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 Oldham Athletic
League Division Three (Northern Section)
Wrexham: Godding, Speed, McGowan, Griffiths, Green, Tapscott, Williams, Hewitt, Bannan, Rowley, Richards.
Goalscorers: Bannan, Hewitt
Oldham Athletic: D’Arcy, Jackson, Hardwick, Hobson, Whyte, Fawley, Walker, Chaytor, Travis, Scrine, McShane.
Season 1954/55 started with an embarrassing 6–2 defeat at the hands of York City at the Racecourse. It was a result that equalled our heaviest-ever home defeat. Things didn’t improve during the course of a wretched season that ended with the team languishing in 18th place.
On the back of a 3-3 draw at York City’s Bootham Crescent in the return fixture – unquestionably our strongest performance of the season – Wrexham entered a festive double-header against Oldham Athletic. This began with a trip to Boundary Park on Christmas Day and the match was played on a mud heap of a pitch that meant free-flowing football was at a premium. Nevertheless, Wrexham adapted to the conditions with a forceful style of play that denied Oldham the avalanche of goals that fans of the Lancashire team might have expected against an outfit marooned at the foot of the table.
Indeed, over an hour had gone before Tommy Walker and Don Travis netted for the home side with two quick goals. Tommy Bannan pulled one back for Wrexham with ten minutes remaining, but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Two days later the teams met again at the Racecourse. Wrexham had to replace wingers Glyn Hughes and Eric Betts, both injured on Christmas Day, with young Peter Williams making his first team debut in place of Hughes and Gordon Richards replacing Betts.
In a sensational start to the afternoon there were two goals within the first 90 seconds. Frank Scrine capitalised on a Kenny Chaytor pass to put Oldham in front before Arthur Rowley cracked a thunderbolt against the bar and Bannan netted the rebound.
Mick D’Arcy in the Oldham goal made a wonder save from a powerful header from Ron Hewitt, but the Wrexham livewire was not to be denied and he put the Robins in front after a mad scramble. Hewitt’s first effort was blocked, as were similar ones from Bannan and Williams before Hewitt made sure.
Oldham fought back and almost equalised through Travis – his shot seemed destined to roll into an empty net before Aly McGowan saved the day by hacking clear. There were also many chances in the second half but none closer than when a Rowley drive rebounded off D’Arcy’s legs.
The final whistle signalled Wrexham’s first home victory since beating Bradford City on October 16. Incidentally, it was also the first League defeat for Athletic since October 9.
In February 1955 manager Peter Jackson left the club to take charge at Bradford City. Jackson also took with him his twin sons, Peter junior and David, who were the first twins to have played in the same Wrexham team.
After the Jackson clan had departed for Yorkshire the board turned to Cliff Lloyd to take temporary charge.
The Robins were still struggling in the League and were in 21st position when Lloyd took over. He managed to inspire another five victories before the end of the season – including two 5–0 victories over Crewe Alexandra and Grimsby Town – that helped us to escape relegation by the skin of our teeth. As a result Lloyd was given the manager’s job on a permanent basis.