A look through the archives to see what was happening to Reds on the 26th March in previous years and without a home win in sight it has been more doom and gloom than excited anticipation…….
1955 Bradford Park Avenue (home) 1-3 Even when we finished above Avenue in the table, as we did in the ’54-55 campaign, they still managed to get the better of us and this Saturday afternoon success at Borough Park helped them complete a double at our expense.
As they had in Yorkshire, Bradford emerged 3-1 winners with Len Pickard, not even their first choice centre forward, helping himself to a hat-trick. Our consolation goal came from Ernie Whittle who would become an Avenue player later in his career.
Bradford played in one of many iconic strips they have used over the years: white shirts with red, amber and black hoops, black shorts.
1960 Chester (home) 5-0 For the third time during the ’59-60 season, Reds hit five goals in a league match, our only home victory recorded on home soil on the day in focus.
Top scorer Bob Morrison added to his tally and was joined on the score sheet by four other individuals Des Jones, Ron McGarry, Peter Harburn and Frank Kirkup with the scorers wearing the shirts numbered 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.
1965 Exeter City (home) 0-1 Workington had obtained a hard-earned point in Devon on the Monday with the return at Borough Park staged on Friday evening. And it was the visitors who bagged the points scoring a first half winner.
But the defeat had repercussions and culminated in Keith Burkinshaw stepping down from his role as ‘caretaker player-manager’. It came about when chairman, E D Smith, went public to declare ‘he would be selecting the team for the next match’ which left Keith in an untenable position.
To his credit, and professionalism, ‘Burky’ remained in the side as a player, and was an ever-present before leaving the club in the summer.
1966 Brentford (home) 1-1 Workington were on course for a best ever finish (5th) in the Third Division but Brentford were having problems at the other end of the table, eventually suffering relegation (23rd). Billy Griffin had scored our goal that day in what was a fourth meeting against the Bees that season – the other two encounters being in the League Cup.
1977 Exeter City (home) 1-3 Reds were into their last two months as a Football League club and victory would elude us for the final thirteen matches. We were distinctly second best to the Grecians with Eamon Kavanagh’s second half goal merely a consolation.
In charge of the match that day was George Courtney who became one of FIFA’s top officials during the eighties.
1983 Oswestry Town (away) 2-1 There was a familiar face in the Oswestry side with Stuart Mason, a player with us in the late seventies, an opponent on this occasion.
We were grateful for a second half penalty, converted by John Smith, which secured the points after Graham Gill netted our opening goal in the first half. The home side also scored in the first period with another Smith finding the target.
John Smith Graham Gill
1994 Alfreton Town (away) 2-1 Trailing to a Matt Walsh wonder strike from the 2nd minute, Reds completed a dramatic victory after scoring twice just minutes before the end.
Jason Prins headed home an 88th minute equaliser, via a corner, then Martin Henderson grabbed a 90th minute decider when he headed in a teasing cross, leaving the home team, and their supporters, somewhat shell-shocked.
Jason Prins Martin Henderson
Martin’s winner saw him become the first Reds player for nine seasons to register 20 goals whilst Alfreton’s scorer, Matty Walsh, subsequently became a referee and is the only official I know who can boast about scoring against us in a previous life.
1996 Curzon Ashton (away) 0-3 There was plenty of effort and commitment from the lads but, by the finish, it was a comprehensive defeat at Curzon’s old National Park ground on this Tuesday evening visit.
To compound a frustrating evening, manager Wayne Harrison was sent off after prolonged protests over Curzon’s second goal.
2011 Corby Town (home) 1-2 Goalless for eighty minutes, this Blue Square Bet North fixture produced late drama but, ultimately, another home defeat.
Greg Smith opened the scoring for the Northamptonshire outfit in the 82nd minute, Andy Murray-Jones levelled matters six minutes later only for Reds to drop their guard and allow Stephen Diggin to smash home a last-gasp decider.
2013 Bishop’s Stortford (home) 2-3 This was a doubly disappointing night with Reds conceding a stoppage time winner then announcing the lowest attendance (181) for a National North fixture at Borough Park.
Bishop’s twice went in front but Gareth Arnison equalised each time. A draw seemed to be the most likely outcome at that point but Brian Woodall scored the decisive goal in time added on and, to rub salt into gaping wounds, the visitors were down to ten men following a red card ten minutes earlier.
- Reds also failed to win any of their six North Eastern League fixtures played on this day, losing three and sharing the points in the other three!