Memories of Town's visits to Layer Road

WHATEVER the result on Saturday another chapter closes at Layer Road with nearest rivals Ipswich Town making their last ever visit to the quaint old ground.

Derek Davis

WHATEVER the result on Saturday another chapter closes at Layer Road with nearest rivals Ipswich Town making their last ever visit to the quaint old ground. DEREK DAVIS looks back at the history of the sides meeting in Essex before the move to Cuckoo Farm.

BUILT in 1907 and initially used by the Army before Colchester Town moved there from Sheepen Road's 'Oval' in April 1910, it would be 40 years before Ipswich Town would play the U's at Layer Road in the league.

Despite being less than 25 miles down each other the two sides have only met seven times in the league at Layer Road.


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The clubs had met often in the non-league, indeed The Blues were the U's first opponents in the Southern League when they were promoted in 1937, it finished 3-3, in front of a full house.

* First League meeting*

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It was a high scoring game too when they met in their first league encounter in Division 3 (south) on November 4, 1950 with Ipswich edging a 3-2 win after a goalless first half.

John Church, a £1,000 signing from Norwich City and Arthur Turner, who had turned down a deal at Charlton to sign professionally for the U's at £12 a week during the season, a tenner during the summer.

But it was goals from Sam McCrory, Allenby Driver and Ken Wookey, who gave Town, managed by Scott Duncan, the historic victory.

Colchester United: Wright, Harrison, Allen, Bearryman, Stewart, Elder, Jones, Curry, Turner, Cutting, Church.

Ipswich Town: Burns, Feeney. Tyler, Baird, Rees, Parker, Wookey, McCrory, Jennings, Driver, Roberts

*March 1952*

A Trevor Rowlands goal the following season gave Jimmy Allen's U's victory in front of 15,175 against a Town side containing the likes of John Elsworthy, Tommy Parker and Tom Garneys.

Welshman Rowlands, another £1,000 signing from Norwich City, was normally a defender but was playing centre forward and it was to be his only goal of the season for the U's.

Colchester United: Wright, Harrison, Rookes, Bearryman, Stewart, Elder, Aitcheson, Scott, Rowlands, McKim, Church.

Ipswich Town: Parry, Feeney. Tyler, Murchison, Rees, Parker, Havenga, Dobson, Garneys, Elsworthy, Roberts.

*August 1952*

DESPITE two attack-minded sides this opening game of the season ended as a goalless draw. The result was to hurt the Us more come the end of the season as they finished the season third from bottom.

Although finishing mid-table, Town though were beginning to build a formidable side.

Colchester United: Coombes, Harrison, Rookes, Bearryman, Stewart, Elder, Jones, Scott, McCurley, McKim, Church.

Ipswich Town: Parry, Feeney, Deacon, Rees, Parker, Gaynor, Brown, Garneys, Elsworthy, Tennent.

*December 1953*

The Blues stormed a two-goal half-time lead through winger Billy Reed and the prolific John Elsworthy.

Although August Scott pulled one back for te U's it proved too little and while Colchester finished second from bottom and needed to apply for re-election, Ipswich won promotion under Scott Duncan.

Colchester United: Wright, Harrison, Lewis, Bearryman, Bicknell, Elder, Scott, Barlow, McCurley, McKim, Grice.

Ipswich Town: Parry, Acres, Feeney, Myles, Rees, Parker, Reed, Brown, Garneys, Elsworthy, McLuckie.

*December 1955*

This Boxing Day classic finished 3-3 with Tommy Parker scoring two second half goals for Sir Alf Ramsey's Ipswich, who took over from Duncan after the side got relegated, and knocked one in for the U's too.

Wilf Grant got the other for Town while the U's scorers were the predatory Kevin McCurley, a £750 buy from Liverpool, and Kenny Plant under player/manager Benny Fenton, in front of a season high gate of 13,176.

The following day the sides did it all again with Town winning 3-1 at Portman Road

Colchester United: Ames, Harrison, Fisher, Fenton, Stewart, Dale, Grice, McLeod, McCurley, Plant, Wright.

Ipswich Town: Parry, Feeney, Deacon, Rees, Parker, Gaynor, Brown, Garneys, Elsworthy, Tennent.

*February 1957*

This was to be the last meeting for 50 years at Layer Road and it ended in such controversy the enmity lingered all those years.

Although the game finished scoreless, a penalty save by Roy Bailey, who U's supporters to this day claimed moved before the ball was kicked by Benny Fenton, proved vital and in the end it was Ipswich who got promoted while the Us missed out after losing three away games in seven days at the end of the season proved costly.

Colchester United: Ames, Fisher, Fowler, Fenton, Milligan, Dale, Williams, Hill, McCurley, Plant, Wright.

Ipswich Town: Bailey, Carberry, Malcolm, Myles, Rees, Elsworthy, Reed, Millward, Garneys, Phillips, Leadbetter.

*September 2007*

IT took Colchester nearly 50 years to gain revenge and it was fittingly long time stalwart and skipper Karl Duguid who scored the winner.

Ipswich claim they should have a goal through Frannie Jeffers, but it was harshly disallowed for a push.

Ipswich will be looking to get their own back on Saturday as a win could push them back in the play-offs although would relegate the U's.

Colchester United: Davison, Halford, Baldwin, Brown, Barker, Garcia, Watson, Izzet, Duguid, Iwelumo, Cureton.

Ipswich Town: Price, Sito, Naylor, Harding, Noble, Walton, Legwinski, Currie, Macken, Lee.

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