Memorable games

buncranaboy

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Bostock Stanley, Barnstoneworth United
I took advantage of a spare seat in a car full of Baggies mates as I hadn't ticked Fratton Park. Apart from the atmosphere, my overriding memory was having to drive as far as Newbury as coppers didn't want/allow any Baggies cars stopping for beer in Hampshire with patrol cars dotted all along the exits on the A34
We did manage to squeeze a couple in as I recall en route to the Pheasant in Warley :p
 

Oxpete

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Pompey
Here's another memorable game I'd like to post...

Wednesday 27th September 1989~
European Cup Winners Cup First Round Second Leg
Swansea City 3-3 Panathinaikos


...at the Vetch Field, with Swans narrowly losing 5-6 on aggregate.

Having won the 1989 Welsh Cup (if I remember correctly, they beat Kidderminster Harriers 5-0 in the final at the Vetch, with me standing in the Kiddie end), Swansea City were the FL's only representative in any European competition that season, what with the Heysel ban still in place. In the first leg at the Athens Olympic Stadium two weeks previously, Swans had gone 0-3 down by half-time before clawing back two precious away goals from Paul Raynor and John Salako. However, the headlines were made when fourteen Swansea fans were arrested and imprisoned after being attacked in Athens two days later, with the blame being most definitely directed at local feral scooter gangs and over-zealous police - whoever was responsible, the Swansea fans were seen on national telly with their heads wrapped in their own blood-soaked shirts. Chairman Doug Sharpe used his own money to bail the fans out of jail, but for some it took several weeks.

By the time the return leg came round, some of the lower-end tabloids were running idiotic stories about the city being overrun by marauding gangs of Euro-starved West Ham and Chelsea hooligans (stories that obviously proved false), resulting in the biggest police presence I think I ever saw at the Vetch. All this made it even more surprising that it was pay-on-the-gate, with an attendance of (I think) somewhere over 12,000 or so, with a couple of hundred Greeks hemmed in upstairs in the East Stand. Just before kick-off, the Panathinaikos fans lit green flares - the first time I'd ever seen such pyrotechnics at a match first-hand.

Despite the heroics in the first-leg, confidence among Swansea supporters wasn't high, not least because the previous Saturday had seen Swans lose 1-6 at home to a very ordinary Reading. On top of that, the Panathinaikos line-up included the likes of Vangelis Vlachos and Dimitris Saravakos, with six Greek Championships and ten Greek Cup winning medals between them, and Saravakos being rated as possibly the top Greek player of the eighties. However, a first-half penalty by Robbie James put Swansea ahead on away-goals, before a close-range header from Andy Melville just after the interval created a proper aggregate lead, with the visitors looking all over the place. The Greeks pulled one back shortly afterwards, but when Melville made it 3-1 on the night with not much more than twenty minutes to go, it really did look all over. Even when Saravakos scored a second for Panathinaikos to draw things level on aggregate, we all thought that there was at least still extra-time to look forward to. But unfortunately a young Chris Coleman conceded a harsh penalty decision in the 89th minute, which was converted by Saravakos, and Swansea lost 5-6 on aggregate.

Searching for footage online, I've just seen this for the first time (complete with Greek commentary, and some good views of the different stands at the Vetch), bringing back so many memories of the evening, in particular the glamorous (it seemed at the time) continental advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch brought in especially for European television viewers (and replacing the usual ones of some local double-glazing firm in Neath or whatever)...


I saw Swansea play again in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1991, when they lost 1-2 to eventual losing-finalists Monaco in the first-round first-leg. Unfortunately, Swans then went on to lose the second-leg 0-8, for a 1-10 aggregate defeat. Understandably, Swansea fans generally don't remember those matches quite as fondly as as they do the ones in 1989 against Panathinaikos.
 
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Bigaitch

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This thread is a very enjoyable read, keep em coming people....
 

MiddxSaint

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St Albans City
Neither result was as hoped.

1 St Albans City v Dagenham - FA Amateur Cup semi-final replay at Luton Town FC. Club never did reach the final but were losing semi-finalists 4 times.

2 Instead of watching Croydon away (running track ground with terrible view), went to see Leicester City v Leatherhead FA Cup 4th round. Later in life, went to work in Leatherhead for several years but never did get to go down to their ground.
 

Northstandexile

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Mansfield Town
Middx Saint, I thought this one would be memorable for you

FA Cup 1st Round 9th Nov 2013.

St. Albans 1-8 Mansfield Town

Mansfield conceded first but managed to score two late first half goals to go into half time not deserving the lead.

Sam Clucas (now of Stoke City) scored four goals with an ex-Boston Untited goalkeeper, who I had seen regular playing against Mansfield on several occasions, being exposed by a rather ragged defence.

 

Kentish exile

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Gillingham, Kent CC, Miami Dolphins, Camborne RFC, Castleford Tigers
1) Shrewsbury Town v Gillingham 2009 L2 Play Off Final 23rd May
The Gills made my 45th birthday a special one, when Simeon Jackson popped up with a 90th minute winner. Made even better having done the correct score/1st goalscorer combo at 45/1.

2) Plymouth Argyle v QPR L1 24th April 2004
Argyle all but confirmed promotion to the Championship by winning 2-0
 

pilgrim46

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Plymouth Argyle, any non league team in Devon & Cornwall
1. Sunday 3 May 1998 - Arsenal 4-0 Everton - Premier League
Watching Arsenal win the Premier League sat in the North Bank at Highbury is still the highlight of my football watching life. I remember it being a bright sunny day & with Arsenal on a great winning run I was quietly confident that they would do it. An early Slaven Bilic own goal eased the nerves & when Overmars scored his second of the game just before the hour mark the party really began. Tony Adams slamming in the 4th at full time just summed the whole day up. When we left the ground after the trophy presentation it was absolute chaos in the streets. I narrowly avoided being crushed when the crowd surged towards a shirtless Ian Wright who was hanging out of the changing room window celebrating. An unbelievable day & well worth the late arrival home

2. Sunday 30 May 1999 - Gillingham 2-2 Man City - Division 2 Play Off Final (Man City won on penalties)
I really felt for my mate walking back after this one & I don't think a word was spoken between us until we got on the tube. He was at Reading University at the time & I had seen several Gillingham games with him that season. When Gillingham scored their second goal after 87 minutes he must have felt the same as I did at Highbury the year before. Man City fans were leaving the stadium & even after Horlock had reduced the lead to one the Gillingham fans were still celebrating until Dickov popped up with the late equaliser. You could see the Gillingham players were gutted & the stuffing had been knocked out of them. There were no more goals in extra time & Man City won the penalty shootout. He still mentions this game whenever I see him
 
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igmc

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Tranmere Rovers, Hendon, New Brighton (RIP)
Another vote for the Tranmere v Boreham Wood National League play-off final. I've never had those emotions in over sixty years of watching football. It simply went to places no game had ever taken me before.

First-minute red card was fair enough - even from a hundred yards away it looked like a decision waiting to happen. Then Tranmere score, bottles are thrown, three of the back four have to go off - and BW equalise in the nth minute of first-half injury time.

As if that wasn't enough, around the hour mark something happened. That's all I can say. I think Eric Nixon had gone down the touchline to gee up the Tranmere supporters in the corner away to my left. Whatever the cause, the supporters down there responded with a sound I've never heard before from a football crowd. Not a cheer, not a chant. Just a primitive howl of defiance that swelled across behind the goal. Hairs on the back of my neck? Yes - literally, even before I'd worked out where the noise was coming from. It was electrifying.

I'd said at half-time, 'we'll get one chance'. We did. Though, like paulh66, I think I'm still waiting for the ball to cross the line. Even after the game, trying to process what had happened, it felt strange. The youngsters were climbing the Wembley sub-structures with a full 'We're on our way...' It seemed the older supporters were just too spent. Standing quietly, with more than a few tears.

I wasn't going to respond to this thread, but I see that Richard Ault has produced a documentary of that game - 'Against all the odds'.

There is a background interview on soundcloud at thisistranmere/interview-richard-ault-against-all-the-odds-documentary

and the programme is available for a fee at https://www.vimeo.com/ondemand/againstalltheodds

Again, like paulh66, I'm going to need a lie-down before I can relive that again!
 

paulh66

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Tranmere, South Liverpool
Ha ha, great post igmc. It'll never rank as my all time favourite match but, by a country mile, it's the most intense and unforgettable. Unique even.

I'll certainly be looking at that Richard Ault video, his stuff (usually photography, from what I've seen) is usually very high quality.
 
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Kentish exile

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Messages
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Team{s}
Gillingham, Kent CC, Miami Dolphins, Camborne RFC, Castleford Tigers
1. Sunday 3 May 1998 - Arsenal 4-0 Everton - Premier League
Watching Arsenal win the Premier League sat in the North Bank at Highbury is still the highlight of my football watching life. I remember it being a bright sunny day & with Arsenal on a great winning run I was quietly confident that they would do it. An early Slaven Bilic own goal eased the nerves & when Overmars scored his second of the game just before the hour mark the party really began. Tony Adams slamming in the 4th at full time just summed the whole day up. When we left the ground after the trophy presentation it was absolute chaos in the streets. I narrowly avoided being crushed when the crowd surged towards a shirtless Ian Wright who was hanging out of the changing room window celebrating. An unbelievable day & well worth the late arrival home

2. Sunday 30 May 1999 - Gillingham 2-2 Man City - Division 2 Play Off Final (Man City won on penalties)
I really felt for my mate walking back after this one & I don't think a word was spoken between us until we got on the tube. He was at Reading University at the time & I had seen several Gillingham games with him that season. When Gillingham scored their second goal after 87 minutes he must have felt the same as I did at Highbury the year before. Man City fans were leaving the stadium & even after Horlock had reduced the lead to one the Gillingham fans were still celebrating until Dickov popped up with the late equaliser. You could see the Gillingham players were gutted & the stuffing had been knocked out of them. There were no more goals in extra time & Man City won the penalty shootout. He still mentions this game whenever I see him
I wish there was a dislike button. I too was at Wembley :(
 

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