ON THIS DAY: 19 March – Bill Shankly’s return to Blundell Park & Reds last victory in the Football League

A look through the archives to see if Reds were winning or losing on the 19th March in previous years with the search revealing one notable success back in 1977…….

1955   Grimsby Town (away) 1-0   Bill Shankly’s return to Blundell Park as Reds’ boss coincided with Town welcoming their new manager – the former Manchester United player, Allenby Chilton, to the Cleethorpes based club.

The added interest of past and present managers drew a bigger than average crowd to the game with the gate announced as 9,260.

Reds emerged winners on the day which didn’t help the Mariners bid to climb out of the re-election zone.

We were indebted to a couple of our many Scots in the team with Malcolm Newlands and Jackie Bertolini doing their bit at either end of the pitch.  In keeping an important clean sheet, Newlands fractured two bones in his hand and didn’t play again that season with Bertolini’s winning goal one of eleven he netted in his third campaign at the club.

George Ainsley

1966   Grimsby Town (away) 0-1   By coincidence, the two sides also met on this day eleven years later with Town then managed by Jimmy McGuigan and Reds under the watchful eye of George Ainsley.  McGuigan had managed several clubs in the lower divisions whilst Ainsley, who guided Reds to our highest ever placing (5th in the Third Division), coached and managed in several different countries.

Town emerged winners in this Third division encounter.

Eddie Holliday

1969   Doncaster Rovers (home) 1-1   Rovers were enjoying a good season and, eventually, lifted the Fourth Division title with Reds camped in mid-table.

We had drawn many of our home games and this closely fought encounter also ended all square.  Eddie Holliday, our former England international, had opened the scoring fifteen minutes from time but Rovers restored parity soon after through Rod Johnson.

Considering we finished with ten men, following John Ogilvie’s sending off, it was a satisfactory outcome.

1977   Rochdale (away) 3-0   For the handful of Workington supporters present, this was a superb afternoon as Reds registered what proved to be their final victory in the Football League.

Rochdale had won comfortably at Borough Park earlier in the season and, although not enjoying the best of seasons themselves, were expected to complete a double against a team who hadn’t won away, mustering just three points on the road from drawn matches.    

But Reds defied the odds and emerged deserved victors, establishing a first half lead thanks to goals from Ted Coleman and Eddie Prudham, on loan to us from Middlesbrough and Carlisle United respectively.

Chris Kisby added another goal in the second half to seal that historic 385th and last victory in the Football League.

As mentioned, there were very few Reds fans in the crowd that day but there was support from an unusual source.  A coach load of Cardiff City supporters had turned up at the ground after their game at nearby Bolton had been postponed late in the day.  As the away side, they ‘adopted’ Workington for the day so there was some form of celebration on the terraces each time we scored!

1983   Grantham (away) 1-2   One of Grantham’s goals in this narrow defeat was netted by a player called Grainger although there were definitely no links between scorer and the present manager’s family.

John Smith was the Reds player who scored at Grantham’s old London Road ground.

Carl Burdon

1988   Caernarfon Town (home) 1-4   We fell to a heavy home defeat to the Welsh side just a week after losing 3-0 at their Oval ground.  Carl Burdon’s second half goal was nothing more than a consolation as Reds were disappointingly poor.

Martin Henderson

1994   Worksop Town (home) 2-6   Worksop had only scored five goals in seventeen previous visits to Borough Park but were given license to run riot on this occasion by an inept performance from the hosts.

Martin Henderson had actually opened the scoring after six minutes but that was as good as it got as we suffered a mauling from the Tigers.  Ken Clark completed a hat-trick for Town with a last minute penalty just after Paul Campbell had scored a second for beleaguered Reds.

Gary Cohen

2005   Radcliffe Borough (away) 2-0   Two well taken goals secured a first win at Stainton Park for twelve years and maintained our four point lead at the top of the Unibond League Premier Division.

Gary Cohen headed in the first and Matt Henney drove home the second, although a comfortable win could have been more emphatic had two second half attempts found the net instead of rebounding into play off the woodwork.  

Jonny Wright

2011   Redditch United (away) 1-1   This was a dreadful game on a poor pitch but will be remembered by Jonny Wright whose 50th goal for the club salvaged a point for Reds.

We had trailed to a first half goal yet created more chances than United but it was late in the day when we eventually equalised.

2013   Vauxhall Motors (away) 3-1   Jonny Wright was also on target in this Tuesday night contest at Ellesmere Port, volleying Reds into an early lead.  Motors moved up a gear to level matters before half time so it was all to play for after the break.

A close range finish from Simon Baldry – his first and only goal for the club – restored our slender advantage then a deft lob from Jacob Hazel, on loan to us from Chesterfield, secured the win, and three welcome points, just before the final whistle.     

Joe McGee

2016   Stourbridge (home) 1-1   This was a tough ninety minutes graft for two teams with play-off aspirations and, ultimately, proved a valuable point from a Workington perspective.

Sean Geddes’ free kick seemed to deceive Reds’ ‘keeper, Jonny Jamieson, and the ball finished in the net to put the visitors ahead at half time.  Thankfully, Reds fought back and Joe McGee headed home an equaliser in the second half.

Reds scraped into the play-offs finishing 5th but Stourbridge just missed out after their 6th place finish!

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