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Division 3 (North) , 30th April 1958

In 1958 the league management committee decided in their wisdom they would dispense with the geographic separation which had served them since 1921 and instead of a Northern and Southern section to the Third Division they would create two new national divisions, Division 3 and 4, based on merit alone. The criteria for membership of these new Divisions would be based entirely on league position in both Northern & Southern sections at the conclusion of the 1957-58 season. Finish in the top 12 and you were in the 3rd Division, below that and you were effectively relegated to the new 4th Division. And what was the Tranmere players bonus for making the cut? £4 a man! How times have changed. Thus the scene was set for arguably the club’s most important League match since they returned to the Division 3 (North) at the start of the 1939-40 season. The mathematics were simple. After other results the week before went in our favour, Rovers needed to win to be sure of a place in the new 3rd Division but as fate would have it their final fixture of the season pitted them against one of the oldest and fiercest rivals, Wrexham, who just needed a point themselves to clinch a top 12 finish. Consequently, a record League crown was expected at Prenton Park for the midweek 6:30pm kick-off. In Wrexham they even let the miners work and early shift at Llay Colliery so they could make the kick-off after British Rail laid on special trains to Birkenhead. Birkenhead news reporter Stuart Hooton described the tension of the match as almost unbearable. He said ‘it was like sitting at the hospital bedside of a loved one who was in danger’. Yet Tranmere enjoyed almost perfect start, being awarded a penalty just 3 minutes into this epic encounter. A McDevitt thrust into the penalty area after Eglington found him with a sublime pass was abruptly halted by Wrexham left-back Parker. As nearly 20,000 fans held their breath, some unable to look as Tommy Eglington, the coolet man in the ground, stepped up to convert the award with ease. After both Heydon and Crossan went close it was Wrexham’s turn to crank up the pressure. Rovers had a let-off when Murray hit the past and the rebound was driven wide by Davis, and Bernard Evans headed just wide. The Welshmen continued in the ascendancy until early in the 2nd half, with Rovers hanging on their slim advantage with increasing desperation. Against the run of play Rovers went 2-0 up in the 65th minute. An Eglington centre was hacked away by parker but unfortunately for him, and Wrexham, the ball struck Ken McDevitt and rebounded off his body into the net. Wrexham rallied and put Peter Farrell’s side under the cosh for a sustained period. Eventually they were rewarded in the 75th minute when Bernard Evans got his head to a Jones centre. The final 15 minutes were purgatory for every Rovers fan. Farrell & Bernard Evans were both knocked out during one meaty clash of heads as the both fought their corner like punch drink boxers. When the final whistle sounded there was hugh relief all round and much celebrations. ‘Bravo ! Rovers had done it,’ trumpeted the Birkenhead news. Despite losing Wrexham made the cut as well in 12th position with Rovers taking 11th spot with a superior goal average, while the 19,170 crowd is still the biggest League gate ever at Prenton Park.

Tranmere: Payne, Bell, D. Jones, Heydon, Millington, Farrell, McDevitt, K. Williams, Dodd, Crossan, Eglington.

Wrexham:Gooing, McGowan, Parker, Davis, Fox, G. Evans, G. Jones, Murray, B. Evans, Brannan, Anderson . 

Referee: E.S. Oxley (Pontefract).

Attendance: 19,170.

v Wrexham 1958



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.