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West Ham United 8 – 1 Newcastle United April 21, 1986
This was a fantastic season for the Hammers. For most of the season’s second half West Ham were in the top seven chasing Division One’s top spot. Despite a superb final 14 league results of 11 wins and only three reverses, the Hammers had to settle for third place behind the two Liverpudlian clubs, Liverpool and Everton. Incredibly, going into the final three games of the season West Ham were still in with a chance of clinching the championship. For West Ham supporters it was edge of the seat stuff.
1985-86 was the club’s highest ever league placing beating the 6th places achieved in 1958-59 and 1972-73.
Nine Consecutive League Victories
a streak of nine consecutive league wins,
a double headed strike force of McAvennie and Cottee firing on all cylinders to
rattle in 26 and 20 league goals respectively, and
one high scoring match in particular.
Season 1985-86 included many highlights
Biggest League Win for 18 Years
The high scoring match was the home league game against Newcastle United on Monday April 21, 1986. The match had been originally scheduled for Saturday March 8 but was postponed due to a 5th round FA Cup tie against Manchester United taking preference.
Before the game kicked-off West Ham were lying 5th with a seven point lead over 10th place Newcastle United. On paper it looked like it could be a close contest.
But a close contest it wasn’t! West Ham clocked their biggest win of the season and their widest winning margin since beating Sunderland 8-0 in October 1968. The final score of 8-1 helped lift the Hammers into third place.
The 24,735 crowd were treated to a sublime performance from the Hammers. The Daily Telegraph match report described it as: The record books will be unable to do justice to the breathtaking fluidity of the attacking football which signalled the potency of their challenge to the Merseyside monopoly.
Instead, they will probably concentrate on the central characters of an evening when football intruded into the realms of theatre – Martin Thomas, Chris Hedworth and Peter Beardsley.
Most West Ham fans will remember the game for the unlikely hat-trick hero. Despite sharing a total of 54 goals in all competitions that season, McAvennie and Cottee only managed one goal between them that late April evening. Hero of the 90 minutes was captain and central defender Alvin Martin!
Captain Martin’s Hat-trick
It was the one and only time he netted three for the Hammers,
Each of his goals (3rd, 64th & 84th mins) was scored against a different goalkeeper!
Finally, it was the only hat-trick a Hammer scored in 1985-86 season. Despite Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee dominating the season’s goal charts neither matched Alvin’s treble on April 21st, 1986.
Alvin’s hat-trick is remembered for several reasons:
It’s not often a centre-half scores a hat-trick and even rarer that he should do it against three different goalkeepers. Unfortunately for Newcastle injuries to their first and then replacement goalkeepers meant West Ham faced three keepers: Martin Thomas, Chris Hedworth and finally England striker, Peter Beardsley.
The Eight Goals
Goal No.2 - 11th minute 2-0:
Thomas could only fumble Ray Stewart’s driven cross over the line
It was West Ham’s night in a game when they created many more chances including a late Tony Cottee header hitting the bar. For manager, John Lyall, it was a game of: Lots of memorable moments and I think the nicest moment for me was seeing Paul Goddard come on the field and score. It proved that there is still some sentiment in football because the fans appreciated that the boy has not been able to get in the team yet has remained tremendously loyal and not complained. He is the sort of player a manager dreams of so it was great that his first touch should provide a goal.
West Ham United:
Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, George Parris, Tony Gale, Alvin Martin (capt), Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward, Frank McAvennie, Alan Dickens (Paul Goddard 81 mins), Tony Cottee, Neil Orr
Martin Thomas (Ian Stewart 46 mins), Neil McDonald, John Bailey, David McCreery, John Anderson, Glenn Roeder (capt), Paul Stephenson, Chris Hedworth, Billy Whitehurst, Peter Beardsley, Tony Cunningham
Frank McAvennie retrieves the ball from the back of the visitor’s net after Magpies’ goalkeeper Martin Thomas, playing with a suspect shoulder, had failed to keep out West Ham’s second from Ray Stewart
Alan Dickens exposes Newcastle’s defensive vulnerability as he climbs to plant in a header close to half-time – the ball flicking off visiting skipper Glenn Roeder for an own goal which put the Hammers four up at the break
Frank McAvennie signals the goal... Thomas understandably upset
First of his three... Alvin Martin (No5) puts the Hammers 1-0 up
More misery for the injured Thomas! Tony Cottee collects the ball following the long-range Neil Orr shot which made it 3-0 after 35 minutes
Frank McAvennie gets above David McCreery to head Hammers’ seventh from Tony Cottee’s late second-half cross... taking the West Ham front duo’s conbined haul this season to the half-century mark
Newcastle’s second-half stand-in goalkeeper Chris Hedworth, who moved from midfield to take over when Thomas did not resume after the interval, is beaten at the near post by the header which gave Alvin Martin his second goal
Biggest Win in Best Ever
Martin 3 [1 pen], Stewart, Orr,
Goddard, McAvennie, o.g.
Match day souvenir:
Hammers' fan Phil Garner's ticket signed by West Ham legend Tony Cottee
Three league games to go, West Ham are lying third and in with a chance of becoming champions of England’s top tier of league football! Sounds far fetched but this is what happened in season 1985-86.
Alvin gets the ball
Goal No.8 - 84th minute 8-1:
Roeder handled in the penalty area and the usual penalty taker, Ray Stewart, allows Alvin Martin to take the well placed spot kick to complete his amazing treble.
Goal No.1 - 3rd minute 1-0:
Alvin gave Martin Thomas no chance with a third minute volley from close range
Goal No.3 - 35th Minute 3-0:
This was possibly the best goal of the evening when Neil Orr’s drive from close to 30 yards out flew into the net.
Goal No.4 - 43rd minute 4-0:
An own goal by future West Ham manager, Glenn Roeder, when he back healed a Dickens header into his own net.
Goal No.5 - 64th minute 5-0:
Hedworth who by now had taken over in goal from the injured Thomas, was unable to prevent Martin’s second goal, a firm header from Mark Ward’s right wing corner
77th minute 5-1:
Billy Whitehurst pulls a goal back from a corner for Newcastle United
Goal No.6 - 81st minute 6-1:
Substitute Paul Goddard scores the sixth with his first touch
Magpies’ third goalkeeper on the night, England striker Peter Beardsley, and two defenders cannot stop (out of picture) sub Paul Goddard heading number six with his first touch, McAvennie is on hand to make sure. Beardsley donned the jersey after Hedworth was forced to retire with a suspected broken collar bone sustained in saving from Tony Cottee
Goal No.7 - 83rd minute 7-1:
Frank McAvennie scored his customary goal with a decisive header
Alvin Martin fires home the 85th minute penalty kick which completed both the scoring and his first-ever hat-trick
Paul Goddard, Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee congratulate their skipper
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
The final Saturday of the season saw the Hammers beat doomed West Bromwich Albion 3–2 at The Hawthorns, but on the same day Liverpool sealed the title.
West Ham's final match of the season would be a straight shoot-out for second place against Everton at Goodison Park. The contest was won by Everton, who triumphed 3–1 over the Hammers.
Everton's prolific striker Gary Lineker also defeated Frank McAvennie in the contest for the title as First Division leading goalscorer, with Lineker on 30 goals and McAvennie on 26.
There would be no chance of a UEFA Cup challenge the following season, as UEFA voted for the ban on English clubs in European competitions (imposed the previous year in the wake of the Heysel disaster when 39 spectators died as a result of rioting by Liverpool fans at the European Cup final) to continue for a second season.
Footnote to West Ham' s Best Ever League Season ...