Saturday, March 1, 1947

Maurice Owen was the first Town player to reach 500 League appearances, but his early days at the County Ground mirrored those of the ‘new kid on the block’ Charlie Austin – signing from non-league football before Christmas and scoring at almost a goal a game in his first season.

Maurice was serving an apprenticeship in the MG car factory at Abingdon, while assisting his local Reading and District League side, Abingdon Town.

Swindon offered the 22 year old a part-time professional contract and he responded by hitting eight goals in three games for the Combination side. On January 11, 1947 he was handed his League debut and blasted a hat-trick in a 5-0 thumping of Watford.

Maurice then found the net only twice in his next five outings – but he soon rectified that when Mansfield arrived on March 1! Future Welsh international Billy Lucas set up Maurice for his opening strike on 14 minutes and he added a second eight minutes later when he chipped Stags keeper Dennis Wright. And with 10 minutes still left before the interval, Maurice made it a hat-trick, scoring with a header.

George Paterson got in on the act midway through the second period before Maurice claimed his fourth. A fierce drive from Lucas laid out a defender and as the ball spiralled up, the young centre-forward headed home from a narrow angle. After two assists, Lucas eventually reaped his reward by netting Town’s sixth.

Maurice finished his first season with 16 goals from just 17 games and followed that with 16 and 17 strikes in the next two. He was Town’s top scorer in five out of six seasons between 1950 and 1956, by which time the club had received a number of offers for his signature. But Maurice decided to stay put.

From 1958, he moved from the forward line to half-back but missed the whole of 1959/60 after breaking a leg at Doncaster on Good Friday.

Maurice passed the 500 milestone in October 1961 and made his farewell appearance – his 601st in all competitions – against Halifax at right-back on May 4, 1963, 10 days before Town clinched promotion for the first time in the club’s history.

But Maurice was to serve his only club for a further 20 years – as office worker, trainer, reserve team manager, scout and groundsman before retiring in 1984. He died in Abingdon four days after his 76th birthday in July 2000.

Swindon Town: Frank Boulton, Albert Young, Don Emery, Billy Lloyd, Jimmy Ithell, Eddie Painter, Bill Stephens, Lucas, Owen, Paterson, ‘Slacker’ Williams.

Mansfield Town: Wright, Fox, Chessell, Baird, Barke, Binnie, Calverley, Copestake, Bryant, Oscroft, Betts. Attendance: 12,257