Tag Archives: Hat-Trick

Premier League Rewind: 20th-22nd January 2018

Results: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-4 Chelsea, Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace, Burnley 0-1 Manchester United, Everton 1-1 West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City 2-0 Watford, Stoke City 2-0 Huddersfield Town, West Ham United 1-1 AFC Bournemouth, Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United, Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City 1-0 Liverpool FC

With Christmas well and truly over and the January transfer window in full swing, a question had been asked of runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City. A week earlier, the Citizens lost 4-3 to Liverpool FC, losing their first league match of the campaign. Could Pep Guardiola’s side return to winning ways?

They made no mistake against Newcastle United, beating the Magpies 3-1. Sergio Aguero was in peak form against Newcastle again, scoring his seventh hat-trick in the competition and his second against the Toon Army after his five-goal haul against them in October 2015. It was a perfect way to mark his 200th appearance in the competition.

Manchester City remained 12 points clear at the top of the table after Manchester United extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight matches. Anthony Martial’s strike after 54 minutes saw Jose Mourinho’s men record a narrow 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor. By contrast, Burnley’s bright start to the season had been checked. They were still eighth in the table but winless now in seven games and had lost their last three matches. The Red Devils were yet to concede a goal in 2018.

Liverpool FC should have been on a real high after the victory over Manchester City. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side inexplicably lost their next match, going down 1-0 at The Liberty Stadium to struggling Swansea City. Virgil van Dijk made his league debut for the Reds after his £75 million move from Southampton making him the most expensive defender in world football. However, he was partially responsible for the only goal of the game, scored by Swansea centre-back, Alfie Mawson. Swansea remained bottom but were now just three points adrift of safety.

Following a humiliating exit at the hands of Coventry City in the FA Cup earlier in the month, Stoke City had parted company with Mark Hughes after nearly five years in-charge. After missing out on their prime target, the Derby boss Gary Rowett, it was Paul Lambert who stepped in to fill the breach. He made the perfect start as the Potters beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 to lift themselves outside the drop zone. They were replaced in the bottom three by Southampton, who hadn’t won a game now in nearly two months. That was despite the Saints earning a decent point against Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Kane scored the equaliser for Tottenham. It was his 99th Premier League goal.

The match at Goodison Park between Everton and West Bromwich Albion was completely overshadowed by a horrific injury to Everton midfielder, James McCarthy. An unfortunate collision with West Brom forward Salomon Rondon saw him suffer a double leg fracture and leaving the field on a stretcher. Rondon was seen in tears after the incident which meant the final 1-1 scoreline was made completely irrelevant by these events.

Sam Allardyce was the man in-charge of Everton but their prime target to succeed Ronald Koeman had been Marco Silva. The Watford boss had been the subject of an approach by Everton in mid-November. The Hornets turned the approach down but their form completely nosedived after this. A 2-0 defeat away at Leicester City spelt the end for Silva. He was sacked by Watford less than 24 hours after the loss at The King Power Stadium.

What else happened in January 2018?

  • Cyrille Regis dies after suffering a heart attack, aged 59. He won five England caps and represented the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City and Aston Villa during a 19-year professional career.
  • The UK’s second-largest construction company, Carillion goes into liquidation with debts of £1.5 million. Over 19,000 jobs in the UK disappear with the collapse.
  • A huge fire at the Liverpool Echo Arena car park destroys 1,400 cars.
  • The United States government enters a federal government shutdown as a result of a dispute over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • A total lunar eclipse takes place. It is the first blue moon eclipse since 1983.
  • After touring for nearly 50 years, Sir Elton John announces his retirement.
  • Professional dancer Brendan Cole announces he is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after being with the series since its inception in 2004.
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Iconic Moments: Record-breaking Harry (December 2017)

2017-2018 was a record-breaking season for Harry Kane. Although he would ultimately miss out on a third consecutive Golden Boot to Liverpool FC’s Mohamed Salah, Kane reached the landmark of 30 league goals in a season for the first time.

He also became Tottenham Hotspur’s leading all-time Premier League goalscorer, surpassing Teddy Sheringham’s total in January 2018 and a month later, his stoppage-time penalty to earn a point at Anfield saw Kane enter the 100 Club for Premier League goals. He looks like the most serious challenger to Alan Shearer’s all-time leading total of 260.

His biggest achievement though was breaking one of Shearer’s long-standing records. In Tottenham’s final league match of 2017, Kane scored a hat-trick in Spurs 5-2 Boxing Day thumping of struggling Southampton. His header to open the scoring in the 22nd minute was a piece of Premier League history. It was Kane’s 37th league goal of the calendar year, surpassing Shearer’s tally of 36 which he achieved in 1995 when he was at Blackburn Rovers.

Kane also took his tally for the year to 56 for Tottenham and England, achieving a higher goal total than Lionel Messi. There was no silverware in 2017 but it was an amazing year for Kane who ended the season as Three Lions captain, guiding England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

Premier League Rewind: 15th-17th September 2017

Results: AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton, Huddersfield Town 1-1 Leicester City, Liverpool FC 1-1 Burnley, Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City, Watford 0-6 Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City, Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Manchester United 4-0 Everton

The weekend of the 15th-17th September 2017 was the fifth round of fixtures in the 2017-2018 season and already, a pattern was starting to develop at the top of the table. The two Manchester clubs were dismissing their opponents with consummate ease. There was no change on this weekend.

Having thrashed 10-man Liverpool FC 5-0 on the previous Saturday, Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Citizens went one better at Vicarage Road. Watford went into the match unbeaten with two wins and two draws to their name but they simply had no answer for the visitors who were in ruthless form. Sergio Aguero scored the first hat-trick of the season as he closed in on becoming the club’s record all-time goalscorer. The 6-0 final scoreline simply didn’t flatter Manchester City. Their goalscoring glut in September already had the other challengers quaking with fear.

Manchester United were doing their best to keep up though. Like West Ham United and Swansea City in August, Everton were on the wrong end of a 4-0 beating from Jose Mourinho’s men. It was Wayne Rooney’s first return to Old Trafford since his summer departure back to Merseyside and he was given a warm reception on his reunion with his former club. However, Everton fell behind early on to September’s Goal of the Month; a screamer from distance in the fourth minute by converted full-back Antonio Valencia. There was also a goal for Romelu Lukaku against his former club in the closing moments as Everton fell to a third successive heavy defeat in all competitions in just eight days. The pressure was growing on Ronald Koeman.

The weekend actually got underway with a Friday Night Football on the south coast and a local derby between AFC Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove Albion. Bournemouth were pointless going into the match and trailed early in the second half to Solly March’s header. However, the Cherries rallied and goals from Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe helped them defeat the Seagulls 2-1 in an enthralling contest. It was their first points and win of the season.

Bournemouth were off the mark but Crystal Palace remained on zero points and also, zero goals. Southampton left Selhurst Park with all three points in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Saints’ skipper Steven Davis scored the only goal in the opening five minutes to ensure a losing start for Roy Hodgson in his first managerial match since being in-charge on that fateful night in Nice when England were knocked out of the 2016 European Championships by Iceland.

Chelsea lost ground on the top two after being held to a goalless draw by a battling Arsenal side at Stamford Bridge, with David Luiz seeing red for the hosts. It was the first of four meetings between the sides during the season and Arsenal remained undefeated in all four encounters. This was one of three goalless draws during the weekend. Another took place at The Hawthorns, where Gareth Barry equalled Ryan Giggs’ all-time Premier League appearance record, levelling up on 632 appearances in the drab stalemate between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

The third game without a goal on the weekend was at Wembley Stadium as Swansea City held Tottenham Hotspur to keep Spurs’ winless streak at their temporary home going, whilst Newcastle United climbed into the dizzying heights of fourth spot in the table after beating Stoke City 2-1 to achieve a third successive victory. For the second successive match, it was skipper Jamaal Lascelles who powered home the winner from a set-piece.

What else happened in September 2017?

  • A blast and fire at Parsons Green train station is treated as a terrorist attack. This time, there are no fatalities, but 29 injuries in-total. It is the fourth attack on the UK in 2017 alone.
  • Kensington Palace announces that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.
  • Weeks after Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma strikes The Caribbean and the United States. The Category 5 hurricane causes $64.2 billion in damage and claims the lives of 146 people.
  • In response to recent sanctions put in place by the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled 755 diplomats from his country.
  • North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
  • Paris and Los Angeles are chosen as the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
  • A new £10 polymer banknote enters circulation in the UK, with Jane Austen featured.

Memorable Matches: Oldham Athletic 2-3 Norwich City (November 1992)

Goalscorers: Mark Robins 14, 27, 90, Graeme Sharp 25, Ian Marshall 43

Teams:

Oldham Athletic: Jon Hallworth, Gunnar Halle, Richard Jobson, Neil Pointon, Steve Redmond, Paul Bernard, Nick Henry, Mike Milligan, Ian Marshall, Ian Olney (Neil Adams 58), Graeme Sharp

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth, Mark Bowen, Ian Culverhouse, John Polston, Daryl Sutch, Ian Crook, David Phillips, Ruel Fox, Darren Beckford (Chris Sutton 88), Mark Robins

Referee: Robbie Hart, Attendance: 11,081

Oldham Athletic and Norwich City were two of the more unfashionable clubs in the Premier League’s very first season. However, both teams were a real credit to the league’s early inception, producing outstanding stories throughout the 1992-1993 campaign.

The sides met in early November 1992 and there was plenty of attention on Mike Walker’s Canaries. Results earlier in the weekend had taken Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table but Norwich knew victory at Boundary Park would take them back to the summit. Oldham though must have fancied their chances. Despite the visitors’ excellent attacking record, their defence was brittle and they’d conceded 11 goals on two recent painful away trips to Ewood Park and Anfield. The one certainly was a 0-0 scoreline was a very unlikely result here.

It was Norwich who struck first in an opening 45 minutes that saw the pendulum swing back and forwards. Ian Culverhouse produced a lovely ball after 14 minutes and summer arrival, Mark Robins was left completely unmarked in the penalty area to open the scoring. It was Robins first goal in seven matches and with the Canaries first serious attack, they were infront.

Norwich’s lead lasted just 11 minutes. Nick Henry delivered a ball into the box from the left-hand side. It was flicked on and Graeme Sharp reacted instantly, providing a predatory finish beyond Bryan Gunn to bring Oldham level. However, their parity didn’t last long. Two minutes later, Norwich were back infront.

Oldham’s high offside trap was brutally exposed by the pacey winger Ruel Fox. He produced the perfect first-time pass and with goalkeeper Jon Hallworth caught in no-man’s land and the defenders scrambling to get back, Robins had all the time in the world to convert his second goal of the evening. Two minutes before half-time, Oldham levelled the scores again. Auxiliary forward Ian Marshall was first to another flick-on and bravely beat an onrushing Gunn to the loose ball. There was a collision between the pair but Marshall got enough on his looping shot to find the back of the net.

The second half was a cagier affair and it looked like the points were going to be shared. Robins though would have the last laugh. In stoppage-time, he created some space for himself in the penalty area and his low shot found the bottom corner of Hallworth’s net to seal victory for Norwich and take them back to the top of the Premier League table. Discarded by Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, the forward was proving his valuable worth to the Norwich cause. He scored the club’s first Premier League hat-trick and only the second in the history of the league after Eric Cantona’s treble for Leeds United against Tottenham Hotspur back in August.

Norwich stayed top of the table for Christmas but their defensive issues would see them fade away slightly in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, the East Anglian side were a tremendous third in the final standings. Oldham scored plenty of goals throughout the campaign and won their final three matches to avoid the drop on the final day of the season.

 

 

Memorable Matches: Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 Coventry City (December 1995)

Goalscorers: Dion Dublin 18, 37, 55, Guy Whittingham 25, David Hirst 39, Marc Degryse 60, Mark Bright 73

Teams:

Sheffield Wednesday: Kevin Pressman, Peter Atherton, Steve Nicol, Ian Nolan, Des Walker, Lee Briscoe, Marc Degryse, Chris Waddle (Graham Hyde 85), Mark Bright, David Hirst, Guy Whittingham

Coventry City: Steve Ogrizovic, Marcus Hall, Ally Pickering, David Rennie (Gordon Strachan 74), Richard Shaw, Paul Williams, Kevin Richardson, Paul Telfer, John Salako, Dion Dublin, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Mike Reed, Attendance: 16,229

Both Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City were struggling in the Premier League table when the sides clashed at Hillsborough on a Monday Night Football in December 1995. The Sky Blues had won just one game all season, whilst David Pleat’s Owls were in the bottom six and looking to find some consistency. Both sides produced thrilling attacking displays which meant the neutral was in for an early December treat.

Coventry took the lead on 18 minutes. Their top goalscorer, Dion Dublin headed home from a corner which looked to have been cleared off the goal-line. However, referee Mike Reed correctly spotted the whole of the ball had crossed the line before it was hooked clear. The visitors’ lead lasted just seven minutes. Lee Briscoe got the better of Ally Pickering on the right-hand side and his cross into the box eventually fell to the feet of Guy Whittingham. Whittingham made no mistake to score his fourth goal in his last three matches against the Midlands club. Whittingham was enjoying this match and so too was Dublin. Eight minutes before the interval, he scored his second of the evening to put Ron Atkinson’s side back infront. Kevin Pressman failed to hold onto John Salako’s ambitious attempt and his spill gave Dublin the simplest of finishes.

Wednesday’s response was even quicker than their first equaliser. Mark Bright ghosted into plenty of space and his shot was saved brilliantly by Steve Ogrizovic. Unfortunately for the Coventry shot-stopper, it fell straight to David Hirst to restore parity. It was his sixth goal of the season as he was on the comeback trail from his most recent injury setback which had been a neck problem.

2-2 at the break, more goals were promised in the second half and sure enough, the entertainment continued on this wet Yorkshire evening. Coventry’s Achilles heel was dealing with crosses and it nearly led to embarrassment for defender Richard Shaw. A Hirst header back across the face of goal was diverted onto his own crossbar by Shaw. Maybe it was a sign that Coventry were going to win and Dublin was in peak form. From Kevin Richardson’s corner, Dublin flicked the ball into the net on 55 minutes to complete his hat-trick. However, Coventry’s defensive ineptitude would ensure the skipper’s goalscoring contribution would be on a losing cause.

Yet again, Atkinson’s side were caught out by a cross. Bright pulled off the back of Shaw from Hirst’s cross and Belgian international Marc Degryse followed up after another save from the unfortunate Ogrizovic. Hirst then went on to hit the post as the Owls definitely finished as the stronger side. The winner came 17 minutes from full-time. Ian Nolan escaped the attentions of Salako and drilled in a cross to the near post that was stabbed home by the excellent Bright. This was the start of Sheffield Wednesday’s most productive month of 1995-1996. They scored 14 goals in four matches and both clubs would avoid relegation but only in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Premier League Files: Clive Mendonca

Premier League Career: Charlton Athletic (1998-1999)

Clive Mendonca will always be linked with being a prominent part of Charlton Athletic’s sensational play-off final victory over Sunderland in 1998. He scored a magnificent hat-trick in the 4-4 draw which the Addicks went on to win on penalties, with Clive also converting his spot-kick in the shootout.

Mendonca started his professional career with Sheffield United in 1986 and also had periods in his career with Doncaster Rovers and Rotherham United. His best spells though were saved for Charlton and Grimsby Town. At Grimsby, he scored 60 goals in 166 appearances and is widely regarded as one of the club’s greatest forwards.

He moved to Charlton in the summer of 1997, scoring 28 times in an unforgettable campaign which ended with that wonderful day at Wembley against the Black Cats which was the club he supported as a boy. He made an amazing start to his Premier League career too, scoring another hat-trick in Charlton’s first match at home against Southampton. Alan Curbishley’s side won 5-0 and spent the weekend on top of the Premier League table.

He finished with eight goals in 24 appearances but injuries were starting to take their toll on Mendonca. His last game in the Charlton line-up came in December 1999 in the First Division. After over two years of constant setbacks, he announced his retirement in February 2002 after being advised by specialists that a further operation on his hip could leave him with permanent damage and possibly a disability.

In 2012, he was inducted into the Charlton Hall of Fame and now works at the Nissan car plant in Sunderland.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland (October 2010)

Goalscorers: Kevin Nolan 26, 34, 75, Shola Ameobi 45 PEN, 70, Darren Bent 90

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Joey Barton, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi (Nile Ranger 86), Andy Carroll

Sunderland: Simon Mignolet, Phil Bardsley, Titus Bramble (SENT OFF), Nedum Onuoha, Michael Turner, Lee Cattermole (John Mensah 76), Ahmed Elmohamady (Asamoah Gyan 40), Jordan Henderson, Steed Malbranque, Darren Bent, Danny Welbeck (Kieran Richardson 55)

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 51,988

The Tyne & Wear Derby has seen plenty of classic memories and crucial encounters down the Premier League Years. For Newcastle United supporters, few can topple Halloween 2010 when Sunderland turned up for what turned out to be a horrific afternoon for the visitors.

Steve Bruce’s side started a point above the Magpies and had just beaten Aston Villa in their previous match. Newcastle were also coming off the back of a fine away victory at bottom-placed West Ham United. This eased the pressure on Chris Hughton who was coming under pressure regarding his position as the club’s manager.

Hughton had a simple plan for this match – get balls into the box for Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi to battle with. Their hard work and ability to win balls in the air meant others like Kevin Nolan could benefit – with deadly results. Nolan would enjoy one of the greatest days of his career as Newcastle ran their local rivals ragged all afternoon.

The scoring was opened by the midfielder on 26 minutes. Ameobi won the aerial battle from Joey Barton’s corner. Nolan latched onto the knockdown and even though he was back to goal, he still managed to flick the ball over Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and a couple of defenders on the goal-line. It was wonderful improvisation from the former Bolton man and more was to come.

Just eight minutes later, he doubled Newcastle’s advantage. Good work from Jonas Gutierrez and Carroll saw Nolan profit to finish from close-range after Carroll’s attempted bicycle kick ended in his path. Despite having the pace of Danny Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan in their attacking ranks, Sunderland just couldn’t put it to any use. They were virtually out of the game by half-time.

The home side won a penalty which was confidently dispatched by the excellent Ameobi, who always seemed to raise his game for these occasions. Shortly into the second half, Sunderland’s day got worse. Titus Bramble chopped down Carroll and the ex-Newcastle defender got his marching orders from Phil Dowd, who showed nine yellow cards and didn’t have his best afternoon in the middle.

Newcastle took advantage of the extra man to increase their lead. Carroll, who deserved a goal for his brilliant display was so unlucky when his header in the 70th minute thumped the crossbar. Ameobi was first onto the rebound and smashed the ball past a shell-shocked Mignolet. Nolan’s day was about to be complete, nodding home from close-range five minutes later as Sunderland gave him the freedom of St James’ Park from a corner.

Darren Bent scored a late goal for the visitors but it wasn’t even consolation for Sunderland who had been well and truly humbled. The Black Cats finished above Newcastle in the final table but this was a day of pain and misery. Chris Hughton was harshly sacked in December but this win will go down as one of his greatest achievements as a manager.

Shock Results: Charlton Athletic 1-4 West Bromwich Albion (March 2005)

Goalscorers: Geoff Horsfield 9, Jonatan Johansson 24, Rob Earnshaw 73, 84, 90 PEN

Teams:

Charlton Athletic: Dean Kiely, Talal El Karkouri (SENT OFF), Mark Fish, Hermann Hreidarsson, Luke Young, Paul Konchesky, Jerome Thomas, Danny Murphy (Dennis Rommedahl 77), Matt Holland, Jonatan Johansson (Jason Euell 70), Shaun Bartlett (Bryan Hughes 82)

West Bromwich Albion: Russell Hoult, Martin Albrechtsen, Neil Clement, Thomas Gaardsoe (Darren Moore 22), Paul Robinson, Kieran Richardson (Rob Earnshaw 64), Ronnie Wallwork, Jonathan Greening, Zoltan Gera (Richard Chaplow 86), Geoff Horsfield, Kevin Campbell

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 27,104

Bottom of the league going into this clash at The Valley, time was starting to run out for Bryan Robson and West Bromwich Albion. They’d won just two matches under his reign and were winless away from The Hawthorns. They were facing a Charlton side that were in seventh place and leading the race for the final UEFA Cup qualifying spot.

West Brom were boosted from a 2-0 victory a fortnight earlier at home to Birmingham City and they made a flying start off the back of this win. Nine minutes had been played when Zoltan Gera picked out Geoff Horsfield. Horsfield headed home from close-range with Charlton defenders looking rather static.

This sloppy start was not expected by the home team but it aroused Alan Curbishley’s side from their slumbers. Replacing Dennis Rommedahl in the starting XI, Jonatan Johansson had a point to prove and he delivered with the equaliser. Having just flashed a shot narrowly wide moments earlier, he was played through by Jerome Thomas and made the most of a fortunate bounce off the advancing goalkeeper Russell Hoult to guide the ball into an empty net.

The outcome of the game changed in the 29th minute when referee Mark Halsey flashed out his red card at Charlton defender Talal El Karkouri. El Karkouri’s feet left the ground in a nasty challenge on Gera. Albion players were livid with the tackle, surrounding the Moroccan international who was quite rightly sent off by Halsey. Despite the deficit of playing a man light, Charlton nearly led before the interval. Darren Moore, who had come on for the injured Thomas Gaardsoe had to clear a goal-line effort from Hermann Hreidarsson.

With 25 minutes left to play, Robson elected to switch to a 4-3-3 formation, sacrificing Kieran Richardson for Rob Earnshaw. The Welshman would have a sensational outcome on the match. Nine minutes after his arrival, he gave the visitors the lead. Paul Robinson had acres of space and produced a delightful cross to the back post. Horsfield won the header against Paul Konchesky and Earnshaw was in the right place to guide the ball past Dean Kiely.

With six minutes remaining, it was game over. Gera produced his second assist of the afternoon, with a neatly-threaded pass into Earnshaw’s path. He exposed the Charlton high offside line and commandingly beat Kiely to make it 3-1. However, there was one more moment of joy for the Albion supporters. In stoppage-time, Richard Chaplow was scythed down on his Premier League debut by Bryan Hughes. Halsey awarded a penalty and Earnshaw dispatched it effectively, to make it 10 Premier League goals for the season. It also meant he became the first player to score a hat-trick in all of England’s top four divisions, the FA Cup, the League Cup and at international level for Wales. It started West Brom’s amazing escape act, as they survived on the final day of the season.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 4-2 Fulham (October 2002)

Goalscorers: Lee Clark 15, Steed Malbranque 25, James Beattie 27 PEN, 42, 52, Brett Ormerod 72

Teams:

Southampton: Antti Niemi, Wayne Bridge, Jason Dodd, Claus Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Chris Marsden, Matt Oakley, Fabrice Fernandes, Anders Svensson, James Beattie, Brett Ormerod (Agustin Delgado 79)

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Rufus Brevett, Steve Finnan, Alain Goma, Zat Knight (Abdeslam Ouaddou 59), Martin Djetou (Barry Hayles 63), Sylvain Legwinski, Lee Clark, Luis Boa Morte, Steed Malbranque, Steve Marlet

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 26,188

25 minutes into this clash and it looked like Southampton’s unbeaten start to their home season was set to end. Trailing 2-0 to in-form Fulham, they needed a hero on the south coast to rally themselves back into this match. Luckily, they had one in James Beattie who scored a brilliant hat-trick to help the Saints turn the game completely on its head.

Southampton went into this match on the fringes of the top 10 and had just recorded their first away win of the campaign at Aston Villa six days earlier, with Beattie the only goalscorer from the penalty spot. Fulham were flying in the top six and had already held Manchester United and Chelsea in the 2002-2003 season. On a very gusty afternoon at St. Mary’s, this looked like it was going to be an evenly-fought contest.

It was the visitors who made the better start and they took the lead slightly fortuitously after 15 minutes. Lee Clark tried his luck from distance and his shot took a deflection off Southampton defender Michael Svensson, leaving Antti Niemi completely helpless. 10 minutes later, it was 2-0. Defenders just stood and watched as Steed Malbranque made one of his trademark late runs into the penalty area. The Frenchman fired home past Niemi and it gave the home side a mountain to climb. However, they were level just before half-time.

Two minutes after the Cottagers had established the two-goal lead, the advantage had been halved. Brett Ormerod won a penalty off the hand of Alain Goma. Confident after slotting away his penalty the previous Monday at Villa Park, Beattie sent Edwin van der Sar the wrong way to get Southampton on the scoreboard. Three minutes before half-time, Fabrice Fernandes’ delightful cross was met by the head of Beattie, who guided his header beyond the Dutch goalkeeper. The marking from Fulham was very suspect to say the least but Beattie and Southampton weren’t going to care about that.

Into the second half and there only looked like being one winner. Southampton were dealing with the high winds far better than the opponents and it showed. Six minutes into the second half, Beattie completed his hat-trick; the first of his Premier League career. Anders Svensson’s free-kick was inch-perfect and the striker rose above his markers to complete his personal milestone. The scoring was completed on 72 minutes by Ormerod, converting from close-range after industrious work from Chris Marsden.

Southampton’s fourth successive win in all competitions put them in the top half and they would stay there too, finishing eighth. Fulham faded to 14th and their manager Jean Tigana lost his job before the season ended after contract talks broke down. This day though belonged to James Beattie – the hero the Saints needed as he began to charge his way to his only 20-goal season of his career.

Memorable Matches: Leicester City 5-2 Sunderland (March 2000)

Goalscorers: Stan Collymore 17, 60, 87, Emile Heskey 34, Kevin Phillips 53, Niall Quinn 75, Stefan Oakes 90

Teams:

Leicester City: Tim Flowers, Matt Elliott, Gerry Taggart, Frank Sinclair, Darren Eadie (Stefan Oakes 56), Steve Guppy, Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Muzzy Izzet, Stan Collymore, Emile Heskey

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Paul Butler, Jody Craddock, Chris Makin, Eric Roy (John Oster 71), Alex Rae, Stefan Schwarz, Darren Holloway (Nicky Summerbee 45), Kevin Kilbane, Niall Quinn, Kevin Phillips

Referee: Neale Barry, Attendance: 20,432

Having joined Leicester City a month earlier after falling out of favour at Aston Villa, Stan Collymore was keen to show his doubters wrong. He had his chance infront of the Sky Sports cameras on his home debut at Filbert Street as the Foxes’ hosted Sunderland in an end-to-end contest that saw seven goals and a reminder of his class when he was at his absolute best.

Collymore had already been in trouble with new manager Martin O’Neill for an off-field incident in a hotel during a club training camp break in La Manga. This was his second match for the club and after 16 minutes, he produced a spectacular opening goal. His half-volley from a flick-on by his new strike partner Emile Heskey left Thomas Sorensen completely helpless.

It was always going to be an entertaining contest. Sunderland had impressed many on their return to the top-flight but had the poorest defensive record in the top 10 coming into the match and it was exposed again 10 minutes before half-time. Neil Lennon won possession in the heart of midfield and he played Heskey in. He took one touch and finished in-between Sorensen’s legs.

Peter Reid was not happy with his team’s performance and withdrew Darren Holloway at half-time, replacing him with Nicky Summerbee. They did come close to reducing the deficit when Leicester defender Matt Elliott’s clearance at the near post hit his own crossbar. It was a warning sign to the Foxes but it wasn’t adhered to. Kevin Phillips’ half-volley from the edge of the penalty area on 53 minutes reduced the arrears. It was the 100th goal of his league career and 24th of an amazing individual season that saw him clinch the Golden Boot at the end of the campaign.

Leicester restored their two-goal lead on the hour mark. Lennon chalked up his second assist of the match. His beautiful cross was met by Collymore who directed the ball into the top corner of Sorensen’s net. One thing Reid had installed in Sunderland’s armoury was the ability to respond clinically and he had one of the best strike partnerships in the country at the time in Phillips and Niall Quinn. The Republic of Ireland forward joined Philips on the scoresheet with 15 minutes left. His curling strike would set-up a grandstand finish.

The day though would belong to Collymore. He completed his hat-trick with a striker’s tap-in. The finish was slightly scuffed but he wouldn’t be complaining about that and nor were the Leicester supporters. With time running out, substitute Stefan Oakes added a fifth to ensure the Black Cats’ conceded five on their travels for the second time this season, having shipped five at Everton on Boxing Day.

The sides would finish seventh and eighth at the end of the season. This day though belonged to Leicester and to the maverick that was Stan Collymore.

Memorable Matches: Queens Park Rangers 3-2 West Bromwich Albion (December 2014)

Goalscorers: Joleon Lescott 10, Silvestre Varela 20, Charlie Austin 24 PEN, 48, 86

Teams:

Queens Park Rangers: Robert Green, Yun Suk-Young (Clint Hill 30), Nedum Onuoha, Steven Caulker, Richard Dunne, Joey Barton, Leroy Fer, Karl Henry, Charlie Austin, Eduardo Vargas (Junior Hoilett 67), Bobby Zamora (Niko Kranjcar 80)

West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster, Sebastien Pocognoli (Cristian Gamboa 90), Andre Wisdom, Joleon Lescott, Gareth McAuley, Graham Dorrans, Craig Gardner, James Morrison, Stephane Sessegnon, Silvestre Varela, Brown Ideye (Saido Berahino 69)

Referee: Craig Pawson, Attendance: 17,560

Going into this pre-Christmas match, both Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion were in the need for three points. Harry Redknapp’s side had failed to take a single point away from home but were in fine form at Loftus Road, taking 10 points from their last four home encounters. West Brom had just beaten Aston Villa in their last match to ease the pressure slightly on their head coach, Alan Irvine.

It was the visitors’ who made the better start and completely dominated in the first 20 minutes. Craig Gardner and Brown Ideye both came close to opening the scoring but it was a defender who would ultimately break the deadlock. Sebastien Pocognoli’s corner was flicked on by Stephane Sessegnon and Joleon Lescott headed home. Lescott was a summer arrival from Manchester City and this was his first goal since September 2012.

1-0 after 10 minutes became 2-0 after 20 minutes. Silvestre Varela linked up with Sessegnon, playing some smart one-touch football and he finished coolly inside the penalty area. Varela was on-loan from FC Porto and had struggled to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League. It was his first goal for the club and ultimately, his only goal in the Baggies’ colours.

Redknapp’s side needed a swift response and it arrived via the penalty spot just four minutes later. Referee Craig Pawson punished James Morrison for tugging away at Leroy Fer’s shirt. Charlie Austin, back from suspension after seeing red in QPR’s last home match against Burnley, made no mistake from the penalty spot. This goal meant he had scored in each of QPR’s last five home matches.

Despite getting back into the game, QPR were still second-best for the remainder of the first half. Green’s agility levels were tested on two further occasions before the interval to deny Gardner from a deflected free-kick and a dangerous drive from the impressive Sessegnon. West Brom’s failure to take their chances would cost them dearly in the second half.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Joey Barton’s corner was headed onto the crossbar by Richard Dunne. The ball fell perfectly to Austin, who bundled home a loose ball to level the scores. A winning goal always looked likely for either side and with Austin on the pitch, QPR could not be discounted. Four minutes from time, he climbed highest to head home another Barton corner. It was his ninth goal in the last seven matches and his maiden hat-trick in the Premier League.

The result lifted QPR out of the bottom three and into 15th spot, level on points with their opponents. Irvine lasted another two matches before being sacked. Tony Pulis succeeded him and steered Albion clear of any relegation danger. Despite the goals of Austin, QPR were relegated before the end of the season. This was their day though and one of the best comebacks of the 2014-2015 season.

Great Goals: Dimitar Berbatov – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2010)

With Wayne Rooney struggling for form after a difficult summer at the World Cup in South Africa, Manchester United turned to Dimitar Berbatov to fill the goalscoring void. Seen as a misfit after struggling to find any serious form in 2009-2010, the Bulgarian could be brilliant on his day. In September 2010 against Liverpool FC, he was outstanding.

Berbatov had already put the home side infront, evading some slack marking from Fernando Torres to head home from a corner. In the 58th minute, he made it 2-0 with a sublime bicycle kick. Darren Fletcher started the move with a long ball that found Nani out wide. Paul Konchesky backed off the winger, allowing the Portuguese to cross the ball into the Liverpool box. It found Berbatov who controlled it superbly in the air. Still with his back to goal, he produced a special overhead kick that left Pepe Reina completely stranded.

A quick-fire double from Steven Gerrard pulled Liverpool FC back into the contest but it was Berbatov’s day. He headed home a late winner to complete his hat-trick. This was his match and a vintage moment from a player who was always capable of the spectacular.