Sunday 9 March 1975 (Sunday League Division Three):

  Box Hill 5  

  Throxenby 1  

8 Weaver         6 Slade         15 Burns
12 Toal         2 Bailey         20 Cranston         5 Porter
10 Parkin         14 Phillips         11 Appleby

Scorers - Appleby 4, Porter.

  A momentous weekend which began with Scarborough's FA Trophy win over Wimbledon (in which Tony Aveyard's winning goal went through Dicky Guy's legs), ended with this, Box Hill's first, last and only league win.

  It had been clear for some time that our last realistic chance of scoring some league points was going to be in our home game with this Throxenby team that had, unsurprisingly, taken root in second bottom position. However, Throxenby boss Jack Comins had other ideas, and had signed in Neil Davies and Rhys Jones two rather sensationally good players on the fringe of the Scarborough FC set-up. Almost instantly, their results had improved dramatically, and thus they arrived at Olivers Mount as one of the "form" teams in the division.

  And against this newly formidable line-up, we were able to unveil two new signings of our own. Les Appleby was an old friend of ours from school days, and I'd been trying to interest him in Box Hill for a while. His Saturday side, EMMCo Dynamos, were coming to the end of their season, and he now saw no just impediment why he should not turn out in the tangerine shirt. Andy Porter was the youngest of all our players, two years behind us at school. I'd known him a long time, but had been pleasantly surprised to learn (from Steve Toal) that such a good player was interested in joining us, and didn't hesitate to sign him on before he changed his mind. With Les adding his talents up front to Norman Parkin and Kevin Phillips, and Andy joining regulars Steve Toal, Les Bailey and Pete Cranston in midfield, the line-up overall looked pretty formidable, but the squad was a bit light on defenders, so I tried yet another bizarre formation, lining up with just three in defence, even making so bold as to take my turn at playing left-back. Looking back over the decades, this must have been one of the best teams I ever picked in all my years in the game, far superior to the line-up against Hackness two weeks before and for once respectable in all departments. Except perhaps the left-back.

  The first half was hard fought, the game of a far higher standard than you'd expect from looking at the teams' league records, but two goals from Les Appleby gave us the advantage, one of them made by Norman Parkin, the other by Kevin Phillips. After the break, Throxenby came back into it, getting one goal back too soon for comfort. With only three in defence (where did I get these ideas from?), Andy Wiffen again deputising quite admirably in goals, Steve Slade and Willy Weaver performing heroics at the back, and me having a truly abysmal game at left-back, the game could have swung either way. Two solo goals from Les Appleby, however, clinched the points for us, as well as making him the club's top scorer in just one game, and one final effort from Andy Porter sealed the victory.

  The sense of relief was overwhelming. We had avoided the whitewash that at one time seemed a certainty. Some people said that the inclusion of new players had cheapened our victory, but all I can say is that, in all my twenty-something seasons in local football, I have never again known a feeling of sheer joy such as I felt on hearing the final whistle of this game. That moment on its own was adequate compensation for all the heavy defeats, the internal wrangling, and the ridicule which we'd had to endure. This really was a day when you should have been there: those of you who weren't, your lives are the poorer for it.

Next page, the write-up in the Mercury. (600 Kb.)

Or, skip that, the League game away to Alpine.

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