Throughout the 2016/17 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.
Lincoln City v Wrexham
League Division Three (Northern Section)
Lincoln City: McPhail, Buckley, Reddish, Horne, Gray, Whyte, Campbell, Iverson, Reed, Robinson, Wilkinson
Goalscorer: Horne (pen)
Wrexham: Adams, Jones, Hamilton, Bulling, McMahon, Lawrence, Bryant, Frewin, Bamford, Snow, Waller
Goalscorers: Snow, Bryant (2)
After showing excellent form over the last couple of seasons, hopes were high that Wrexham could make the break through and win promotion to the second tier for the first time in our history.
Season 1934-35 had started well after we remained unbeaten in our opening five games before our trip to Sincil Bank to take on a newly-relegated Lincoln City side. In fact, our previous visit to Lincolnshire in April 1932 ended in a 0-0 draw – a point that secured promotion to the Second Division for the Imps under the tutorship of Harry Parkes.
City had their eye on a quick return to the second level. They were no doubt encouraged after winning their opening four games, only to lose their fifth match at Prenton Park against Tranmere Rovers (2-1). Would they be able to get back on track as they hosted the ‘Blues’ from north Wales?
The match was played in gruelling September sunshine, which resulted in a rock hard playing surface and a bouncing ball that made conditions tricky. It was Lincoln who started brightly with Bob Iverson collecting a ball from the left, only to shoot weakly and allow Ted Adams to clear the danger. With the visitors struggling to adapt to the conditions, Tommy Robinson set-up Jack Wilkinson to shoot from eight yards, but fortunately his effort was blocked by Alf Jones and went wide for a wasted corner.
These opening exchanges were not an indication of how the afternoon would pan out though. Far from it. Wrexham sorted themselves out and actually took the lead after only seven minutes. George Snow chased a ball down the left and pushed it past Jack Buckley. Lincoln goalkeeper Dan McPhail and Snow raced for the loose ball. McPhail proved victorious but proceeded to kick the ball against the on-rushing forward who found himself able to walk the ball into an empty net.
Wrexham were unfortunate not to increase their lead before the break. Harry Waller, William Bryant and George Frewin all went close, but Lincoln almost equalised when Charlie Reed crashed the ball against the underside of the bar.
At the start of the second half, Johnny Campbell threatened to restore parity on a couple of occasions before Tommy Bamford escaped the clutches of Alf Gray to force a spectacular full-length save from McPhail. Our sense of frustration soon increased when Horne converted a controversial Lincoln penalty, awarded after a linesman adjudged Jimmy Hamilton to have handled the ball. This was the first goal that we had conceded on our travels that season.
Our sense of injustice was quelled late in the afternoon when Bryant grabbed a brace. The first followed a mazy run by Frewin that presented Bryant with a simple tap-in while his second was a header from a Waller corner to extend our unbeaten start.
However, the third position that we attained after beating Lincoln was the highest position we managed all season and signalled a downward spiral. We were held to a 2-2 draw at home against league leaders Tranmere Rovers in our next match before losing three on the trot – Chester (6-2), Halifax Town (3-2) and Rotherham United (0-1).
We then lost Tommy Bamford and William Bryant to Manchester United in October. This was a double whammy that would hurt most clubs, so it was almost with a sense of surprise that we then went seven matches without defeat – including four wins.
Our inconsistent season continued with five straight defeats and our patchy form finally saw us finishing the season in a disappointing mid-table position (11th). A season that had promised much, ultimately delivered little.
Meanwhile, Lincoln City finished the season in fourth position.