on the images for larger pictures.
The final two games between
the sides took place in the 1961/62 season but these
results were later expunged from the records following
Stanley’s resignation in March. The deduction
of three points from Chester’s total meant that
they finished bottom of the league that season below
Although the current Accrington Stanley only formed in 1968 their predecessors
were regular visitors to the city from the time that Chester entered
the league in 1931 until the demise of Stanley in 1962. Indeed the two
teams first met in the Lancashire Combination Division One, back in the
1911/12 season and played each other every year until the outbreak of
the First World War.
Accrington Stanley 0
Chester 1 (Jones)
Division Four 26 August 1961
Accrington Stanley: Smith,
Forrester, Walton, Wilson, Richardson, Hamilton,
Devine, Ferguson, Hudson, Bennett, Mulvey.
Chester: Hardie, Hughes, Donaldson, Hennin,
Kennedy, Edwards, Morris, Fitzgerald, Davies, Pritchard, Jones.
travelled to Peel Park for their first away game
of the season following a win against Oldham Athletic
and a defeat by Bradford City at Sealand Road. Meanwhile,
Accrington also had three points having beaten Darlington
and lost to Tranmere. For Chester, an injury to Billy
White meant a start for Alan Pritchard while Republic
of Ireland international, Peter Fitzgerald, was switched
to inside right to accommodate the youngster. Stanley
kept the same side that had beaten Darlington.
The early chances fell to Chester.
Future Welsh international Ron Davies shot inches
over while Pritchard’s attempt to lob goalkeeper
Alex Smith also just cleared the bar. Chester took
the lead after 23 minutes when Fitzgerald fed the
ball out to diminutive winger Mervyn Jones and his
shot carried over Smith just inside the far post.
To many people it looked like a cross but after the
game Jones said he did it deliberately when he saw
the keeper advance off the line in anticipation of
In the event Chester won the
game more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline suggested.
They made a number of openings but were guilty of some
bad finishing with most of the blame heaped on the
shoulders of poor Davies who was nowhere near his best
form. Despite this it was a happy Chester team that
made the journey back to the city although the players
thought they should really have won by more goals.
The previous season it had been February before they
had won their first away game so it was a welcome relief
to pick up points away from Sealand Road so early on.
Stanley responded quickly and Malcolm Edwards cleared off the line from
Paddy Mulvey who also shot over when he really should have scored. In
the second half Chester were guilty of playing too much “continental
football” and it was reported that their short passing game made
Stanley look foolish. However, Chester’s failure to press home
their advantage almost cost them dearly and keeper John Hardie came to
the rescue in the closing stages with two saves from George Hudson.
Chester 0 Accrington
Division Four 23 December 1961
Hughes, Gill, Hennin, Kennedy, Bellett, Fitzgerald,
White, Davies, Edwards, Jones.
Accrington Stanley: Smith, Forrester, Walton,
Smith, Wilson, Hamilton, Devine, Milner, Wareing, Ferguson,
the time that the two teams met just before Christmas
they had both completely lost their way. Chester
were third from bottom and managerless following
an embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Lancashire Combination
side Morecambe which had resulted in the sacking
of Stan Pearson. They were also 16 games into a record
breaking 26 games without a win.
The game itself was poor and
the tactics from both sides appeared to be kick and
rush. If anything Accrington were marginally the better
side but both sets of forwards had little idea of how
to score. Although John Hardie had a quiet time in
the Chester goal he almost allowed a Jim Milner shot
to slip through his hands while Jack Wareing shot wide
within the first few minutes.
Things weren’t much better for Stanley, one place below Chester.
They had just parted company with Jimmy Harrower and playing affairs
were in the hands of caretaker managers Bill Smith and Harry Hubbick.
They were also without a win in eight games, a sequence that eventually
stretched to 16 matches and their resignation from the league. In the
event it was hardly surprising that the game ended goalless on a bitterly
Both Fitzgerald and Davies had chances for Chester but Derek Hennin came
closest with a shot that brought the save of the match from Smith. In the
closing minutes Ronnie Hughes cleared off the line from Mike Ferguson but
a goalless draw was an appropriate result.
Three months later both sides
had still failed to register another victory and in
the first week of March Accrington tendered their resignation
to the League leaving Chester bottom of the pile.
Of the players that represented
Stanley in the 1961/62 season two went on to play for
Chester. Centre half Bob Wilson, who played in Accrington’s
final league game against Crewe, joined Chester before
the start of the 1962/63 season having had a successful
trial against Hamborn in April. Bob only played 15 games
for Chester before moving on to Sankey’s of Wellington
where he was also manager. He later returned to his
native Scotland and managed junior side Arbroath Vics.
Meanwhile Brian Bades, who played two games for Stanley,
moved to Sealand Road at the start of the 1963/64 season
via Horwich RMI and Stockport County. He also played
15 games and scored one goal before a transfer to Runcorn
at the end of the season.
Sumner [Published 25/11/03]