Mansfield on the up as Reading field Death against struggling Scunthorpe
22 March ~ Happy times for Mansfield who had played one of two Friday night fixtures, a 3-2 win over Exeter. This was the first of two promotions in three seasons which led to Division Two games against Spurs in 1977-78. Striker Ray Clarke scored 26 goals in his first season with the club and went on to play for Ajax and Bruges among others.
The top four all went up, though Chester only pipped fifth-placed Lincoln City, managed by Graham Taylor, on goal average. Lincoln would have prevailed under the goal difference system which was brought in two years later. Chester also reached the League Cup semi-finals after a stunning 3-0 win over reigning champions Leeds, finally losing 5-4 on aggregate to Aston Villa.
Reading’s team included the goalkeeper with one of the best-ever footballers’ names, Steve Death. Newport featured John Relish and Billy Screen while Hartlepool had Alan Goad and Hartley Maddison who was, as you might imagine, an amateur making one of his four League appearances.
Scunthorpe finished 24th after an entire season without an away win but the bottom four were all re-elected. Workington – finally voted out in 1977 – finished a narrow eight votes ahead of Kettering Town, who were one of 12 non-League applicants.
Cambridge United’s goalscorer in their 1-1 draw with Bradford was defender Brendon Batson who followed manager Ron Atkinson to West Brom two years later. Bobby Sibbald, scorer of one of Southport’s two goals in their defeat at Torquay, later captained Los Angeles Aztecs when Johan Cruyff was in the team (perhaps Bobby was better at shouting).