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20 goals for a shilling

posted 25 Feb 2019, 04:05 by Roy McDonald   [ updated 25 Feb 2019, 04:05 ]

Memory Match - Prescot Cables v Great Harwood Town, 19th February 1955

This piece appeared in the Prescot Cables match programme for the game against Kidsgrove Athletic on 16th February, 2019. It commemorates a memorable day, 64 years earlier in which the Prescot side recorded their second highest ever score.

Having been relegated at the end of the previous season, Prescot Cables found themselves in the second division of the Lancashire Combination for season 1954/55.

They started the season well and, by February 1955, they were flying high at the top of the table and were undefeated in the league, having dropped only two points all season—both drawn games. Their last defeat was to Pwllheli in the F.A. Cup, as far back as September 11th and their 21 game unbeaten run had already set a league record.

It was against this background that Great Harwood Town were the visitors to Prescot for a league fixture on a cold Saturday in February. As they paid their shilling admission at the turnstiles, little did the Prescot faithful know that they would be witnessing history that day.

The Hope Street pitch was bone hard and covered in snow as the two teams began the game, with Cables kicking towards the Knowsley Park end.

After some lively exchanges and chances for both sides, Freddy Crampton tapped in Cables’ first goal after ten minutes. Two minutes later, Crampton turned provider, supplying a perfect through ball for the Cables winger, Bobby Whitehead to take in his stride and crash home a fierce left footed drive.  Whitehead scored again from a Jimmy Price corner after 15 minutes and three minutes later he completed a six-minute hat trick with another full-blooded drive into the goal.

Crampton made it five just after the half hour, before Great Harwood reduced the deficit with their first goal. However, Jackie Lawton notched a sixth for Cables and Whitehead added a seventh goal (and his fourth) before half time.

Half time: Prescot Cables 7 Great Harwood Town 1

Early in the second half, goalkeeper errors at both ends contributed to the frolics. Frank Garton in the home goal allowed a tame shot to pass through his legs for Harwood’s second. At the other end, Holliday in the visitor’s goal miskicked as he ran out to clear the ball, allowing Bobby Whitehead to steer the ball into the empty net.

Freddy Crampton then beat two defenders and hooked a shot into the goal, to complete his own hat-trick. Jack Lawton made it double figures, before heading home a Bill Madison cross for his own hat-trick.

There was no let up for the hapless East Lancashire side as Crampton lobbed Holliday for the 12th, before Lawton converted a corner for the 13th goal. Crampton then ran clear from the halfway line for number 14 and Whitehead completed his own double hat trick with the 15th goal. Not to be outdone, Crampton scored his own sixth, and Cables’ 16th goal after poor old Holliday had parried a shot. Before the referee, mercifully, ended Harwood’s misery, Crampton added another (his seventh of the game) and Alec Muir crashed home a long distance shot with virtually the last kick of the match.

Full time: Prescot Cables 18 Great Harwood Town 2

Prescot Cables: Frank Garton; Bill Maddison; Harry Grisedale; Alec Muir; Bert Jelly; Frank Phillips; Bobby Whitehead; Eric Critchley, Freddie Crampton; Jack Lawton; Jimmy Price

Great Harwood showed great sportsmanship throughout the game, and after handshakes all round there was a special cheer for the visitor’s luckless goalkeeper Holliday.

The result is the second highest ever recorded by a Prescot side (A 23 – 0 victory over Liverpool Wanderers being the highest) and is a record for the Lancashire Combination. This was the season that Cables also recorded their highest away victory - a 12-0 win over Stubshaw Cross Rovers.

The victory cemented Cables’ place at the top of the division, but they were being chased hard by Burnley’s A team. Towards the end of the season Cables suffered a shock home defeat by Droylsden, followed by four consecutive away losses, including a crucial defeat at Turf Moor to Burnley A. Despite scoring an incredible 173 goals, Cables could only finish second to the champions Burnley, but secured their promotion back into Division One.

Lancashire Combination Division 2, Season 1954/55

                           P     W     D     L     F     A      Pts     Pos

Burnley A            38    33    1     4     137  39    67    1/20

Prescot Cables     38    31    2     5     173   53    64    2/20

Droylsden            38    29    3     6     128   54    61    3/20