Shock Results: Derby County 1-0 Newcastle United (September 2007)

Goalscorer: Kenny Miller 39

Teams:

Derby County: Stephen Bywater, Dean Leacock, Andy Griffin, Claude Davis, Tyrone Mears, Stephen Pearson, Matt Oakley, Eddie Lewis (Jay McEveley 87), Gary Teale, Kenny Miller (Benny Feilhaber 80), Steve Howard

Newcastle United: Steve Harper, David Rozenhal, Steven Taylor (Habib Beye 75), Claudio Cacapa, Geremi (Abdoulaye Faye 60), Charles N’Zogbia, Nicky Butt, Alan Smith, James Milner, Shola Ameobi, Michael Owen (Obafemi Martins 55)

Referee: Peter Walton, Attendance: 33,016

Derby County’s promotion to the Premier League for the 2007-2008 season was slightly unexpected and early results suggested this. The Rams’ had already lost 4-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, been beaten 6-0 by Liverpool FC and were due to face a rampant Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium days later. They were already propping up the division but were looking to get their first win of the season against inconsistent Newcastle United.

Newcastle began the evening as favourites to head back to Tyneside with all three points as Sam Allardyce began to settle down into his new management role. His side never really got going though and Derby started well. Roared on by a vocal crowd inside Pride Park, they put together some swift passing moves to start with but were let down by a casual approach inside the visitors’ penalty area. This was totally understandable considering they’d only scored three goals from their first five matches.

Newcastle produced the best moment of the opening 20 minutes. James Milner broke clear after a Derby corner broke down. He found Michael Owen, who rounded goalkeeper Stephen Bywater but made the angle too difficult to try his luck. The England forward held his nerve and crossed the ball instead to defender David Rozenhal, whose effort whistled wide of the post. Owen wouldn’t complete the first half. He went off with a tight groin muscle and as soon as he departed, the Magpies attacking threat diminished.

In truth, the game was largely forgettable. There was plenty of grit and spirit from both sides but the final ball and finish was very poor. However, Derby took their chance six minutes before half-time. Bywater’s clearance was allowed to bounce by Newcastle defenders. Kenny Miller seized his opportunity and struck a dipping effort that flew past Steve Harper and into the net.

Derby could have extended their lead after the interval. Steve Howard had two headed chances but couldn’t find the target with either effort. However, Newcastle’s threat was sporadic and the home side held on for a fantastic and worthy victory. Afterwards, manager Billy Davies said: “I’m delighted with the players and they can take a lot of confidence from this victory.”

Derby failed to win another match in the Premier League all season. Davies was sacked at the end of November and Paul Jewell had no chance whatsoever to rescue the sinking ship. The Rams’ leaked 89 goals; they scored only 20 and amassed a grand total of just 11 points. They remain the worst-ever team to have played in the Premier League.

Newcastle finished just seven points clear of the drop zone in 12th spot but did finish the campaign with fans’ favourite Kevin Keegan back in charge after Allardyce was dismissed in January 2008. This will always remain one of Newcastle’s most embarrassing results. They were the only side in the 2007-2008 Premier League season to be beaten by Derby County.

Memorable Matches: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Swansea City (May 2013)

Goalscorers: Roger Espinoza 45, Angel Rangel 49, James McCarthy 52, Itay Shechter 58, Dwight Tiendalli 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Joel Robles, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 86), Paul Scharner, Gary Caldwell, Roger Espinoza, James McArthur, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman (Franco di Santo 64), Arouna Kone

Swansea City: Michel Vorm (Gerhard Tremmel 85), Angel Rangel, Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Dwight Tiendalli, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton, Pablo Hernandez (Kemy Agustein 77), Jonathan de Guzman, Itay Shechter (Nathan Dyer 69)

Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 18,850

They might have been gearing up for an upcoming FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Manchester City but Premier League survival was at stake for Wigan Athletic when they entertained Swansea City in a midweek match towards the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Wigan made three changes to the team that had won a five-goal thriller against West Bromwich Albion a few days earlier with skipper Gary Caldwell returning to the side.

Swansea were having a great season. The League Cup was already in their trophy cabinet and Michael Laudrup’s side were looking good for a top 10 finish. They started well with Wayne Routledge pouncing on a misplaced pass by stand-in left-back Roger Espinoza. Only the reflexes of Joel Robles spared Espinoza’s blushes. The visitors’ were missing their top goalscorer Michu, who was being rested with a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon at the weekend.

As the first half wore on, Wigan grew into the game and Roberto Martinez’s side grabbed a priceless lead right on the stroke of half-time. Ben Watson’s cross into the box wasn’t dealt with cleanly by Michel Vorm. The Dutchman’s punch only fell to Espinoza, who drove the ball home to open the scoring. What a great time it was for Espinoza to score his first goal for the club.

Swansea increased the pressure after the restart and quickly levelled the match. Routledge’s wonderfully measured cross found Angel Rangel and the full-back finished like a forward, with his crisp shot going into the net off the post. Wigan needed to respond quickly to this setback and they did. Just three minutes later, they were back infront. Caldwell’s pass found James McCarthy who broke from midfield. He just beat Ashley Williams to the decisive final contact and his shot was placed nicely out of Vorm’s reach. Wigan were back ahead.

Defensive errors though had cost Martinez’s side all season and they didn’t stop here. A sloppy pass from Caldwell in the 58th minute allowed Pablo Hernandez to pick out Itay Shechter. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce to beat Robles and make it 2-2. There always looked like a winner would emerge and it would be a devastating blow for the home side. With 15 minutes remaining, Shaun Maloney and James McArthur got in each other’s way at the back post. With neither taking decisive action, Dwight Tiendalli was in the right position to punish Wigan. His goal sealed the three points for Michael Laudrup’s team.

Wigan did enjoy an unbelievable day at Wembley to stun Manchester City and win the FA Cup final but were relegated the following Tuesday at Arsenal. This defeat was the crucial blow in their fight to survive.

Great Goals: David Luiz – Fulham vs. CHELSEA (April 2013)

Half-an-hour into the west London derby at Craven Cottage and the game between Fulham and Chelsea needs something special to ignite proceedings. Step forward the often much-maligned David Luiz.

The Brazilian has plenty of power in his game. This goal was all about power. Eden Hazard plays the ball across the pitch to Luiz, who isn’t closed down by Fulham defenders. Therefore, the Brazilian decides to try his luck. He catches the strike simply perfectly. The ball flies into the top corner past a helpless Mark Schwarzer, who would become Luiz’s teammate a season later.

Chelsea won the game 3-0 and ended the season with a European trophy under the interim guidance of Rafa Benitez.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (March 1998)

Goalscorer: Marc Overmars 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, John Curtis (Ben Thornley 52), Denis Irwin, Henning Berg, Gary Neville, Phil Neville (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 77), Ronny Johnsen (David May 79), David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole

Arsenal: Alex Manninger, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Remi Garde 70), Marc Overmars, Christopher Wreh (Nicolas Anelka 66), Dennis Bergkamp

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 55,174

It wasn’t quite a title decider but this match between Manchester United and Arsenal in March 1998 was a pivotal one in deciding who would claim the advantage in the season. Two weeks earlier, United had beaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Most bookmakers’ stopped taking bets and some even started paying out on another title for the men from Old Trafford.

However, Arsenal dug in and were starting to be rewarded. Three days earlier, they had won at Wimbledon to close the gap at the top to nine points with three games in-hand. Defeat at the Theatre of Dreams would all but end their aspirations for a title tilt. Victory would put them within striking distance of their opponents, who still had European action on their minds.

Alex Ferguson’s options were restricted by injuries. Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt were among those on the treatment table whilst Alex Manninger passed a late fitness test to keep his spot in-goal for the Gunners’ with David Seaman still absent through injury.

After early pressure from the home side, it was Arsenal who looked the more energised. Marc Overmars was the most threatening player to Manchester United. His best chance of the first half was a shot into the side netting after splitting the defence. Gary Neville and youngster John Curtis were struggling to handle the pace of Overmars throughout. United’s best opening came seven minutes before the interval. Andy Cole looked in an offside position but the flag stayed down. This meant Cole was played through but he was to be thwarted by Manninger.

There was little change in terms of the momentum in the second half. Arsenal were the more likely side to score but were passing up opportunities to inflict the damage. Finally, they broke the deadlock 11 minutes from full-time. Substitute Nicolas Anelka flicked the ball onto Overmars, who once again ran beyond Gary Neville. His header gave him the advantage to run onto the ball and saw him beat Peter Schmeichel as the Dane started to close down his angles. It was the first goal Arsenal had scored at Old Trafford since 1991 and what a crucial one it was.

As they tried to rescue the game, there was worse to come for Manchester United. Schmeichel decided to make a run into the Arsenal penalty area for a corner but when the move broke down and he tried to sprint back, he pulled his hamstring, ruling him out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg with French side AS Monaco.

Arsenal had done it and became just the second side to double Manchester United in a season in Premier League history. They wouldn’t drop another point before wrapping up the title in early May. Arsene Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the Premier League and the platform for this success was this result at Old Trafford.

Iconic Moments: Temuri’s Mad Celebration (January 1998)

Nowadays, Georgian Temuri Ketsbaia is a manager who has guided Anorthosis to two Cypriot titles and also had spells in charge of AEK Athens and APOEL Nicosia. In his playing days, he is remembered for one thing and one thing only – that mad celebration after scoring for Newcastle United in a Premier League match in January 1998.

Ketsbaia arrived at Newcastle United in the summer of 1997. Already an established international footballer for his country, he ran down his contract with AEK to earn his move to Tyneside. The early signs were good. He scored the goal against Croatia Zagreb in the qualifiers to earn Newcastle their maiden adventure into the UEFA Champions League group stages for the 1997-1998 campaign.

Considered as a cult hero by many of the club’s supporters, Ketsbaia’s early career didn’t quite take off. So he decided rather than requesting a transfer or arguing with the manager Kenny Dalglish, he would become memorable for something completely unique. Newcastle were playing Bolton Wanderers at St James’ Park and the score was level at 1-1.

In the last minute, the ball bobbled around in the Bolton penalty area after a knockdown from the returning Alan Shearer. The defenders couldn’t clear the danger and Ketsbaia ran onto the rebound and smashed the ball home to win the match for Newcastle. Afterwards, he ripped his shirt off and started kicking the living daylights out of an advertising hoarding! Teammate Alessandro Pistone tried to restrain him but there was no stopping Ketsbaia. He would not stop in getting his point across. The main reason for this was his sheer frustration at not being selected regularly in the team.

Ketsbaia spent three seasons at the club and when he was manager of Georgia, revealed his fondness for British football. He added: “I had a fantastic time. My time in British football was my best time as a football player. The atmosphere, the pitches, everything is at a high level – that’s the reason that everybody wants to go and play in England. I have many good things to remember, not only kicking the boards!”

Shock Results: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City (August 1993)

Goalscorers: Mick Quinn 34 PEN, 62, 65

Teams:

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Andy Linighan, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Davis, John Jensen, Paul Merson (Eddie McGoldrick 67), Anders Limpar (Martin Keown 73), Ian Wright, Kevin Campbell

Coventry City: Jonathan Gould, Phil Babb, Peter Atherton, Tony Sheridan, Stewart Robson (Steve Morgan 10), David Rennie, Sean Flynn, Roy Wegerle, John Williams, Mick Quinn, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 33,016

Optimism was high at Arsenal ahead of the start of the 1993-1994 season. The Gunners’ might have finished a distant 10th in the first Premier League campaign but were the reigning holders of both the FA Cup and League Cup. Manager George Graham had won the league championship twice before so expectations of a title tilt were well-considered.

Although beaten via a penalty shootout in the curtain-raising Charity Shield against Manchester United, Arsenal had performed very well. They were expected to brush aside a Coventry City side that had been beaten in both head-to-head encounters the previous season without scoring. Coventry were among the favourites with the bookies’ to be relegated but they also loved to prove the punters wrong and they did so spectacularly on the opening day at Highbury.

Arsenal started brightly but if there was one criticism of Graham’s management, it was he had a perfect Plan A, but no back-up solution if his side got into trouble. Within 10 minutes, they had slipped back into their comfort zone. David Seaman was the playmaker with long punts up the park towards Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell. However, David Rennie and Phil Babb had a comfortable afternoon, dealing with anything the Gunners’ frontline had to offer.

In Mick Quinn, Coventry had an unpredictable presence upfront but someone who knew where the back of the net was. He put the Sky Blues’ infront on 34 minutes from the penalty spot and from that moment on, Bobby Gould’s side were always in control. Only the injected pace of Anders Limpar gave them the odd concern. When he was replaced by defender Martin Keown in the 73rd minute, you knew that Graham simply had no clue with what to do.

Arsenal had been linked seriously with the England international Andy Sinton who was destined to leave Queens Park Rangers. On this evidence, Sinton made the right call to join Sheffield Wednesday instead because this brand of football would have simply bypassed him. Quinn, nicknamed “Sumo,” doubled his tally on 62 minutes, firing a shot into the top corner after the tricky Roy Wegerle had bamboozled Tony Adams with his skill and flair. Three minutes later, almost a carbon-copy move occurred with Wegerle the provider and Quinn producing the perfect finish. The ball went through Seaman’s defences. Graham said afterwards: “Football is about more than ability. It is about application and it’s about winners. Coventry seemed to have more desire than us.”

Arsenal bounced back from this opening day setback to finish fourth and beat Italian giants Parma to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg. Gould resigned from his Coventry position two months later but ex-Liverpool FC defender Phil Neal comfortably steered them to a top-half finish. This was a day where underestimating the opposition was the fable. Arsenal did and paid a heavy price.

Premier League Files: Nicky Butt

Premier League Career: Manchester United (1992-2004), Newcastle United (2004-2005), (2006-2009), Birmingham City (2005-2006)

Part of the young talent that were dubbed “Fergie’s Fledglings,” Nicky Butt enjoyed a lengthy and fruitful Premier League career, winning six Premier League titles at Manchester United. He is back at the club where he received his big break helping today’s youngsters in the academy as well as being one of the five ‘Class of 92’ owners at Salford City FC.

The midfielder turned professional in 1993 but he had already made his Premier League debut by then, appearing as a late substitute in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Oldham Athletic in November 1992. It wasn’t until the 1994-1995 season though that the Old Trafford faithful got to see Butt play on a regular basis.

Roy Keane and Paul Ince were the main central midfielders at the time but with Paul Parker injured and Gary Neville still an emerging talent, Keane was often asked to deputise as a right-back. That meant Butt got more opportunities than expected and when Ince departed in the 1995 pre-season for Serie A with Inter Milan, Ferguson elected to draft Butt into the team on a regular basis as Ince’s replacement.

Goals were not a crucial part of Nicky’s game. Instead, his job was to be the ball-winner in midfield and allow the creative talents to take control going forwards. Nevertheless, he could still chip in with the odd strike. This included a goal in the opening minute of a fixture with Liverpool FC in October 1995 which was Eric Cantona’s comeback match after his nine-month ban for his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter. In 1997-1998, Butt made the PFA Team of the Year and many believed this was his best season in the colours of Manchester United as he developed leadership qualities after a knee injury robbed the club of Keane’s presence for much of that season.

Although he started the 1999 UEFA Champions League final victory in Barcelona as Keane was suspended, Roy’s return to fitness, coupled with Paul Scholes dropping back into a central role meant Butt’s first-team opportunities got more limited into the millennium. As competition increased in the midfield, he realised it was time to leave the club that developed him. In January 2004, Nicky Butt handed in a transfer request. Sir Alex Ferguson admitted: “Nicky Butt has asked to leave; it is a very sad situation. Nicky has given Manchester United great service but he wants to play first-team football.”

After turning down a move to Birmingham City, Butt was signed by Sir Bobby Robson for Newcastle United in July 2004. Signing a four-year deal, he was seen as a replacement for Gary Speed who had departed for Bolton Wanderers. Robson was sacked though four games into the new season and Graeme Souness was not convinced by Butt’s performances. He signed Emre, Amdy Faye and Scott Parker and sent Butt packing on-loan to ironically, Birmingham City in August 2005.

He scored on his Blues’ home debut in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City and played 24 times but after finding out that Steve Bruce had picked his son Alex ahead of him for an away trip to West Ham United, he walked out of the squad and was fined for his lack of discipline. He apologised and returned to the squad but Birmingham were relegated at the end of the season and he returned to Newcastle.

Butt became an integral part of the Newcastle line-up on his return and would captain the side on many occasions when Parker and Michael Owen were injured. He won over the fans’, who had been sceptical about his arrival in the first place and stayed with the club even after their relegation from the top-flight in 2009. He helped get them back into the Premier League before retiring from football.

He might not have attracted major headlines but Nicky Butt had a medal-winning career.

Iconic Moments: A post is crowned Man of the Match! (December 2016)

West Ham United were struggling to settle into their new home of the London Stadium. Although they did win their first match at the ground against AFC Bournemouth, the Hammers’ had only followed that up with nervy wins over Sunderland and Burnley. In December 2016, struggling Hull City were the latest visitors’ to the stadium in Stratford.

Hull outplayed their opponents throughout and only the goal frame denied them taking the lead on three separate occasions. Mark Noble headed an effort against his own crossbar, whilst Andrew Robertson and Dieumerci Mbokani saw efforts also hit the post. Hull had 16 shots on-goal but somehow failed to score. They ultimately lost the game too. A controversial penalty awarded for a challenge on Michail Antonio was converted by the reliable Noble. West Ham won 1-0 but the fans were unimpressed with the performance.

On Twitter, the club asked fans to vote for their Man of the Match. The winner was ‘The Post,’ taking the award with 57 per cent of the vote. They had made their feelings clear.

West Ham’s home form never really improved, although they did enjoy a 1-0 victory over title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur in May 2017. They will be hoping for better in 2017-2018 and no more victories for the ‘The Post’ when it comes to their Man of the Match award.

Premier League Files: Paul Wilkinson

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1992-1993, 1995-1996)

Paul Wilkinson played professional football for 18 years and even won four international Under-21 caps for England in the mid-1980s. He was a stereotypical target man who was not shy of tussling with defenders and coming out on top in some bruising battles over the years. Wilkinson also had a knack of finding that extra yard of space in the penalty area which probably explains why he scored more than 150 goals during his career in over 650 appearances.

Wilkinson was part of the last Everton squad that were champions of England back in the 1986-1987 campaign, scoring 12 times in their winning team that pushed Merseyside rivals Liverpool FC into second spot. He joined Middlesbrough in 1991 from Watford and was Lennie Lawrence’s last marquee signing at the club. He scored 24 goals in his debut season, including a final minute strike away at Molineux against Wolverhampton Wanderers which took Middlesbrough into the inaugural Premier League season as Division Two runners-up to Ipswich Town.

Wilkinson quickly found his feet in the newly-formed Premier League. On the opening weekend, he scored Middlesbrough’s first goal at this level; a 63rd minute effort in the 2-1 defeat at Highfield Road to Coventry City. A week later, he scored twice in the shock 4-1 defeat of reigning English champions Leeds United and reached double figures despite Boro’s relegation to Division One. By the time Middlesbrough won promotion again in 1995, Wilkinson had become a rarely used figure and he was eventually let go on a free transfer by Bryan Robson to make way for international talent to arrive on Teeside.

Barnsley signed him and he was recruited to play alongside his former colleague at Middlesbrough in John Hendrie. In April 1997, he scored one of the goals in the Tykes’ 2-0 win at home to Bradford City which secured their automatic promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history. However, he wouldn’t be going up with them – moving onto Millwall before winding down at Northampton Town in 2000.

Wilkinson moved straight into coaching. He has managed the reserve teams at Grimsby Town and Cardiff City and was Rob Page’s assistant manager during his brief tenure at Northampton. He is back at Blundell Park as Grimsby assistant currently to the experienced Russell Slade and looks set to become a manager in the future.

Great Goals: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur (November 2002)

Voted as Goal of the Season by viewers of ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ during the 2002-2003 season, this was Thierry Henry at his absolute best as Tottenham couldn’t live with him in the North London Derby.

Just over 15 minutes had been played when Henry controlled the ball inside his own half and turned past Matthew Etherington. The Frenchman started running away from Etherington and burst past the centre circle. He had options in Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord but Henry only had one thing on his mind and that was to score.

Drifting away from Stephen Carr and Ledley King, Henry found the space to shoot and beat Kasey Keller to complete one of the greatest solo goals we’ve seen in this classic rivalry. He promptly completed his long-distance run with a long-distance celebration back to his own half to celebrate with the Gunners’ supporters.

Arsenal won 3-0 in a period when they were the class of north London.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-2 Sunderland (October 2005)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 34, 37, Liam Lawrence 35, Stephen Elliott 41, Emre 63

Teams:

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr, Emre (Amdy Faye 81), Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Nolberto Solano (Lee Clark 80), Shola Ameobi (Michael Chopra 79), Alan Shearer

Sunderland: Kelvin Davis, Justin Hoyte, Steven Caldwell, Gary Breen (Alan Stubbs 42), Nyron Nosworthy, John Welsh (Julio Arca 45), Dean Whitehead, Liam Miller, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott, Andy Gray (Anthony Le Tallec 79)

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 52,302

In October 2005, both Newcastle United and Sunderland were struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Sunderland had just one victory to their name all season, which had come in their last away match ironically at fellow north east rivals Middlesbrough. Newcastle didn’t even score a goal in their first four matches of the campaign and only Manchester City had left Tyneside pointless so far. This was a massive match for both where more than just local pride was at stake.

Graeme Souness was the Newcastle manager at the time and he was missing his summer arrival Michael Owen who was injured. Shola Ameobi was therefore recalled to the starting XI to partner Alan Shearer. He was a menace all afternoon and showed Geordie supporters that there was more to the team than just Shearer & Owen. Newcastle were the better side before taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ameobi connected with Emre’s inch-perfect corner and his header beat Kelvin Davis. It would trigger an incredible spell of four goals in just seven minutes.

Considering how low on confidence Sunderland must have been with just five points registered from nine matches, they didn’t show it. Liam Lawrence equalised almost straightaway with a precise drive that left Shay Given helpless. Sunderland were showing character. Unfortunately, their defending was not upto to scratch. Ameobi lost his marker again to nod in Charles N’Zogbia’s hooked cross just three minutes later. Ameobi always seemed to save his best football for derby days against the Black Cats.

Moments later, parity was restored once again. Stephen Elliott curled an absolute beauty into the net from 25-yards out. It silenced the St James’ Park faithful. Despite having bossed possession and having the better of the chances, Newcastle were not leading at half-time. They weren’t ahead at the interval but they would be by the full-time whistle. The excellent and energetic Emre crashed in a free-kick from distance that bounced off Davis’ left-hand post and into the net. The excitable Turkish midfielder then ran to the touchline to leap into Souness’ arms. This was a moment he would never forget.

Sunderland kept pressing as they looked to equalise for a third time in this see-saw battle. Elliott managed to lob Given when played in by Anthony Le Tallec but this time, the crossbar intervened. The Irish goalkeeper then managed to parry another effort from Elliott around the post.

Afterwards, Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: “I think we could have done better than to concede from corner kicks but my players are giving me, the club and the supporters’ value for money.”

Sunderland would win only two more matches all season and went down with just 15 points. Newcastle sacked Souness in February 2006 but rallied to finish seventh in Shearer’s final season as a professional footballer.

Iconic Moments: A Fratton thriller (September 2007)

On the face of it, Portsmouth vs. Reading in September 2007 didn’t sound like a very exciting game to the neutral. However, these sides put on a real thriller at Fratton Park. They still hold the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League match of 11.

There were nine different scorers in the match. The exception was Benjani. Portsmouth’s forward, who couldn’t find the back of the net in his early period with the club, hit the jackpot. The Zimbabwean scored a hat-trick although the goalkeeping from Marcus Hahnemann was not the best on the day.

For the record, the other scorers were Stephen Hunt, Dave Kitson, Hermann Hreidarsson, Niko Kranjcar, Shane Long, Sulley Muntari from the penalty spot and two own goals by Ivar Ingimarsson and Sol Campbell. Portsmouth won the game 7-4 and David James saved a penalty from Nicky Shorey.

Reading boss Steve Coppell tried to put a positive spin on events afterwards, commenting: “It’s difficult to analyse a match like that and if you try you will be there a very long time…we scored four goals away from home and had a chance for another with a penalty. We played a full part in the game – I don’t think many teams will come here this season and score four.” 

Portsmouth would record their best Premier League finish of eighth and won the FA Cup at the end of the season. Reading were relegated on the final day of the campaign.

Whilst the defending by both teams was horrendous, this still goes down as an unforgettable contest in the Premier League archives.

25 years of the most envied league in the world!