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TRANMERE ROVERS 13 V OLDHAM ATHLETIC 4
Division Three (North) 26th December 1935

Records galore were smashed at Prenton Park on Boxing Day 1935 to give rise to headlines like, ‘old ’em they could not!’ and Bell’s toll of nine goals’.  To this day no other Football League match has ever produced 17 goals, and while Bunny Bell’s record 9 goal haul was subsequently eclipsed by Luton’s Joe Payne 4 months later, it remains a club record. On Christmas day Rovers, then leaders of Division Three (North), travelled to Boundary Park with expectations high. Perhaps they had too much Christmas pudding at lunch but they went down tamely 4-1. S was the custom in those days the reverse fixture took place the following day, though Oldham players maintained the pitch was in such a heavy condition the match should never have gone ahead. Even when Urmson opened the scoring for Rovers in the second minute, blasting in following a miscued Woodward corner, there was no hint of the events that were about to unfold. 5 minutes later Talbot sliced a clearance to the feet of Fred Urmson. When Oldham ‘keeper Caunce would only parry his shot, Robert ‘Bunny’ Bell was on hand to net easily 2-0. McDonald, freed by Billy Eden’s astute pass waltzed through to lob the ball over Caunce in the 11th minute, when Urmson raced down the left wing and passed inside for Woodward to score with a right foot drive – 4-0 and the game only 14 minutes old. In fairness, Oldham were not enjoying much luck. They lost their centre-half Brunskill with a facial injury though he later returned after treatment to play on the right wing, but by then Bell had inflicted almost mortal damage. In the 16th minute he scored the first of three consecutive goals taking a pass from the unmarked Urmson and despatching it with consummate ease. The same combination engineered Rovers’ 6th two minutes later and when he registered his4th and Tranmere’s 6th goal in the 33rd minute it owed to luck as the ball unwittingly hit him on the knee and squirmed over the line after clever work from Urmson and Woodward. Brunskill then grabbed a consolation goal in the 35th minute before Bell had the final say before the interval, heading in an Eden centre on 40 minutes.  Bell carried on where he left off, scoring within a minute of the restart and in the 50th minute Woodward made it 10-1. Brunskill had a hand in Oldham’s second goal when he crossed for Davies to score but 5 minutes later, in the 68th minute, ‘Bunny’ Bell equalised the Football League record of Ted Drake (Arsenal) and Arthur Withehurst (Bradford City) when he scored his 7th goal. Walsh responded twice ( 1 a penalty) for Oldham to give the scoreline more respectability at 11-4, but the crowd were wiling Bell to beat the scoring record. 17 minutes from time Rover’s were awarded a penalty for a handball offence but to his own amazement and the crowd’s disappointment Bell screwed the ball wide. No matter 3 minutes from time Bell ran through to hit his 8th and record-breaking goal. This caused a crowed surge at the dressing room end and a fence collapsed throwing boys and men on to the pitch. In the last minute Bell scored his 9th, heading in Edan’s centre. The crowd went wild and he was carried off shoulder high at the end. Truly a match never to be forgotten

Tranmere: Gray , Platt, Fairhurst, McLaren, Newton, Spencer, Eden, McDonald, Bell,  Woodward, Urmson

Oldham: Caunce, Seymour, Talbot, Williamson, Brunskill, Schofield, Jones, Davis, Walsh, Leedham, Buckley.

Referee: N.H.Mee (Mansfield)

Attendance: 11,456

v Oldham 1935

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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.