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On This Day In History 4th May A 10 Goal Thriller
Tuesday, 5th May 2020 10:50

In the space of two years Saints had not one but two 10 goal thrillers with Coventry City at the Dell, today we take a look at both of them.

On 4th May 1982 what had seemed to have looked like being a great season and perhaps even the League title at the end of it had petered out after only two wins and 9 points in 11 games had seen us drop from top spot to 6th.

We were still chasing Europe though so there was something still in the season when Coventry City arrived at the Dell on a Tuesday evening.

Back then like now the Country was in a sense of shock and trepidation, we were now at War with Argentina, our first major dust up in several generations.

For those of us in our late teens early 20's in 1982 we had never known global conflict, we were too young to have really noticed the Vietnam War or the Cuban Missile crisis, the World back then was a peaceful place with little global terrorism aside from the Northern Ireland issue and the odd plane hijack and back then going on a plane was not the norm, I wonder if it ever will be again now.

Joining the Armed forces was not see by most as a dangerous thing to do, indeed the recruitment posters said "Join The Army And See The World" the TV adverts showed soldiers skiing and other recreational activities, they didn't mention Belfast or actually fighting and killing people.

So the Falklands war had been a big shock, especially to those in Southampton who had seen the Army come through the streets and to the Docks and then off on the QE2 and Canberra away to the Falklands a place that few had even heard of and even less know where it was, but we all did suddenly back in April 1982 and the Task Force was on it's way.

But the focus was truly on football for Saints fans heading to the Dell, the war in the South Atlantic had not truly got under way although we had sunk Argentinian Battleship General Belgrano two days earlier, many thought that would be enough to scare the "Argies" as the press dubbed them from a full confrontation.

The first half probably didn't give much indication of what was to follow, Coventry opened the scoring on 11 minutes, Kevin Keegan equalised on 22 minutes andfuture Skate Mark Hateley gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of half time.

Straight after the break though the goals started coming thick and fast at an average of one every 6 1/2 minutes.

Keith Cassells put us back in the game on 47 minutes then the scoring went

50 mins Hateley CC 2-3
60 Mins Whitton CC 2-4
61 mins Ball SFC 3-4
69 mins Cassells 4-4

Then there was a short period with both teams trying to catch there breath for what would surely be a Saints onslaught, we took the lead for the first time in the game on 83 minutes when Kevin Keegan fired home.

But that only lasted for the average time of 6 1/2 minutes and the last word went to Mark Hateley who equalised in the final minute.

It was hard to keep up with the scoring indeed it was said that Danny Wallace had come off the pitch thinking we had lost 5-4, but it had been a pulsating game.

I remember little about the game, but I can remember walking into the pub afterwards and the feeling of numbness, trepidation and a deep sick feeling in my stomach when someone said that HMS Sheffield had been sunk, the first British warship to be lost in action since the Second World War and the first British casualties in this conflict.

Suddenly the World seemed a different place and it was.

Fast forward just under two years, 28th April 1984 to be exact and the Sky Blues were the visitors again and battling against relegation whilst we were in the middle of perhaps what was our best ever period of form in the club's entire League history, a run that would see us storm to 2nd place in the league and thoughts of what might have been.

I seem to remember in the pub that confidence was high and most predicted a Saints victory, a few people muttered about that we wouldn't see 10 goals again amidst much guffawing.

Though most would not have thought at the time, the kick off saw our first sight at the Dell of Stuart Pearce he of future Nottingham Forest and England fame and our last of Frank Worthington who would sign off with a goal, but would be sent home from a hotel near Stoke ahead of our game there a few days later.

For almost the first half an hour the game was goalless but then on 28 mins Dave Armstrong gave us the lead and then Danny Wallace 8 minutes later to give us a 2-0 lead at the break.

The second half started in the same vein as the first and there was initially no further score, but then on 57 minutes the goal fest started and it would see a goal every 4 minutes on average it went as follows.

57 mins Moran 3-0
64 mins Wallace 4-0
66 mins Grimes CC 4-1
69 mins Worthington 5-1
76 mins Moran 6-1
82 mins Moran 7-1
85 mins Wallace 8-1
88mins Gynn CC 8-2

Perhaps the most astonishing game ever seen at the Dell, 8 second half goals in another 10 goal thriller, hat tricks for both Steve Moran and Danny Wallace.

This time there would be no news of War after the game, the only hint of that had been exactly 3 months earlier at Fratton Park when coincidentally Mark Hateley had also played.

Photo: Action Images

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