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Welsh FA Cup Final, 4th May 1935

Perhaps the most curious trophy Rovers have ever won is the senior cup of the football association of Wales, otherwise known as the Welsh Cup. Even more curious was the fact that it was won against another English club, Chester, at their old Sealand Road ground, which is most definitely in England.Rovers, though, had been entering the competition for many years and were beaten finalists the year before when they lost to Bristol City after a replay. No doubt the directors considered the competition gave the club the opportunity to win a prestigious trophy for the first time, and realistically they had no chance of ever winning the English FA Cup.Given the turmoil behind the scenes – secretary-manager Bert Cooke had been sacked a week earlier and Rovers had blown the chances of promotion in the final weeks – winning the Welsh Cup was a real fillip and justified the expense of entering. Of course, a ‘derby’ match victory at Chester is sweet at any time, but this victory was the crème de la crème and the 2,000- odd fans from Birkenhead among the 10,000 crowd certainly rubbed their rivals’ noses in it as a result. Reports suggest Chester were the most aggressive team and enjoyed a territorial advantage throughout the game, but goals win games. Though Chester had three quarters of the play and created plenty of chances they had the misfortune to encounter a Tranmere goalkeeper at the peak of his powers. On the day Bert Gray was simply brilliant. Had he faltered in any way Rovers might have conceded five goals. Not only was the big Welsh international capable of pulling off breathtaking saves, he did so during the game that mattered most. Chester might have opened the scoring in the first minute, when Sergeant was put clear of Rovers backline. He hit a rasping cross-shot but Gray set the tone for the day’s proceedings by flinging his 6ft 3in frame across the goal to palm the ball away. Then Chester centre-forward Mantle saw two efforts clawed away by Gray. Rovers’ attack was seen only rarely but if they were to find a way through the Chester rearguard it was a fair bet that it would come from the left-back pairing of Billy Eden and Billy Woodward. It was no surprise, therefore, that they were both involved in the crucial goal seven minutes from time. Eden’s pass inside released Woodward and with a deft swerve he left Hall trailing in his wake and headed towards the Chester goal. Bennett then came across to intervene but collided with Woodward. As  the two players lay on the ground, Chester keeper Burke advanced from his goal to retrieve the ball but the prostrate Woodward swung his right foot at the ball and steered it into he empty goal.Meynell Burgin should have made it 2-0 in the dying moments but missed a ‘sitter’, but it did not matter for at the final wistle the cup went to Rovers. Appropriately, Bert Gray, who was captain on the day, went up to receive the old silver trophy from Col. Llewellyn Williams of the Welsh FA admin much ‘lusty chearing’.

Chester: Burke, Barnnett, Hall, Pitcain, Wilson, Howarth, Kelly, Hughes, Mantle, Cresswell, Sargent.

Tranmere: Gray, Platt, Warren, Curtis, Major, Spencer, Barker, McDonald, Burgin, Woodward, Eden.

Referee: A.E. Fogg (Bolton)

Attendance: 10,000

Chester v Tranmere 1935



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.
Also to Keith Taberer, Des Ferguson, Joanne Duggan for supplying some of the photos.