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The Iron Vault: Record Away League Win

7 April 2020


The Iron Vault: Record Away League Win

7 April 2020

After looking at the club's record league win a week ago, we this time take a look at the evolution of our record away league win since our admission to the league back in 1950.

Ultimately, the record ends in the same way, with an 8-1 away win at Torquay United in 1995 the scoreline that clinches it - equalling the home scoreline which was achieved in 1965. However, with only one away win listed in the overall evolution of the record, and it taking an extra 30 years to reach an away 8-1 win, how did the 45 years that preceded the romping at Plainmoor see it evolve?


Having recorded the opening league win at home against Oldham Athletic, as we looked at last week, the reverse fixture became the first away league win, going down in history as a seven-goal thriller at Boundary Park on September 12th, 1950.

The away league record has, in total, taken seven different forms, with one of those scorelines equalled once, while another was equalled on two occasions. Here we take a look, in brief, at the evolution of our best victories on the road.

1950-51 Sep 12, 1950 Oldham Athletic A W4-3 Gorin (2), Whitfield, Mosby
1952-53 Nov 1, 1952 Workington A W3-0 Whitfield, Haigh, McGill
1953-54 Apr 17, 1954 Halifax Town A W3-0 Brown (2), Haigh
1954-55 Aug 24, 1954 Grimsby Town A W4-1 Brown (2), McGill, Gregory
1957-58 Aug 26, 1957 Tranmere Rovers A W4-1 Waldock (3), Fletcher
1957-58 Sep 25, 1957 Rochdale A W4-1 Haigh, Waldock, Marriott, Fletcher
1960-61 Sep 3, 1960 Derby County A W5-2 Bonson (2), Thomas, Godfrey, Brownsword
1968-69 Aug 26, 1968 Colchester United A W4-0 Kerr (2), Heath, Deere
1969-70 Apr 4, 1970 Bradford Park Avenue A W5-0 Kerr (2), Heath, Cassidy, Davidson
1995-96 Oct 28, 1995 Torquay United A W8-1 McFarlane (4), Eyre (2), Ford, Knill.

So, as we already know, the journey ends in 1995 with an 8-1 win at Plainmoor, but the journey to get there takes much longer and involves many more games.

Much like the overall / home records, the scoreline evolved from a one-goal margin to a three-goal margin, with the 4-3 against Oldham Athletic progressing to a 3-0 away win at Workington in November 1952. Julian Whitfield, Jack Haigh and Andy McGill netted in the new record-breaking away match and one which would stand for the next couple of years. It would be equalled once along the way, with Haigh again among the scorers in the 3-0 win against Halifax Town. Gordon Brown would grab a brace on the day.

He would also get two goals in the result which would replace the 3-0 and although it is the same score deficit, a 4-1 scoreline at local rivals Grimsby Town in August 1954 was more than worth writing a new entry in for. Along with the Brown double, McGill would again net, while Jack Gregory got the other.

The 4-1 scoreline was equalled twice within a month of each other, in August and September 1957 at Tranmere Rovers and Rochdale, respectively. Ronnie Waldock would get four goals across those games, with a hat-trick coming in the first. Rod Fletcher would get the other on that day, while he would also net at Spotland, along with Haigh and Jack Marriott.

The 1950s had seen those six games all written into the history books as the record away win, with the 1960s beginning with a seventh to take the new crown.

The game, played in September 1960, saw the Iron net five away from home in a league game for the first time at Derby County. Once again, there was a brace-scorer, with Joe Bonson getting this one. Barrie Thomas, Godfrey and Jack Brownsword completed the quintet, but the hosts did get two of their own.

5-2 then became 4-0 almost eight years later in August 1968 with George Kerr (two), Terry Heath and Steve Deere netting away at Colchester United. What made this result even better was the clean sheet.

The following campaign would then see an away win recorded which take us into a new decade, but then last 25 years. Kerr would again score two, this time at Bradford Park Avenue and the Iron would again keep that important clean sheet. However, this time the home net was to ripple once more than before with Heath, Nigel Cassidy and Angus Davidson getting the goals - only the second time in their 20 years in the league that they'd notched five away from home in the league.

The best, as we know, was to come.


It would be over 25 years from that 5-0 away win at Bradford Park Avenue in 1970 when the Iron would create a new away league record for themselves.

They'd not just break the record though, they'd completely smash it. United had never scored more than five goals on their travels in the league, but would not just score six or seven, but eight. There was one blemish on their scoreline, not keeping a clean sheet, but no one batted an eyelid at that following a truly emphatic away win.

8-1 v Torquay United - Division Three - October 28, 1995

1995-96 copy.jpg

LINE-UP: Samways, Housham, Wilson, Ford (1), Knill (1), Hope (Nicholson), Thornber, Bullimore (Walsh), McFarlane (4) (Young), Eyre (2), Paterson.

United romped to a magnificent 8-1 away win against Torquay in Division Three on 28 October 1995 - matching the long-standing club record for biggest ever win, which had been set by achieving victory with the same score-line against Luton Town 30 years earlier.

Iron striker Andy McFarlane, who would later go on to represent the Gulls, stole the show as he netted an incredible four times. He was able ably supported by John Eyre who netted a brace, while the two remaining goals were shared between Tony Ford and current Torquay manager Alan Knill - who would later have a difficult 18-month spell as Iron boss from March 2011 until October 2012.

The result lifted the Iron up to 14th place in the division, but had immediate repercussions for Gulls manager Don O’Riordan who was fired by then Chairman Mike Bateson. The return leg in April 1996 would prove to be a much tighter affair, with a single goal enough to give the Iron all three points.

The Iron ended the season in 12th place, while Torquay would go on to finish nine points adrift at the bottom of the table and were only spared relegation courtesy of Conference winners Stevenage falling short in terms of the necessary league requirements.

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