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A gruelling but goal laden season finally ended in triumph and celebration for Rovers despite a topsy-turvy 6 goal thriller against re-election threatened Bradford City on the last Monday Night in April. Rovers were promoted to Division 3 in 4th position on the strength of a public attack which chalked up 89 league goals during the campaign. Leading the way was defender converted to striker Ronnie Moore, whose 37 goals made him the Football League joint leading marksman. He was able supported by the hardworking and unselfish John James who grabbed 19 goals himself. Having won 2-0 at Stockport County a couple of days earlier thanks to goals from Dave Philpotts and the prolific Ronnie Moore, Rovers were mathematically already promoted before they faced Bradford, but as long as they avoided defeat and a combination of freak results elsewhere they could celebrate an early return to the 3rd tier of English Football. 2 points would give them clear breathing space from Huddersfield town. Bradford City, though were in no mood to roll over and join in Rovers’ party. 20 minutes into the match Rovers were staring defeat in the face and the champagne was on ice. Twice their rearguard was caught napping by the pace and trickery of City’s West Indian centre-forward Joe Cook and his strike partner Dave Hall. 1st Cook headed in on 12 minutes after Hall’s shot hit the bar and he then accelerated past a statuesque Dave Philpotts on a solo run to rifle the ball past Dickie Johnson 4 minutes later. Rovers, and boss John King, could hardly grasp what was going on. The ground packed with singing fans, the team on the threshold of promotion and yet 0-2 down to 1 of the divisions no-hopers. Encouraged and driven by King to press forward, Rovers stepped up the ante. Barri Mitchell and Bobby Tynan made sure Peplow and Russ Allen saw plenty of the ball and they carved out a succession of chances which Bradford cleared with increasing desperation. But Rovers were soon back in the game. Dave Philpotts headed in a corner kick form Eddie Flood on 32 minutes with goalkeeper Downborough rooted to the spot. Then, 3 minutes before the interval Rovers were level pegging again. The wonderfully named Cec Podd sent the dashing Russ Alan crashing to the turf and Ronnie Moore stepped up to convert the spot kick for his 37th of the season. Immediately after the interval an invigorated City side shocked Rovers again. A Moddleton free-kick was flicked on by Cook and Billy McGinley brilliantly volleyed the ball home. Again Rovers found themselves trailing and were forced to dig deep into their reservoir of courage to salvage the point they needed from a game that seemed to be slipping away from them. In the 55th Minute John James made it 3-3 from virtually on the goalline after Ronnie Moore’s shot was spooned up onto the crossbar by Downsborough’s outstretched boot. While there were close calls at both ends – McGinley hit the post for Bradford – that is how it finished ad Roves fans were able to invade the pitch on the final whistle to applaud the players, led by captain fantastic Ray Mathias, who appeared in the Directors box.

Tranmere Rovers: Johnson, Mathias, Flood, Griffiths, Philpotts, Tynan, Peplow, Mitchell, Moore, James (Young), Allen.

Bradford City: Downsborough, Podd, Cooper, Johnson, Middleton, Fretwell (Ratcliffe), Watson, McGinley, Cook, Hall, Hutchins.

Referee: Mr J. Hunting (Leciester)

Attendance: 5,867

Tranmere v Bradford 1976



MOTTO: UBI FIDES IBI LUX ET ROBUR which means "Where there is faith, there is light and strength."

Designed by Ned O'Toole, Paul Harmon and Oisín Ronan.
Special thanks to Tranmere Rovers Football club for the information.