TOWN were dreaming of a trip to Wembley – but not in the FA Cup.
Tom Johnston’s side were through to the semi-finals of the League Cup, and after a 3-2 first-leg loss to Arsenal, hopes were high that the deficit could be overturned in the return at Leeds Road.
But in the FA Cup, the Second Division (now Championship) side came unstuck at Tranmere, who belied their lowly Division III (League I) status to score a 2-1 third-round victory.
It was the club’s first-ever trip to Prenton Park, and in the build-up to a tie which drew a crowd of 20,038, all the talk was of Tranmere’s 2-1 win over then top-flight Town in the 1951-52 third round at Leeds Road.
The same scoreline was clinched when former Wales international left winger Graham Williams shot past John Oldfield from 25 yards with just five minutes to go.
“It was a hit-and-hope shot, but few would deny that plucky Tranmere deserved the spoils,” wrote the Examiner’s Longfellow (Alan Driscoll).
“But Town brought humiliation upon themselves with their own tactics. When oh when will they lift themselves out of the ultra-defensive rut which is leading them absolutely nowhere?
“Town played this game as though they had not just 90 minutes, but all day to finish it.
“They let Tranmere do the attacking for far too long, fiddled around casually in midfield and allowed themselves to be utterly sidetracked from the fact that the hosts had the second-worst defensive record in Division III.”