Memory Match – 09-12-67

Memory Match – 09-12-67

Over the past few months, I have watched with interest as Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have taken control of the club from the hapless Wrexham Supporters Trust. I am hopeful that things will improve under the new ownership and I am excited that I may soon be welcomed back to the Racecourse to enjoy a game of football alongside my fellow fans. Indeed, the new era that is slowly unfolding at the Cae Ras has given me the impetus needed to continue writing my Memory Match articles that I hope to put together to create my third book.

It would be great if I could synchronise the release of my book with the reincarnation of the club I love. There is much hard work ahead of myself and the new owners, but there is a new sense of hope and expectation in the air, so maybe now it is time to believe in a brighter tomorrow…



Bradford City v Wrexham

FA Cup Round 1

Valley Parade

Result: 7-1

Bradford City: Liney, Smith, Cooper, Stowell, Hallett, Swallow, Hall, Bannister, Aimson, McAnearney, Rackstraw

Goalscorer: Bannister (2), Hall, Aimson (2), Swallow, Rackstraw

Wrexham: Reeves, Ingle, Bradbury, Turner, Stacey, Beanland, Griffiths, Evans, Smith, Weston, Carrick

Goalscorer: Weston

Attendance: 8,208

Taking charge of his first FA Cup match as manager of the Robins, Alvan Williams remained positive after a day to forget in West Yorkshire. According to Ron Challoner in the Leader, Williams did not read the riot act, but instead attempted to draw a line under the result and focus on the remainder of the League season:

“You played very badly today, but don’t brood about it. Remember that it’s the end of the season that counts. What happened today was just one of those things, and the conditions were farcical”

Indeed, they were. The pitch was frozen solid and covered by two inches of snow. In addition, harsh, wintery showers loomed over Valley Parade, which caused difficulty and danger for the professionals on the pitch. Spare a thought for the 500 supporters who had made the treacherous journey from North Wales, only to see their team humiliated as the Bantams adapted to the slippery conditions in a superior manner to their visitors.

As a fellow Division Four side, this was our second trip to ‘’God’s own country’’ within a month – on November 18th we met in a league encounter, but lost 3-1 to Willie Watson’s men. Arfon Griffiths was on the score sheet after 50 minutes to pull the score level following Bruce Bannister’s 14th minute opener. This was an exciting contest between clubs positioned third and sixth in the league table, which City eventually won thanks to Bannister completing his hattrick with goals after 62 and 76 minutes. This was not a good omen.

Gordon Livsey had made a couple of errors in the League encounter which had cost us dearly. Subsequently, Alvan Williams had decided to drop him from the Cup encounter and hand a senior debut to Dennis Reeves who was actually in magnificent form during the early stages of this contest. Reeves made some breath-taking saves, but according to Challoner playing in front of such a flimsy defence and non-existent attack, no goalkeeper in the world could have prevented such a heavy defeat.

Bradford were strongest on the wings, which is also where Wrexham were at their weakest. It is a pity, because Challoner states that he would not rate City goalkeeper, Pat Liney, in the top 20 custodians in Division Four. If we had put their man between the sticks under more pressure then we might have avoided such embarrassment.

Challoner read the game as follows:

‘’Wrexham’s tactics were all wrong. They made suicidal short passes, in their own half which too often put the recipient at a disadvantage, they hit far too many long balls to nowhere in particular, and they failed miserably on the wings’’.

There were no signs of the calamity that followed when Wrexham actually took the lead after 8 minutes through a Don Weston effort. Tony Beanland sent in a hopeful free-kick from afar that slipped through the butterfingers of Liney. Weston was on hand to head home the loose ball.

However, City turned the game on its head between the 18th and 28th minute with three headed goals from Bannister, Charlie Rackstraw and Paul Aimson. The Red Army were shocked in to stunned silence, but things could have got better if Weston’s second goal had not been disallowed. The referee – IA Pallister of Peterlee – judged that Liney had been pushed, much to the annoyance of the Wrexham players who were adamant that the City goalkeeper had been pushed by one of his own players.

Things quickly deteriorated in the second half with Aimson adding his second. This was the only goal that Reeves could have been faulted for as he failed to hold a low cross from Rackstraw.

Barry Swallow netted the fifth goal and John Hall looked yards offside when he made it six. To add to the frustration of the Town players, the referee refused to consult his linesman and left fans feeling particularly aggrieved.

Salt was rubbed in to the wounds when Aimson headed Hall’s corner kick against the bar and Bannister nodded in the rebound with four minutes remaining.


We never seemed to have much luck against Bradford City in the FA Cup. On January 25th 1930, Wrexham entertained the Citizens – then a Second Division side – who were fortunate to escape with a no score draw. This led to a replay at Valley Parade just two days later. Jack Baynes’ men were playing some fantastic football and had their opponents on the ropes. With the score tied at 1-1, Town forward Roland Woodhouse hit a spectacular shot, which beat their goalkeeper, Wattie Shirlaw, hands down but hit the stanchion and rebounded back into play. The referee waved play on and City ended up edging the contest 2-1.

Talk about frustration…


This was definitely a season to forget in terms of the major cup competitions as we also lost at the first stage of the League Cup. A short trip to the Wirral to take on Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park ended in a 2-1 defeat to Alvan Williams’ men.

Indeed, the only cup match we won that season came at the Racecourse against Bethesda Athletic. Arfon Griffiths scored the only goal of the game to set up a sixth-round encounter with Cardiff City. Griffiths scored again, but his strike was not enough to prevent us losing the match 1-3.


After a slow start to the 1967/68 league campaign, Wrexham had reached a high point of sixth and had faint hopes of promotion for a time at the end of November. We proved too inconsistent to maintain a promotion push, but finished the season unbeaten in our last 13 games to give players and supporters belief that 1968/69 could be our year…

* Incidentally, we also lost our home league match against Bradford City. They beat us 0-2 at the Racecourse and eventually finished fifth in Division Four after being top of the table in February.

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