Our Heritage: When the Shrimps were the cup kings

Morecambe FC 1963 Back Row:  Evans, Borrowdale, Cubbage, Thompson, Scott, Mitchell, Dunn (player-manager) Front: Fawcett, Morley, Keen (capt), Whitehead, Armstrong, mascot J Orkney.
Morecambe FC 1963 Back Row: Evans, Borrowdale, Cubbage, Thompson, Scott, Mitchell, Dunn (player-manager) Front: Fawcett, Morley, Keen (capt), Whitehead, Armstrong, mascot J Orkney.
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Twenty seconds to go, a replay looking as inevitable as Monday mornings when left wing plumber Derek Armstrong located a leak in the Horwich defence and plugged it with a wonderful shot to give Morecambe victory and the Junior Cup.

It was not a great game so far as football standards were concerned but it was as exciting as a ride on the Wall of Death.

There was only time for Horwich to kick off after the goal before the final whistle came as a signal for Armstrong to disappear under a mass of jubilant players.

When Mr S W Pilkington, Vice-Chairman of the Lancashire Football Association, presented the cup to Jack Keen, he paid tribute to “the gallant losers”.

It must have been almost heart breaking to lose a game with seconds to go – but that’s football.

I can still see the glazed, dazed expression of relief on chairman Bob Altham’s face immediately after the game.

He was not on his own for every Morecambe supporter must have felt the same.

It may not be a coincidence but both of Morecambe’s goals came, as they did in the semi-final against Wigan, from the wingers.

A goal for Morecambe had to come and sure enough it did in the 27th minute.

Keen started it with a pass to Borrowdale, took the return and shot but Hudson saved only for the ball to run free and Fawcett following up calmly slipped the ball into the net.

Morley shot wide after good work by Borrowdale and Whitehead and that was followed by a chorus of “Glory Glory” from the hundreds of youngsters who had done a “cavalry charge” straight down the field from one end to the other so they could be behind the Horwich goal for the second half.

In the 61st minute Horwich equalised and Morecambe’s last chance of victory appeared to have gone when Borrowdale nodded the ball down to Armstrong’s feet leaving him clear to score his match-winning goal.

That season Morecambe also won the league, a glorious double.