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Memory Lane 50 Years ago - 1971-72 Promotion Season - Match by Match - Friday 26 November - 7th consecutive League home win


Mar 22, 2013
Friday November 26, 1971 - Division 4
Southend Utd (3) 4 (Best 23', 39', Garner 35', 84')
Stockport County (2) 2 (Lawther 18', Webber 41')
Venue: Roots Hall KO: 7.30
Attendance: 9,302

Southend Utd: J Roberts, R Ternent, A Smith, D Elliott, B Albeson, D Barnett, T Johnson, B Best, B Garner, G Moore, B Lewis. Sub: P Taylor.
Stockport County: A Ogley, R Charter, D Renwick, S McMillan, P Hart, R Wright, P Chisnall, H Ryden, K Webber, I Lawther, B Wilson.

Match Report
If ever a display had been needed to prove United’s right to be in contention for the Fourth Division promotion race and title, if they are not careful, then this one before 9,302 spectators at Roots Hall on Friday night could not have been better timed. They were up against a team with so little to offer it just wasn’t true. They gave them a goal start, galloped ahead, let the opposition get back into the picture, then applied the killer punch with contemptuous arrogance, writes ALF SMIRK.

Stockport were allowed into the game purely on United’s beneficence. The fact that the result was so close for so long was the only thing that retained the fans interest, especially in the second half after they had seen five goals before half-time. The two points were all that really mattered to United and, provided they learned from their mistakes, it could not have been a bad exercise.

With skipper Joe Jacques kept out of the side by what manager Arthur Rowley described as an “injury”, Dave Barnett was drafted into the back four. And while Barnett himself didn’t have a bad game, in fact some of his covering was the best for some time, there was a lack of understanding that led to far too many open spaces.

County’s Ian Lawther took advantage of the first when he stabbed in a ball flicked on my Sammy McMillan from a Bev Wilson corner in the 18th minute. Until then had been the only team in it.

But they soon settled down again and were level within five minutes. Barnett headed on a Terry Johnson corner and Billy Best nodded the ball home. Johnson and Best had shots cleared off the line before Bill Garner put United in front after 35 minutes. Johnson crossed high from the right and Garner beat everybody at the far post to nod the ball down just inside the upright.

Another four minutes and Blues went further ahead. Best got a second chance following a Bernie Lewis centre and he banged in his 100th goal for United since joining them from Northampton around four seasons ago.

Instead of pulling away, Blues were hauled back to a one goal advantage four minutes before half-time. Hughie Ryden rolled a pass back to Keith Webber, lurking on the edge of the box and Webber’s first-timer rocketed into the roof of the net.

The second half was a bit of a bore compared to the first. County goalkeeper, Alan Ogley keeping them in the hunt with two fine saves from Best and Gary Moore, the latter a reflex action after Moore had done well to volley in his effort as he was falling.

McMillian and Phil Chisnall, both former United favourites, were pushed forward in the second half as Country were encouraged by Blues’ failure to increase their lead, but although they made the most of their limited opportunities, United were by now much more solid at the back and were determined not to give anything else away.

The result was wrapped up, albeit belatedly, six minutes from the end. Garner raced on to a through ball from Dave Elliott and hit it into the back of the net.

Just before the final whistle, John Roberts did well to get to a shot from Ryden which might have made the final scoreline even more ridiculous. County were never in the same class as United and really, under the circumstances, did well to make as much a game of it as they did.

If facts and figures are worth anything, it was United’s highest score of the season and County were only the second side to score more than once in a league game at Roots Hall this season.

League Table




Sep 2, 2007
Rye Sussex
Friday 26th November

After the previous Saturday's memorable FA Cup win it was a return to Friday night league action.

Stockport County, who were 5th from bottom, provided the opposition.

They were captained by their leading scorer and our former player Sammy McMillan. Sam had been signed for us from Wrexham by Ernie Shepherd in September 1967 in theory to give us a greater goal threat. A former busby babe who played 15 times in their first team scoring 6 goals, he also had got two caps for Northern Ireland. He then moved to Wrexham and scored 52 times in 149 games - so had good goal scoring credentials. It didn't go too well for him at Southend - in the season he signed he only scored once in 26 games, ironically when he was playing alongside centre half Eddie May as we threw promotion away.

In 1968/69 he showed what a great footballer he was playing either at centre half or in midfield appearing 43 times in the League and Cup as we scored goals for fun but let too many in as well. McMillan Clayton, Chisnall, Hamilton, Best and Moore - we had some great footballers lining up for us.

1969/70 didn't start too well, however Sam did score a hat trick as we beat Brentford in a League Cup First round Second replay at the Den ( those were the days !) Billy Best had broken his leg in the third league game of the season and Sam was being played up front again. We went 8 games without a win - Ernie chucked it in and eventually Sam left in December 69 to sign for Wrexham's rivals Chester, before signing for Stockport in July 70.

He was joined at Stockport in September 71 by his old Busby babe mate Phil Chisnall. I hadn't realised that Chisnall was still a Southend player at the start of 71/72.
Phil joined us from Liverpool at the start of 67/68 - a fantastic signing for a fourth division club. An inside forward he finished top scorer in 67/68 with 17 goals.

The rest of his time with us didn't live up to that first season. In 68/69 he started just 31 League games, but played every game in the cup run. 69/70 - 33 league starts and 70/71 just 29 starts hardly appearing after Xmas as Arthur Rowley brought in new singing Dave Elliott who took his place. Phil's last game for us was April 3 1971 when we won 4-0 at Darlington. In all he played 162 times scoring 32 goals.

Stockport finished the season one off the bottom and both Chisnall and McMiIllan had played their last League games, 10 years after they had been playing together in the First Divison for Man Utd.

The game itself - we had to make a change with Dave Barnett coming in for Joe Jacques after 5 games unchanged. We got the win we expected with Bill and Billy getting 2 each.

That put us top of the table and we were still there on Saturday evening as both Brentford and Southport lost... Happy days. The crowd dropped below 10,000 after 5 consecutive double figure gates. with 9,299 attending.

The fixture list coming up showed 5 of the next 7 League games were away from home plus an away cup tie at Bournemouth. It was going to get harder. 8 games later we had dropped to 6th place - 6 points behind the leaders Scunthorpe. By then Arthur Scargill was having an influence on the football as well.
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