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.
Wrexham v Crewe Alexandra
League Division Three (Northern Section)
Wrexham: Finnigan, Jones, Crompton, Rogers, Burkinshaw, Donoghue, Williams, Mustard, Bamford, Taylor, Lewis
Goalscorers: Lewis (4), Bamford (2), Mustard
Crewe Alexandra: Brown, Thomley, Pringle, Morris (Harold), Morris (Harry), Rouse, Millington, Smelt, French, Owen, Wright
Those of you who know the history of our proud old club will realise that Wrexham haven’t always played in red. Indeed, according to the comprehensive Historical Kits website we played in a blue shirt and white short combination from our debut season in the Football League (1921/22) right through to 1939 when someone saw sense and we changed to red shirts and white shorts.
1930/31 saw a dramatic improvement in form for the “Blues” who finished the season in third position in the Third Division (North). We were only four points behind champions Chesterfield, three behind second-place Lincoln City and above fourth-placed Tranmere Rovers on goal average. Meanwhile, Crewe Alexandra finished in 18th position, so maybe it shouldn’t have come as a shock that we racked up a cricket score against our Cheshire rivals.
In all fairness to Crewe, they made a fair fist of things during a fairly even first half. The opening goal came after 25 minutes of play. Les Williams sent in a cross that Crewe ‘keeper Arthur Brown failed to clear, which in turn provided Tommy Lewis with the opportunity he needed to score the first of the afternoon.
Alex didn’t roll over though. Visiting forward Alf French tested Dick Finnigan with a low drive that the goalkeeper did well to turn for a corner. The flag kick came to nothing and before the break Jimmy Owen tested Finnigan again.
Wrexham were obviously fired up for the second half and attacked from the offset. Tommy Bamford slipped the ball out to Lewis allowing the wide man to cross a perfect ball that Jack Mustard connected with. Unfortunately, his header was inches wide of the goal. Crewe had been warned…
The second goal arrived shortly afterwards. Mustard and Williams took the ball up the wing and delivered possession to Bamford. The master marksman appeared to dally with the ball and finally made the odd decision to push the ball towards the left wing. However, Bamford could see what the fans couldn’t and Lewis raced in to double our lead.
A few minutes later Lewis returned the compliment when his pass to Bamford was met with a clever hook to make it 3-0. A rampant Wrexham pushed further ahead after Bamford beat Tom Thornley in a tackle. The Crewe defender appealed to the referee, but the reason for his grievance was not apparent.
With 10 minutes remaining, Wrexham won a hotly disputed corner that led to Mustard firing home through a crowd of players from 18 yards to make it five for the home team. Brown had no chance and was probably unsighted at the time.
Lewis then sent the crowd home in raptures with a late brace – the first of which came from a speculative cross-shot before Brown dropped a Williams cross at his feet to allow him to score his fourth of the afternoon.
Tommy Lewis finished his first season since joining from Everton with 15 League goals while Tommy Bamford led the goalscoring charts with an impressive haul of 38 goals in 38 League and FA Cup appearances. This was Jack Mustard’s debut campaign, which saw the wide-man contributing 15 goals to the cause in his most prolific season with the club.
Wrexham also lifted the Welsh Cup that season with another 7-0 victory at the Racecourse over local rivals. This time our opponents were Shrewsbury Town.
Two crushing victories over teams from Cheshire and Shropshire must have left their fans reeling. I guess that’s why they called us the Blues…