Throughout the 2015/16 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.
Wrexham v Chester
League Division Three (Northern Section)
Wrexham: Poland, Tunney, Bellamy, Raven, Smith, Odell, Goss, Nelson, Burditt, Adamson, Burgon
Goalscorers: Burditt, Nelson, Burgon
Chester: Mansley, Beynon, Walters, McCreary, Robertson, Howarth, Horsman, McGough, Keeley, Pendergast, Rogers
Goalscorers: Pendergast, Keeley
After our disappointing result at the Deva Stadium recently, this seems a good time to delve back into our rich history and remember a more successful encounter against our local rivals.
The 1938/39 season was to be the last before the Football League was suspended until 1946 due to World War 2.
Wrexham, who finished that last post-war season in 14th place, began it with Arthur Cowell as manager, but due to a dispute between him and the directors, he resigned in September after being in charge for only seven League matches. Tommy Griffiths was given the caretaker manager’s job until former Port Vale manager Tom Morgan was appointed as Cowell’s successor at the beginning of April.
Three managers in one season tells the story of a underwhelming season that saw us struggle throughout with only a few highlights, one of which is outlined below.
15,700 fans produced healthy gate receipts of £830 and the crowd certainly got their money’s worth. The game burst into life with an early goal from Wrexham centre-forward George Burditt. The striker had no hope of connecting with a high ball, but as the ball returned to orbit he took it on the half-turn and hooked it into the far corner of the goal.
On 24 minutes, Chester were back in the game when former Wrexham player Bill Pendergast converted a cross from Bill Horsman with a bullet header. The Robins had lost their spark and could have further behind had Joe Rogers been more clinical. On three occasions he found himself in good scoring positions, but could only fire over the Wrexham crossbar.
The second half opened us dramatically as the first as Arthur Keeley gave Chester the lead when he headed in a corner by Rogers on 49 minutes. Chester were full of confidence and totally in control. According to a cartoon depiction of the game produced in The Leader this goal gave several Welsh men the appearance of having had a tasty meal of raw leeks. Oh the humour!
The home fans were left with this nasty taste in their mouths until the 79th minute when the game was turned on its head by two quick-fire Wrexham efforts from Albert Nelson and Archie Burgon.
According to The Leader, it was a typical “derby” game, featured by its keenness, and furthermore by the splendid spirit in which it was played. There was not a serious foul throughout the game and the referee found no course to meet at any drastic punishment. This doesn’t sound like any derby game that I’ve ever attended, but at least we won….
Unfortunately, Chester got their revenge at Sealand Road in February 1939 when they beat us 4-2 in the last competitive game between the clubs until 1946.