Birmingham

Memory Match – 05-11-27

Throughout the 2017/18 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.

This is the third successive season that I have been writing the Memory Match column. Indeed, when I have written a Memory Match for every Football League season that Wrexham AFC enjoyed,  I would like to compile all the columns into a book that will reflect the rich history of my beloved football club.

05-11-27

Wrexham v Ashington

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 5-1

Wrexham: Robson, Jones, Crompton, Regan, Bellis, Graham, Longmuir, Rogers, Smith, Woodhouse, Gunson

Goalscorers: Rogers (2), Smith (3)

Ashington: Ridley, Robson, Best, Carlton, Price, Grieves, Hopper, Noble , Graham, Watson, Randall

Goalscorer: Randall

Attendance: 3,531

Wrexham had started the season strongly. After beating Stockport County at the Racecourse in September they topped the table for a week at least. In the run up to this game, they had fallen to fifth position, but were very much still looking upwards at a promotion tilt.

Ashington may be a new name to many of you. They are based in Northumberland and can claim to be the most northerly team to have played in the Football League. At the time of our encounter with them in the Third Division (North) they were struggling at the foot of the table and only managed to survive for another season at this level. In 1928/29 they lost their bid for re-election after finishing rock bottom. They were replaced by York City.

Remarkably, Ashington had yet to win a league game in 1927/28, so Wrexham were firm favourites. Before arriving at the Racecourse they had played 13 matches of which eight had been lost and five drawn. They had only managed to find the net on 14 occasions while conceding 41 goals. Indeed, the visitors were no match for the Welshmen and we could have won by a cricket score if the game had been played in less inclement conditions. A harsh wind and torrential rain led to Wrexham players taking their foot off the gas. We had recorded a four goal margin of victory, but it could have been so many more…

Writing the match report, Wrexham Leader journalist XYZ states that the “game was so one-sided that only a few brief details of the play are necessary”. Our first goal was scored after six minutes when a high centre from Gordon Gunson was converted by Billie Rogers. The Ashington defence were pulled apart by Roland Woodhouse and Gunson with visiting goalkeeper Ralph Ridley pulling off a number of fine saves before the Blues doubled their lead on 23 minutes. Archie Longmuir baffled the opposition with his wing work and when he centred, Cecil Smith took the ball in his stride to net his second goal of the season.

Just before half-time, Smith added a third that was vehemently disputed by the visitors who felt that both Woodhouse and Smith were offside. They managed to persuade the referee to consult his linesman, but this conversation only lasted a couple of seconds and the goal was awarded.

In the second half, Smith completed his hat-trick and this was followed by a degree of slackness edging in to our game. This led to Jimmy Randall taking advantage and getting on the scoresheet. Wrexham replied with a second goal for Rogers. The fact that they didn’t score more was clearly a source of frustration for XYZ who states that the Wrexham forwards could have scored a dozen goals and underlines the fact that “championships have been decided on goal average”. I hope a few Wrexham players of today are reading this…

Ashington benefitted from their football lesson at the Cae Ras as they ended their winless streak in their very next game – a 3-0 triumph against Tranmere Rovers at Portland Park.

Our quest for promotion fizzled out after Christmas and we finished the season in 11th position.

***

Blue-shirted Wrexham might have disappointed in the league but during 1927/28, they recorded their best run in the FA Cup up to that point. A crowd of 12,000 turned up at the Racecourse to see the third round encounter with Second Division Swansea Town. A fine 2-1 win ensured that the town was now gripped with Cup fever and this was heightened when we drew First Division Birmingham at home. A 12,228 crowd saw Wrexham go down fighting 1-3.

I-Spy challenge

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Throughout 2015, I completed The Big Hoot trail in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The Big Hoot was a mass participation public art event comprising of 89 individually designed large fibreglass owl sculptures forming a trail across Birmingham for 10 weeks from 20 July until the end of September.

After discovering all of the owls and raising £256 of my £500 target, I was suitably proud that the money raised would help sick children in some small way. However, those of you who know me will not be surprised that I feel a burning desire to finish what I have started and raise the remaining £244 needed to reach my initial target.

How should I do this?

A friend of mine said that the Big Hoot project was a “brilliantly daft” idea and I think he would probably say the same about my latest challenge. I have decided to raise money by asking people to sponsor me as I try to work my way through a series of I-Spy books, published by Michelin.

Each book contains up to 200 colour photographs, which you have to I-Spy.  The aim is to tick them off as you go and collect points. When you score 1,000 points or more in an I-Spy book, you can join the I-Spy club and apply online for a certificate of achievement.

Some people never grow up and I’d definitely count myself in this crowd. Life’s too short to fit into the dull crowd. Not only will this sponsored escapade get me out of the house and encourage me to take photos of my local environment, but it should also raise awareness and funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Everyone’s a winner…

I have purchased five I-Spy books, but I will begin by tackling In the Street. The book description reads as follows:

Scan 11 Jan 2016, 10.20 (3) 

There is always something interesting in every street: people working, bus stops, lamps, shops, street notices, road signs, vehicles and much more. From country roads to city streets, why not see how many things you can spot! Arranged in colour coded-sections, this I-Spy book includes a colour photograph with a short and factual description for each entry. You can score points by spotting the different entries in the book. Score 1000 points and you can apply for your I-Spy Certificate! There are a lot of opportunities to spot and score in this and all the other I-Spy Books!”

 You can chart my progress via my blog (https://nathanleedavies.wordpress.com/) and Twitter (@nathanleedavies). I look forward to undertaking this new childlike challenge and raising money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital in my own unique manner.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Fleet and Free by Joshua Billingham

On September the 23rd, I was darting around north Birmingham searching for the fibreglass owls that make up The Big Hoot trail. One I found was number 70: Fleet and Free by Joshua Billingham. THIS WAS THE FINAL OWL OF MY BIG HOOT TRAIL. MISSION COMPLETE.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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Joshua Billingham (a.k.a ‘Gent 48′) is an illustrator, graffiti writer and street artist from Birmingham. He studied visual communication at BIAD Birmingham University, receiving a first class degree.

As well as working as a freelance illustrator, he exhibits artwork and paints murals for all types of businesses and private homes.  His work consists mainly of imaginative characters and strange worlds.

He has worked and exhibited in many countries across the world, including Australia, Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Finland and London. This summer, he is due to paint at a number of festivals across Europe and hopefully Tahiti – showcasing his spray painting skills.  He is the founder of the Birmingham ‘Graffiti Crew 48’ and also represents ID Crew London and SDM Crew Melbourne.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

The Handsworth Park Owl and the Pussycat by Scylla Magda

On September the 23rd, I was darting around north Birmingham searching for the fibreglass owls that make up The Big Hoot trail. One I found was number 71: The Handsworth Park Owl and the Pussycat by Scylla Magda.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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Scylla Magda works in various mediums to create abstract narrative journeys, real-time audio visual performances, moving image compositions, and installations. She often works in collaboration with music composers and sound artists and is a member of Birmingham-based audio visual collective Modulate.

www.vimeo.com/scyllamagda

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

 

Octavia by Faith Pearson

On September the 23rd, I was darting around north Birmingham searching for the fibreglass owls that make up The Big Hoot trail. One I found was number 72: Octavia by Faith Pearson.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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Faith Pearson lives in Birmingham; she uses discarded materials to create paintings and constructions inspired by community engagement projects – delivered with people on the edges of society.

Through her work she explores the basic instinct of young humans to create, play and imagine, balancing the chaos and destruction caused by this society.

Website: www.faithpearson.co.uk

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Papa Winson by Colin Gabbidon

On September the 23rd, I was darting around north Birmingham searching for the fibreglass owls that make up The Big Hoot trail. One I found was number 80: Papa Winson by Colin Gabbidon.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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Colin Gabbidon was born in Kingston, Jamaica and has been living in the UK since primary school age. 
A former drummer of internationally renowned reggae band Steel Pulse; Colin’s artistic talents began to be recognised in the 1980s. Working in a variety of mediums, he is based in Birmingham and also has a studio in Germany where he frequently exhibits work.

Ladywood Arts Forum is a collective of arts organisations, arts groups and artists, who act as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of sustainable arts in the Ladywood district of Birmingham, UK.

http://ladywoodartsforum.co.uk/

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Oliver by Sophie Handy and Claire Witcomb

On September the 23rd, I was darting around north Birmingham searching for the fibreglass owls that make up The Big Hoot trail. One I found was number 76: Oliver by Sophie Handy and Claire Witcomb.

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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Sophie and Claire are collaborating for the second time; both artists have a sculptural background, a passion for making things, a history with mosaic and they love a creative challenge. With over thirty years of experience between them, they create with community groups as well as making their own work.

Previous commissions include Imagineer Productions, Graeae Theatre, Sustrans, Moseley Festivals, Ace Dance and Music- Leeds Carnival, Birmingham City Council, Art Works Hall Green.

Website: www.nechellspod.com/

Visit my Virgin Money Giving page and please give generously in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital