The English football league season of 2004/05 saw the re-naming of the three divisions below the country’s Premier League division, with the Championship, League One, and League Two – as they became to be known – kicking off under the new system. Just like the Premier League there have been an abundance of high-scoring games over the years. Some of the early games saw Oldham Athletic beat Walsall five-three with a goal in the final minute, despite trailing 2-0 before half-time, Bradford City scoring a last-minute winner in a narrow 5-4 victory over Tranmere Rovers, and Brian Deane netting four goals, as Leeds United easily saw-off Queens Park Rangers 6-1.
When Wrexham visited Hartlepool United, the visitors led 2-1 after 21 minutes, 3-2 just after the half-hour mark, and 4-3 mid-way through the second-half, and despite Joel Porter levelling for the home side with six minutes to go, the Welsh side managed two late goals to secure an amazing 6-4 win. The bulk of the goals came from Spaniard Juan Ugarte, who scored a record-breaking five goals! Four from close range and one from the penalty spot.
The next season saw Gregg Blundell, from close-range, and Marcus Richardson, with a header, score in the final two minutes, to help Chester City attain a remarkable four-four draw at home to Darlington, having trailed throughout the entire match. Striker Akpo Sodje must have felt hard done by, scoring three times for the visitors, with two headers, and a twenty-yarder. Leeds United completed one of the most remarkable come back wins in the Championship league history, when they travelled to Southampton and trailed three-nil at half-time, with a header from Marian Pahars, and a couple by Nigel Quashie, including a penalty. However, with just under twenty minutes to go, Paul Butler scored with a header, Robbie Blake netted from close-range six minutes later, David Healy converted a penalty to equalise with six minutes left, and Liam Miller secured the winner two minutes later!
Two goals in four minutes from Jon Parkin helped Macclesfield Town win 5-4 versus Wycombe Wanderers, having led three-nil after only 13 minutes, before trailing 4-3 with under 15 minutes to go. Rochdale scored four times in under quarter of an hour, in easily seeing-off Stockport County 7-2, with Glenn Murray and Ben Muirhead scoring a couple each. In an end-of-season tussle, Blackpool came out on top in a nine-goal thriller away to Swansea City. The ‘Pool led two-one after half-an-hour, before Lee Trundle and an Izzy Iriekpen second goal, put the Swans 3-2 ahead. Andy Morrell then scored two goals in four minutes, to complete a hat-trick, and then grabbed a fourth with a volley, before Keigan Parker rounded off the scoring, with his second in the 89th minute, for a 6-3 win.
More high-scoring continued into the 2007/08 season, with Peterborough United completing one of the biggest wins in League Two history, as both George Boyd and Aaron McLean scored hat-tricks, and Craig Mackail-Smith netted a brace, in an eight-two victory at home to Accrington Stanley, after leading 4-0 at half-time.
The following season, Rochdale thrashed Chester City 6-1 after only 69 minutes play, with Chris Dagnall grabbing a treble. Later on in the season, Northampton Town came from 4-1 behind, to manage an eight-goal draw against Scunthorpe United. Two goals each from Ben May and Gary Hooper gave the Lincolnshire side a three goal cushion after 51 minutes. The Midlands side then pulled one back, with a Giles Coke free-kick in the 53rd minute, and then Danny Jackman made it 3-4 four minutes later. With five minutes to go, the home keeper fumbled a Jackman corner, to make the final score 4-4. More amazing goal-scoring antics was provided by Milton Keynes Dons and Cheltenham Town in an eight-goal thriller. Aaron Wilbraham scored three times in only 15 minutes, and Jemal Johnson also netted a couple, as the Dons led five-one with just under twenty minutes to play. Damian Spencer, however, also grabbed a treble for the Kent side, his in only 13 minutes, to give his team some respectability.
Michael Chopra was instrumental in seeing Cardiff City beat Derby County 6-1, with four goals, including three in the space of 18 minutes. A George Boyd goal with a minute to go, and a Josh Simpson second goal equaliser two minutes into injury time, saw Peterborough United draw 4-4 versus Cardiff City, having trailed four-nil seven minutes before half-time! Probably the most amazing game in League Two history took place at Burton Albion’s ground on Saturday 13 March 2010, when the home team ended up on the wrong end of an eleven-goal avalanche playing Cheltenham Town. Shaun Harrad opened the scoring in the second minute with a bullet strike, and then his penalty put the Albion two goals up, just after the half-hour mark. Justin Richards then tapped-in and Medy Elito equalised in the 56th minute, to make it 2-2. An own-goal then made it 3-2 for the home side, two minutes later, before a Steve Kabba strike gave them back the two-goal cushion, with just under twenty minutes left. Michael Pook then took centre-stage with his first goal, a free-kick, in the 84th minute, to make it 3-4, before Kabba’s second goal, from close range, in the 85th minute, helped Burton into a 5-3 lead. Pook then pulled another one back, with a deflected shot in the 87th minute, before Richards scrambled in the equaliser in the final minute. Then, four minutes into added time, Pook rifled in the winner, for an incredible hat-trick in the final ten minutes, and a remarkable 6-5 victory!
One of the best sudden death comeback wins can be attributed to Morecambe, in their 4-3 victory at home to Crewe Alexandra. In the 87th minute, Wayne Curtis got a headed goal; in the 92nd minute, Paul Mullin headed in the equaliser; and in the 95th minute, David Artell got the headed winner! to stun the Crewe side who had led 3-1 with just under half-an-hour to play.
Seven match goals were scored in the space of 26 minutes, when Bury beat Gillingham 5-4, with the winning goal scored by Ryan Lowe in the 73rd minute after a titanic struggle. Another extraordinary comeback victory was completed by Preston North End when they visited Leeds United in 2010. Luciano Becchio and Alex Bruce, both with headers, and a double from Davide Somma, put Leeds comfortably 4-1 ahead after only 39 minutes play. Jon Parkin then got his second for PNE a minute later, before Keith Treacy, in the 54th minute, and Callum Davidson, with a penalty in the 58th minute, helped the Lancashire team to equalise. Parkin bagged his hat-trick in the 64th minute, and Iain Hume netted in a header for a six-four win, with still over ten minutes to play.
On Saturday 2nd October 2010, Accrington Stanley and Gillingham were involved in a record-breaking League Two game. Sean McConville gave Stanley an early lead, before Mark Bentley headed an equaliser, and added another inside two minutes, to give the Gills a 2-1 lead on the half-hour mark. Within three minutes, Andy Parkinson shot in an equaliser, before Charlie Barnett slotted in from a cross, to give Stanley back the lead at half-time. Within ten minutes of the second-half, Cody McDonald chipped in from a solo run, to make it 3-3, but then the Gills conceded two penalties in four minutes, which were both converted by Phil Edwards. Accrington five-three after 62 minutes. A Terry Gornell close-range finish made it 6-3 in the 73rd minute, which became 4-6 when Adebayo Akinfenwa fired in a penalty six minutes later. James Ryan closed the scoring in the first minute of injury time, to give AS a mind-boggling 7-4 victory!
Following close on this game, another incredible encounter saw Chesterfield score four times in the closing 18 minutes, including two penalties by Danny Whitaker, to secure a five-five draw against Crewe Alexandra in added time, after trailing 3-0 in 13 minutes, and 4-1 after 26 minutes! Later in the season, Crewe recovered from this to record an easy 8-1 win against Cheltenham Town, with hat-tricks from Clayton Donaldson and Joel Grant.
In the 2011/12 season, Jordan Rhodes went on a rampage with four goals, as Huddersfield Town drew 4-4 against Sheffield Wednesday, having trailed two-nil and four-two, including the equalising goal in the 97th minute! A few weeks later, Gareth McCleary was also a four-goal hero, including a hat-trick in only 15 minutes, when Nottingham Forest thumped Leeds United 7-3, with six of the match goals coming in quarter of an hour.
In some other games, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Rotherham United 6-4, Accrington Stanley defeated Northampton Town 5-4, Bournemouth thrashed Birmingham City eight-nil, and Watford scored seven times in 34 minutes, in a 7-2 win over Blackpool.
All these, and other remarkable scores are listed in a series of ebooks available on Amazon. Short and compact books, with brief details and highlights, they summarise a plethora of high-scoring games, not only in the English Premier and Football Leagues, but European and International football.
Written by Hitesh Darji author of Goal Thrillers