We continue our series of articles looking back on our glorious 1966-67 Fourth Division title-winning season. Today we turn the clock back to this weekend in March 1967, when County travelled to Port Vale.
HIS NAME IS DEREK KEVAN AND FROM LUTON HE DID COME!
Five games without a win had seen County's lead at the top of Division Four cut to just a solitary point from second-placed Southend United.
And those citing lack of goals as the problem for the downturn in form - 1967 not 2017! - could point to the fact that, incredibly, the Hatters currently had the same number of points as goals - 42!
County were acutely aware of the problem as well. For weeks they had been linked with a variety of strikers, and, ahead of the trip to Port Vale, they finally got their man with the arrival of former England hitman, Derek Kevan, from Luton Town in an exchange deal that saw Keith Allen, and £2,000, make the opposite journey.
[Pic: Derek Kevan running out at Vale Park to make his debut, followed by Steve Fleet - courtesy, Des Hinks]
Kevan was handed an immediate debut at Vale Park, in place of Allen, with Freddie Goodwin, for Bert Lister, the only other change from the side beaten at Brentford the previous week.
Despite horrendous weather conditions, another huge travelling army boarded the fleet of more than 30 North Western coaches leaving Mersey Square to travel to the Potteries.
And they were rewarded with a County performance that, for the first time in a month, had 'champions' written all over it.
The Hatters dominated the first half and were unlucky not to take the lead when Peter Jones smacked a 20-yarder against the bar, but despite the best efforts of Kevan, who was causing the home side all sorts of problems, the visitors couldn't find the breakthrough their enterprising play deserved.
The second period was continuing in much the same way before a violent snowstorm - in March! - forced the teams to retreat to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms for a full seven minutes.
There was to be no respite for the home team, though, when play resumed. "County's ruthless tackling began to take its toll on the Vale youngsters," reported the Staffordshire Sentinel, as the Hatters stepped up the pressure.
AMAZING VOCAL BACKING
Then, on 66 minutes, County's amazing vocal backing was rewarded. Johnny Price crossed from the left, Kevan rose high and headed the ball into the path of Len Allchurch, who scored from close range.
Kevan also claimed an assist for the second goal 11 minutes later when he nodded the ball into the path of Albert Harley, who showed great composure to round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net.
County were back on track and, more importantly, the two points had extended their lead at the top. Although satisfied with the performance, and result, manager, Jimmy Meadows, felt the squad still needed extra striking-power ahead of the final 14 games of the season, and he revealed that he had been promised more funds from the Board to bring in his target.
Meadows was true to his word. Within a week he had secured the final piece of the jigsaw with the arrival of a man who, by the time he left Edgeley Park in 1969, had become a true County legend.
We'll reveal his identity in next week's instalment of Champions' Town!
Steve Fleet; Billy Haydock, Matt Woods, Eddie Stuart, Peter Jones; Freddie Goodwin, Albert Harley, Dave Shawcross; Len Allchurch, Derek Kevan, Johnny Price.
There was some sad news at EP 50 years ago, when Albert Quixall announced his retirement.
Once the golden boy of British football, the midfield maestro had joined County from Oldham Athletic in the summer of 1966, but a persistent knee injury had restricted his appearance to just 13 games.