Seven Out Of Seven
This morning 200% reaches the grand old age of seven years old, and to mark this not particularly noteworthy milestone I thought I’d dig out seven matches from the past in which one or the other of the two competing teams contrived to score seven goals. As an aside, now seems like as a good a time as any to thank all of the readers of this site, whose interest makes it, after all of this time, an endeavour worth continuing with.
Leeds United 7-0 Southampton – 4th March 1972: The Leeds United team of the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s reached many highs, even if its trophy cabinet over that period – two league championships, one FA Cup, one League Cup and two Inter Cities Fairs Cups – ended up a little more bare than the quality of the team deserved. At the start of March 1972, Leeds went into their home league match against struggling Southampton on the back of a run of just one defeat in their previous sixteen matches and with confidence high that the team would win the First Division championship for the first time since 1969.
In front of the cameras of Match Of The Day – and full highlights of the match can be seen here – Don Revie’s team put in perhaps its definitve performance of this era, with Peter Lorimer scoring a hat-trick and Allan Clarke scoring twice as Leeds won by seven goals to nil, famously keeping possession in the last few minutes with the arrogance of a matador teasing an exhausted bull. Come the end of the season, however, there was disappointment for Revie and his team in the league. Just one point separated the top four teams in the division, with Derby County lifting the title by a point after Leeds lost their final league match of the season – which came just two days after they won the FA Cup by beating Arsenal at Wembley – away to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Southampton, meanwhile, ended the season two places and six points above the relegation places at the foot of the table.
Hungary 7-1 England – 23rd May 1954: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. As the 1950s wore on, the implied infallibility of the England national team was falling around its ears. Defeat to the United States of America at the 1950s World Cup finals in Brazil was easy to shrug off. After all, this match wasn’t seen by anybody that wasn’t there and that wasn’t the result that eliminated the team from the tournament. Three years later, however, a 6-3 home defeat at Wembley Stadium by the then-current Olympic champions from Hungary should have proved to be the warning that the Football Association needed that the England team needed to adapt if it was going to stay anywhere near the top of the game. Top domestic coaches spoke out on the subject of the need to change. The FA ignored them, presuming the result to have been a one-off, and nothing changed.
So it was that, in front of a crowd of 92,000 at the Nepstadion in Budapest, that any lingering ideas that England was amongst the great international football nations died. There was no hint of anything to suggest that this was to be anything but an absolute hiding. Hungary were three-nil up at half-time and scored their seventh with nineteen minutes of the match still to play, taking their foot off the pedal a little in the closing stages of the match, whilst England’s only goal came mid-way through the second half from Ivor Broadis, with Hungary already six-nil up. The match marked a particularly miserable debut for memorably-named Fulham centre-forward Bedford Jezzard – who would at least make one further appearance for his country a year later, and was a dismal warm-up for the upcoming World Cup in Switzerland, at which Hungary ended as runners-up and England were beaten in the quarter-finals. Highlights of England’s Budapest humbling can be seen here.
Manchester United 2-7 Sheffield Wednesday – 1st February 1961: Eighteen year old goalkeeper Ronnie Briggs, it has to be said, didn’t have the most auspicious of starts to his Manchester United career. His debut for the club came at Leicester City’s Filbert Street on the twenty-first of January 1961 with a six-nil defeat in a First Division match, and ten days later he was back in goal as Matt Busby’s team crashed out of the FA Cup in a manner that it had seldom done before and certainly hasn’t done since. United had started their FA Cup campaign comfortably enough, with a three-nil win against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford, and whilst the Fourth Round draw away to Sheffield Wednesday wasn’t a good one – Wednesday finished the 1961 league season as runners-up behind the all-conquering double winning Tottenham Hotspur side of the era – going to Hillsborough and earning a replay certainly wasn’t a bad result.
Although not at the peak of their powers, Busby’s team for the replay did contain such names as Shay Brennan, Nobby Stiles, Bill Foulkes and Bobby Charlton and a crowd of over 65,000 people saw Keith Ellis score a hat-trick, and John Fantham and Alan Finney score twice each to give Wednesday a place in the next round of the competition. They were eventually beaten in the quarter-finals of the competition by Burnley, and Manchester United finished their league season in seventh place in the First Division table. Poor Ronnie Briggs, meanwhile, would make a total of eleven appearances in the Manchester United goal before being transferred to Swansea Town. He did, however, also make two appearances in goal for Northern Ireland as well.
Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt – 18th May 1960: The beginning of the European Cup in the middle of the 1950s was, of course, the beginning of an era of domination by one club that the tournament hasn’t seen again since. Real Madrid’s team of that era was a solid base of Spanish players augmented with the grace of Alfredo Di Stefano and the wit of Ferenc Puskas, and they were too hot to handle for the entire rest of Europe. By the start of the 1960s, their reign was starting to come to an end but, having won the previous four competitions they did save the best until last against the West German champions Eintracht Frankfurt on a record-breaking day in May 1960.
This match did feature the biggest aggregate win in the final of the competition, and it was played in front of a huge crowd of 127,621 at Hampden Park in Glasgow, where England had played out a drab 1-1 draw just a few weeks earlier, with the managers blaming a bobbly pitch for the lack of invention on display. This was bunkum, of course, as was demonstrated by Real Madrid as they lifted their fifth consecutive European Cup after having fallen behind to an early Richard Kreß goal. Two goals in four minutes from Di Stefano gave them the lead, before a third from Puskas in first half stoppage-time almost put the result beyond doubt before half-time. Di Stefano went on to complete his hat-trick in the second half, but he was eclipsed by Puskas, who ended up scoring four times for Real. Their unbeaten run in the competition came to an end in the First Round of the next year’s competition when they were beaten over legs by… Barcelona. Highlights of the game are available here.
Portsmouth 7-4 Reading – 29th September 2007: As Portsmouth supporters prepare for the start of life in League Two next season, it seems scarcely believable that less than six years ago they were running up seven goals in a Premier League match. Benjani scored three goals that day in a match which entered into the record books as the highest aggregate score of any Premier League match since its inception in 1992, and the match also jointly holds the record for the highest number of different scorers in one Premier League match, with eight other players apart from Benjani – Hermann Hreidarsson, Nico Kranjcar, Ivar Ingimarsson and Sulley Muntari for Portsmouth, and Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson, Shane Campbell and a Sol Campbell own goal for Reading – also finding their way onto the score-sheet. At his post match press conference, the Reading manager Steve Coppell, ever a little ray of sunshine, commented that, “Both sets of strikers looked irresistible at times going forward but both sets of defenders will be unhappy at that scoreline. Defensively, we have got to improve, but I’d like to be on the right end of a scoreline like that and it must have been great for the impartial observer.” Thanks, Steve. Highlights are available here.
Austria 7-5 Switzerland – 26th June 1954: Perhaps there was something in the water in Europe in 1954. Starting three weeks after England’s mauling in Budapest, the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland – they were held there to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of FIFA – averaged almost five and a half goals per match, including twelve in a quarter-final match which saw the host team eliminated from the competition. Switzerland had already arguably shown their weakness in losing in the group stages to England, but they won their other match against Italy to get through to the last eight, whilst Austria had beaten Scotland and Czechoslovakia to earn their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
In front of a crowd of 35,000 people in Lausanne, a first half was played out the likes of which will probably never be seen again in the World Cup finals, with Robert Korder and Theodor Wagner scoring twice for Austria and Josef Hugi and Robert Ballaman scoring twice for Switzerland. By the time the first forty-five minutes had been played out, Austria led by five goals to four. Wagner scored early in the second half to extend Austria’s lead and complete his hat-trick, before Hugi matched him and pulled a further goal back for Switzerland, and all of this with less than an hour of the match played. With fourteen minutes to play, Erich Probst finally put the result beyond the hosts’ reach. Austria were beaten by six goals to one in the semi-final by the eventual winners, West Germany. Highlights of this match can be seen here.
Charlton Athletic 7-6 Huddersfield Town – 21st December 1957: There is something mildly tragic about the fact that such a match was only seen by a crowd of 12,535 people and in an age prior to the widespread televising of football matches on the television, but those that did turn out at The Valley four days before Christmas in 1957 for a Second Division match between Charlton Athletic and Huddersfield Town. The two teams had met on the opening day of the season, when a hint of what might be to come was seen when Huddersfield came back from three goals down to earn a three-all draw. After ten minutes, Charlton lost their captain Derek Ufton to injury, and goals from Les Massie and Alex Bain gave Huddersfield a two-nil half-time lead, which they extended to a five -one lead with just over an hour of the match played.
All of this, however, was largely reckoning without Charlton’s Johnny Summers. Summers had scored Charlton’s first goal, two minutes into the second half, but with Huddersfield apparently cruising to a comfortable win, Summers scored four goals in seventeen minutes which, along with another from John Ryan, gave Charlton a six-five lead with nine minutes to play. Stan Howard levelled with four minutes to play before a second goal from Ryan with a minute left to play gave Charlton perhaps the most dramatic win in the entire history of the Football League. The two clubs met again in the FA Cup two weeks later at Leeds Road and drew two-all before Charlton won the replay by a single goal. Charlton finished the season in third place in the table, one point and one position from promotion, whilst Huddersfield, who were at the time managed by one Bill Shankly, finished the season in ninth place in the table. Sadly, Johnny Summers, Charlton’s five goal hero that day, died from cancer in 1962 at the age of just thirty-four years old. Huddersfield Town, meanwhile, remain the only professional English club to score six goals in a Football League match and still end up as the losing side.
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