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.
Peterborough United v Wrexham
League Division Four
Peterborough United: Walls, Stafford, Walker, Ravner, Rigby, Norris, Hails, Emery, Bly, Smith, McNamee
Goalscorers: Emery (25), McNamee (75), Bly (80)
Wrexham: Johnson, Holland, McGowan, Davis, Fox, Styles, Jones, Griffiths, Evans, Harbertson, Hunter
After being relegated from Division Three the previous season, Wrexham began life in the basement with a difficult fixture against Football League newcomers, Peterborough United at London Road. The Posh were famous FA Cup giantkillers and had slain a number of League clubs over the years, so a tough task was in store as Colwyn Bay-born Billy Morris took charge of the Reds for the first time.
Wrexham’s sixth post-war manager was quoted by Ron Chaloner in the Leader as saying: “I’ll stand or fall by my methods. If things don’t go right, there will be no need to ask me to go, I shall be on my way.”
He asked supporters to have patience and not to expect miracles.
“I can’t make greyhounds out of fox terriers but I can make some improvements,” said the former Burnley player who did not plunge into the transfer market, but decided to weigh up the assets he had at his disposal before spending money. Wrexham started the season with only one new player – former Halifax Town goalkeeper Arthur Johnson who was actually signed before Morris took over at the Racecourse.
Fortune was not on our side that afternoon. We fell behind only 25 minutes following a Denis Emery strike. The lanky striker seemed to miss-hit his effort from 20 yards but Johnson appeared to be a fraction late making his dive and the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
The Robins stuck to their fine approach play and were clearly not beaten. An equaliser seemed inevitable, especially when Gren Jones found the ball at his feet – 3 yards from goal. Somehow, the ball struck goalkeeper Jack Wallis’ boot and cannoned clear.
For the majority of the second period, the Town were in control. After 55 minutes Johnson launched a clearance that went almost to the edge of the United penalty area and the bouncing ball panicked the opposition defence, beating centre-half Norman Rigby. Visiting forward Ron Harbetson gave chase desperately, but Wallis came out to collect and calm the situation.
The Posh found their way back into the game after Emery smacked a shot against the post to rejuvenate the home supporters. 75 minutes had been played when outside-left Peter McNamee took a glorious pass from Ray Smith who skipped past Reg Holland for the first time that afternoon. McNamee surprised everyone by dancing into the penalty area and aiming a right foot shot past the helpless Johnson.
Wrexham were now under the cosh and conceded a third in the 81st minute when Terry Ely scored an opportunistic goal with a header from Emery’s cross.
Peterborough manager, Jimmy Hagan said: “If Wrexham are a sample of the sort of team we are going to meet in the Fourth Division, we are going to have a very hard time indeed. Wrexham are a very good side, particularly some of their forwards and they were very unlucky not to score. We won because we took our chances while they did not take theirs.”
Billy Morris said: “What disappointed me more than anything was that our forwards did not play as a closely knit unit and seemed to forget all the moves we had planned and practiced. There was too much shooting from 30 or 40 yards which was just a waste of time.
“I am almost certain now that this is not the best team Wrexham can field and I may make a couple of changes for our next match.”