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1967-68 Division Three League – an eventful season

Żebbuġ Rangers, winners of Third Division Section B in 1967-68, were promoted to the Second Division.

Without any doubt, 1967-68 was one of the best seasons in the chequered history of the Third Division League.

The competition that season was held in two grounds, the Schreiber Sports Ground and Upper Manoel Island.

Both grounds were not noted for the evenness of their playing surfaces or for that matter, the comfort of the spectators yet, that season, the attendances in these primitive grounds rivalled and at times even surpassed those at the Stadium.

The battle for Third Division honours raged on and on, up to the last kick of the competition with Żurrieq FC, Żebbuġ Rangers and Żejtun Corinthians leading the chase for the championship.

The relegation issue was also kept wide open up to the end with Gudja United, St Paul’s and Mqabba battling it up between them in a do or die battle for survival.

In Section A, Żurrieq carried off section honours but their success was not achieved until their final game against Marsaxlokk.

With both teams equal on points this game was more or less a decider.

A record crowd turned up to witness this game, which, after a terrific struggle, was won by Żurrieq by two goals to nil.

In Section B, the destination of the honours was also decided in the final game between Żebbuġ Rangers and Vittoriosa Stars.

The two main protagonists in this section, raced neck and neck until the penultimate game of the season when the Stars unexpectedly lost against bottom-placed Gudja.

This result favoured the Rangers who now needed only a draw from their last game against Vittoriosa to win section honours.

Rangers however, made sure of the title by beating their rivals 2-0 in the all-important encounter.

In Section C, it was Żejtun Corinthians who won a place in the promotion play-offs.

For the Corinthians, this was the second year in succession that they were taking part in the play-offs.

The first game between Żebbuġ Rangers and Żurrieq ended in a 1-1 draw but in their next game against Żejtun the Rangers came a cropper when they lost 0-1 to a goal from Jimmy Briffa.

Żejtun almost made sure of promotion when in their next match they beat Żurrieq 2-0 with goals from Spiteri and Balzan.

Żurrieq needed to win their next game against Żebbuġ to keep their hopes of promotion alive.

The Rangers, however, won 1-0 to come within a point of the leaders. So now Rangers needed only one point from their next game with Żejtun to make sure of promotion.

Large crowd

A large crowd filled the terraces of the Schreiber Sports Ground for this important encounter.

Żejtun were the favourites but Żebbuġ rose to the occasion to beat their rivals 2-1 to jump to top of the table, but with the Corinthians having a game in hand.

The last game of the play-offs was a festive day for the long-suffering Corinthians’ supporters who came out in great numbers to cheer their heroes against their age-long rivals from Żurrieq.

Żejtun did not disappoint their supporters. They put up a grand display worthy of champions.

They ran out worth winners 3-0 amidst the revelry of their supporters.

At the other end of the table, the relegation play-offs turned out to be a two-horse affair between St Paul’s and Mqabba.

Gudja proved to be too good for the other contenders, winning seven points out of a possible eight. St Paul’s finally made sure of remaining in the Third Division when they beat Mqabba 1-0 in the first round and later 3-0 in the second encounter.

These games brought to an end one of the most enjoyable seasons in the history of the Third Division League and the Schreiber Sports Ground.

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