Derby day, Welsh opposition, Spartans put to the sword, Reds peaking in the Peak district plus the usual sequence of disappointing defeats have been the major talking points on the 2nd March in previous years…….
1957 Carlisle United (home) 2-0 Our two derby matches against Carlisle United were again played outside the Christmas period and the fixtures still attracted bumper attendances. Indeed, the March meeting in the west of the County attracted 18,600 for a clash between two in-form sides.
United had won seven of their previous eight matches whilst Reds had won five in the same period. But it was Reds who claimed the local bragging rights with Jimmy Dailey and Billy Robson scoring the goals which secured one of our sixteen home wins that season.
We would go on to finish 4th (our best league season thus far), just five points behind champions, Derby County, whilst United were a lowly 15th and Barrow in between us in 10th.
1959 Port Vale (away) 0-2 It had been an exhausting weekend for the thirteen man Reds squad with the Monday night fixture at Vale Park slotted in on the way back from Gillingham.
Vale were on course for the Fourth Division title and, whilst Reds acquitted themselves well, the near 11,000 crowd cheered the home team to victory with a bit to spare.
1963 Oldham Athletic (away) 2-2 Boundary Park also attracted good crowds in the fifties and sixties and 12,463 spectators paid to watch this entertaining encounter. The ‘Latics’ were enjoying a good season and would eventually finish as runners-up in the Fourth Division so an away point, thanks to goals from Geoff Martin and Barry Lowes, was a satisfactory outcome from a Reds perspective.
1968 Swansea Town (home) 3-1 Reds fans were able to watch one of Wales’ all-time greats, Ivor Allchurch, when the Swans came to Borough Park and, although he was then 38, the ‘golden boy’ of Welsh football netted a consolation goal in a comprehensive defeat. He played 782 club games (for Swansea, Newcastle United and Cardiff City) and was subsequently immortalised by a statue at the Liberty Stadium.
But the day belonged to Billy Griffin and, on a day when we handed a debut to our new centre forward, Tommy Spencer, Billy scored his one and only hat-trick for the Reds. He scored his goals in the second half with Mr Allchurch netting Town’s consolation four minutes from time.
1985 Buxton (away) 1-0 Skipper John Reach was an ever-present in his seventh and final season with the club and grabbed the only goal of the game at the Silverlands. It completed a comprehensive league double over the Derbyshire outfit.
1991 Caernarfon Town (away) 1-2 Reds were left to rue three squandered chances early in the game especially when the hosts converted two of their opportunities to gain control.
Kevin Messenger’s well taken goal late in the game was no more than a consolation.
1996 Farsley Celtic (away) 0-3 Mention was made of the excellent crowds Reds performed in front of during the fifties and sixties but it has been so, so different during the non-league era. In fact, our NPL First Division fixture at Celtic’s Throstle Nest ground attracted just 83 paying spectators including a handful of a Workington persuasion!
We were in contention for an hour but then collapsed allowing Farsley to score three times and finish emphatic winners.
2010 Blyth Spartans (home) 3-1 Kick-off was delayed by fifteen minutes because of an accident on the A66 but it was the referee and some Workington players who were late – the Spartans squad were already at the ground having travelled in a different direction.
When the Blue Square North contest got underway, it was Reds who dominated to win comfortably. Jonny Wright scored either side of the interval before the evergreen, Paul Brayson, reduced the arrears. Gareth Arnison restored the two goal advantage but also missed a penalty – his first failure from the spot.
The three points kept our play-off hopes alive.
2013 Gloucester City (home) 0-1 This was no classic and appeared to be heading for a 0-0 stalemate. But Reds shot themselves in the foot, conceded a late penalty and gifted Gloucester their first ever Conference North win in west Cumbria!
Retro football magazine, Backpass, were represented at the game with writer Paul McVay (a former Notts County player) meeting Workington’s stars of the sixties, Bobby Brown and Peter Foley, to prepare an article for a future edition.
2019 Hyde United (home) 1-2 Josh Calvert’s diving header gave Reds an early lead with a milestone goal – it was our 1800th in the Northern Premier League. But the good work was undone when five minutes of madness before half time gifted Hyde two goals and that was the way it stayed.