Known during production as Between Two Goals, this was a kind of 1950s Escape To Victory which tells the story of Canadian ex-serviceman (and talented footballer) Bob Regan (Kent Walton) who returns to Britain after WWII to reconnect with Pat Lane (Susan Shaw) – the girl he fell in love with during the war – only to find himself signing up to the local football team, Oldchester United FC.
A bequest from recently deceased supporter Wallace Hammond promises Oldchester £25,000 if they can win promotion to the Third Division. If the team fails, the money will go to the nephew of the deceased benefactor, Nick Hammond (Alan Wheatley).
Knowing of Bob’s fondness for Pat (and that Pat cares nothing for Bob), Hammond persuades Pat to join him in a scheme to scupper Oldchester’s chances by tempting Bob away from Oldchester in exchange for a share of the inheritance.
The mercenary Pat works her charms on Bob and lures him to London to be with her. While he is there he is talent-spotted by scouts and signed up by Arsenal FC.
Bob eventually becomes aware of Pat’s machinations, gains his release from Arsenal and returns to Oldchester, where reformed jailbird Tony Warren (Houston) becomes his unofficial bodyguard.
The second half of the film consists of the crucial deciding match between Oldchester and the mighty Bearhampton, and the shenanigans intended to keep Bob from playing (Nick kidnaps him at half-time).
The game is narrated by regular FA Cup commentator Raymond Glendinning and the match is decent, but dull to anyone who is not a football fan.
Not only did Small Town Story feature Arsenal, Millwall and Hayes football players in the cast (including Gunners star Denis Compton, who was also an international cricketer), but lead actor Kent Walton went on to become the voice of British wrestling on ITV.
The film found little favour with critics and disappeared quickly from cinemas in 1953. Its fate was unknown for several decades with the British Film Institute (BFI) including it on its “75 Most Wanted” list of missing British feature films. It has now been found, restored and released on DVD.