LAST EVER SEASON AT VICTORIA ROAD

Oswestry Town’s last ever season at Victoria Road wasn’t the perfect end to an association with a ground that they had played in since the 1880’s.

The stadium which would now be adjacent to the Police Station in Oswestry was the football clubs home since 1875.

However in the 1987/88 season financial trouble coupled with poor performances on the pitch ended up with relegation from the Northern Premier League signalling the start of a five year hiatus.

On Saturday the 22nd of August Oswestry Town kicked off their campaign against Hyde United with new manager, John Rodgers at the helm.

The new season’s optimism lasted barely two minutes when the Town fell behind to the Tigers on their brand new artificial pitch. Rogers’ dream of a good start then turned into a nightmare after Russ Hooton was sent off before Dave Kelly and Dave Barbour both suffered match ending injuries.

Ten minutes from time Hyde made the game safe by adding a second goal to ensure an opening day defeat for the Town.

The Blues began their last ever season at Victoria Road against rivals Rhyl and suffered the first of what proved to be a number of home defeats, going down by three goals to nil.

A defeat at Marine was followed by a home defeat against Morecombe before finally picking up a league point at home to South Liverpool.

Having now played five games, Oswestry had failed to score a league goal and were sat bottom of the table before another home game against mid table Chorley. The Lancashire side ran out 4-0 winners despite key player Dave Kelly returning from injury.

On the 15th of September attention switched to the Welsh Cup but Oswestry were knocked out in the first round by Conference side and reigning FA Trophy holders Kidderminster Harriers Aggborough.

In the seventh game of the season an all too familiar tale began to emerge when Oswestry returned from Gateshead with yet another defeat and yet again failure to score a goal.

However on the 23rd of September the run looked set to continue at half time when the Blues found themselves two nil down to Whitton Albion and down to ten men after skipper Dave Pennell had seen red but a spirited comeback was complete when Glyn Stephens and Ken Deakin both scored to end the baron spell.

It was back to normal for Oswestry the following week after a 3-0 away defeat at Caernarfon which was followed by a trip to League leaders Southport. A spirited performances kept the score respectable but once again Oswestry finished the game with no points and no goals.

A brilliant brace from Neil Ellis helped Oswestry pick up a hard fought point at Bangor City but the Blues still found themselves four points adrift of safety.

Oswestry were drawn away against Worcester City at St George’s lane in the GMAC Cup but lost out by an odd goal with both Paul Cross and Gary Dullaghan receiving their marching orders.

A return to league action on the 17th of October proved to be a memorable occasion when the Town finally picked up their first win of the season at the expense of a glittering Goole outfit, boasting the likes of former England striker Tony Currie and non-league goal machine Bob Gauden. Two minutes after the half time break, 17- year- old Mark Wilson rifled in to send the home fans into raptures.

Fresh from the first win of the season, Oswestry travelled to the Gay Meadow to play Shrewsbury Town in the Shropshire Senior Cup Semi-Final but were thumped 6-1 by a business- like Salop side.

Next up was a trip to Buxton who play at the highest stadium in senior football and it was the Town who raced into a three nil half time lead thanks to goals from

Mark Wilson, Gary Dullaghan and Steve Allman. However, the team struggled with the altitude in the second half and let their lead slip to end up drawing the game.

Defeats by Bangor City, Barrow and Worksop Town followed leaving the Town second bottom of the league.

Under pressure manager John Rogers received a warning prior to the basement battle between Oswestry Town and Workington at Victoria Ground on the 14th of November and the warning worked, as goals from Ken Deakin and Mark Round scored to give the home side a deserved two nil victory.

A run of five defeats against Hyde United, Frickley Athletic, Horwich RMI and two League losses by Marine, meant the end of the road for manager Rogers who was sacked and replaced by Bryn Jones.

The new manager was able to stop the rot in his first game in charge thanks to goals from Mark Wilson and John Muldoon, resulted in a 2-2 away draw with Matlock Town.

However, despite hoping to build on the point, a five nil thrashing followed at Worksop Town before a nightmare defeat away at bottom of the league Workington Town despite a debut goal by Kenny Latham.

There was however some festive cheer for the Oswestry Town fans when John Muldoon bagged a brace against South Liverpool on Boxing Dday.

A run of three losses followed. A 1-4 defeat at home to Buxton was followed by a 5-0 victory for Rhyl before another disappointing match ended up with Goole Town leaving Victoria Road with a 2-0 victory in the League Cup.

Another sorry tale followed when Matlock Town, who hadn’t won since October turned up at a wet Victoria Road and beat Oswestry 2-0 to leave the Shropshire side bottom of the League table.

Gary Simpson re-joined the club to help stop the rot and in his first game his effect helped Oswestry to their first win of the year by scoring a superb brace.

The joy was short lived. A tough looking away match at League leaders Chorley ended with a five one thrashing.

John Muldoon was on hand to earn Oswestry a point in the next game against Gateshead before yet another couple of defeats, at the hands of Gainsborough and Horwich.

A well-earned draw against second placed Morecombe was sealed thanks to another goal from in-form John Muldoon.

A stormy clash with Southport followed with the Police being called in to rescue the referee from the Southport officials after a brilliant 2-0 victory for Oswestry thanks to a two goals from Ian Howat.

The team began to pick up form towards the end of the season and picked up another point against Barrow thanks to another goal from Ian Howat.

An away defeat at Goole Town followed but the Town bounced back with a home draw against Frickely Athletic before an excellent 3-2 victory against Gainsborough Trinty thanks to a goal from Phil Williams and two from the impressive Ian Howat.

The 2nd of April 1988 marked a famous occasion for the club as it would end up being the last time that Oswestry Town would ever play in their Victoria Road ground. For more than 100 years, a stadium that the Town would call home would be no more and despite a spirited performance Town couldn’t end with a win. The Town fell behind in the first half but Ian Howat equalised minutes into the second half. However, late on Mossley scored a heart-breaking winner to end the association with the stadium with a defeat. Fans had flocked to what would be the final game and the gate was trebled with 553 spectators.

The penultimate game of the season was a memorable one as Oswestry celebrated their first away win of the season at Whitton Albion after a magnificent brace from Mark Wilson.

The season ended with an away trip to Mossley. Backed by a large contingent of Town fans, Oswestry succumbed to yet another defeat despite a Mark Wilson header putting

Oswestry in the lead before late goals ensured the season ended on a dour note.

Victoria Road 1 Victoria Road 6 Victoria Road 2 Victoria Road 3  Victoria Road 4 Victoria Road 5