through Chris Sullivan but Reds recovered and gave a good account of themselves, equalising before half time with a Matthew Berkeley goal.
Reds did record a minor cup shock in 1993 with Fleetwood Town, from the division above, knocked out of the NPL Challenge Cup at Borough Park. Billy Gilmour scrambled home the winner in the first half to spark a good run in the competition from Alan Cook’s evolving team.
Our only league success to reflect upon was the 1991 win over Winsford United in the HFS Loans League First Division. Les O’Neill’s team was made up of Cumbrians with eight Carlisle based players in the squad, four from Workington and one from Maryport.
It was one of the Carlisle contingent, Peter Harbach, who grabbed the well worked second half decider.
Last time out on this day was two years ago at Gainsborough Trinity where Jason Walker scored our consolation goal in a comprehensive 4-1 defeat.