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The Conference Years: Telford United

15 June 2014

Remembering where we once were.

Telford are back…again!

After a decade of uncertainty and ultimate reformation, the ashes of the club which were founder members of the Football Conference, have returned at the first attempt.

During their twenty five year stint in the fifth tier, Telford United encountered Doncaster Rovers on ten occasions between 1998 and 2003 before the former folded just a year later.

Rovers only recorded two ‘doubles’ in their debut season in the Conference – against MORECAMBE and Telford. Ian Snodin’s side defeated the Shropshire club 2-1 (Shaun Goodwin, Glenn Kirkwood) and 2-0 (Duane Beckett, Dave Penney) and would continue to do likewise the following season.

The hosts recorded a 2-0 win at Belle Vue in April 2000, but only after an absolute barnstormer of a game at Bucks Head in October where both sides finished with nine men, but Rovers took the win – in front of a three figure crowd – through Matty Caudwell and Dino Maamria.

The following season yielded a reverse in fortunes and a 1-0 defeat against United was one of Ian Snodin’s final few games before the final day of the season saw Telford come to Belle Vue and take all three points thanks to Jake Edwards’ double, which saw the temporary duo of Mark Atkins and Dave Penney guide Rovers to ninth in the final standings – three places below the visitors.

A draw at Bucks Head on 11th September 2001 paled dramatically in to insignificance as world events took control, and just over 2000 would turn up to see Rovers win 1-0 thanks to Justin Jackson, while future Rovers stalwart Mark Albrighton would see red for the visitors.

Rovers would lose 3-1 at home in January ’03 – in the last ever meeting between the sides – but not before a memorable precursor; a 4-4 draw.

Dave Penney’s side were 4-0 up and cruising just after the half hour mark as Dave Morley, Dean Barrick and Franny Tierney (two) all bagged. The hosts responded through Paul Moore and Mark Foran, but that seemed to be about as good as their comeback would get when Jake King – son of the manager – saw red. A collapse from the visitors inside the final few minutes though saw Peter Smith and David Brown score to level proceedings and thoroughly embarrass Rovers.

Telford United, as they were known, folded in 2004 and after a new club were formed in their absence as AFC Telford United, they were demoted three levels on the football pyramid.

That didn’t deter the Bucks though, who play at their nicely redeveloped ‘New Bucks Head’, as they won promotion from the Northern Premier League Division One at the first attempt, spearheaded by captain – and former Rover – Sean Parrish.

They weren’t going to hang around long in the seventh tier either and quickly added another play-off win in 2006 to scale the ladder.

Promotion from the Conference North came at the third time of asking – after two unsuccessful play-off campaigns in three years – in 2011.

The Bucks are likely to learn from their experience in the Conference, which only lasted two seasons before relegation as the bottom placed club followed in 2013.

The Conference North title followed just last season however, as United secured the Championship, just three points clear of North Ferriby and four ahead of play-off winners ALTRINCHAM.

*9th March 2002 – Rovers’ Paul Barnes looks to put the hosts on the front foot at Belle Vue during a 1-0 win over Telford United*

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