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Ten Goal Thriller As Doc’s Diamonds Draw With Greenwood's ‘World Cup Winners’

In December 1966 Chelsea were struggling for form, though second in the League. Top of the table and imperious when Peter Osgood had broken his leg at the start of October, the side had won just three of their previous ten League games and had drawn their last four, as they faced a pre-Xmas London derby at Stamford Bridge against eleventh-place West Ham.

The Hammers line-up included their three World Cup Winners – Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. Manager Tommy Docherty announced that he had ‘told Ron (Harris) to look after World Cup hat-trick scorer Hurst. I believe that if we can take Hurst out of the game it will reduce West Ham’s scoring potential by half.’ Harris was duly booked for a late and heavy tackle and Hurst indeed failed to score. Unfortunately, a number of his team-mates did.

Chelsea lined up :- Bonetti; Kirkup, Hinton, Harris, McCreadie; Boyle, Hollins, Cooke; Baldwin, Hateley, Tambling.

As well as the World Cup trio West Ham’s side included the mercurial Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne, who Docherty deputed John Boyle to mark.

In front of 47,805 spectators and on a muddy pitch, Chelsea were surprisingly under early pressure and Byrne had an early goal chalked off for offside. Peter Bonetti made three important saves inside 20 minutes, the third a wonder save from a Peters header, which went over the keeper’s head. Unbelievably, Bonetti almost did a back somersault and somehow caught the ball, with Peters watching in disbelief. In performing this contortion he unfortunately landed flat on his back, injuring it in the process, which severely affected his mobility despite treatment from trainer Harry Medhurst. Sam Leitch, a top football writer of the 1960s and a man Docherty admired, thought it ‘one of the most spectacular saves I have ever seen’.

The Bonetti Wonder Save

Referee Mr Richards calls on trainer Harry Medhurst for Bonetti as Harris berates his defence

Chelsea’s luck ran out, though and Ex-Blue Peter Brabrook, with a header from a Sissons corner,  and Peters, with a close range first-time effort, both scored before the half hour was out as the visitors deservedly took a 0-2 lead.

Chelsea regrouped. Bobby Tambling hit a post after 40 minutes and Tommy Baldwin hit the rebound home, sending Docherty’s men into the dressing room in better heart. Tony Hateley, bought to replace Osgood but without the latter’s sublime on-ball skills, fired a thunderbolt home from outside the penalty area past keeper Jim Standen’s near post to equalise and Charlie Cooke volleyed a superb goal to put the home side 3-2 up, after Baldwin flicked on Hateley’s pass.

Tommy Baldwin scores Chelsea’s first


John Sissons, who played a dozen games for Chelsea eight years later, then scored twice from distance, the second from over thirty yards past a noticeably impaired goalkeeper, to restore the visiting lead.

The frenetic play continued and after Harris had handled while trying to intercept a cross, Byrne then had his penalty pushed by the brave Bonetti onto the post, but he fired home the rebound to put his side 5-3 up and surely the recipients of two points. The score had gone from 1-2 to 3-5 in ten minutes through a mix of quality attacking football and abject defending. Jubilant visiting supporters under the North Stand chanted ‘we want six, we want six’ and there seemed every chance they might get them. Their heroes, though, made what turned out to be a mistake by changing tactics and trying to hold onto their lead and time waste, rather than attack as they had, most effectively, for the whole game up to that point.

After Moore fouled Hateley, Tambling hit home the resultant penalty to make the score 4-5 with ten minutes still to go and increase the crowd noise significantly. It looked as though the struggling visiting defence would hold out but in added time and in an increasingly frenzied atmosphere, Tambling equalised, squeezing Cooke’s cross home off his shin amidst cacophonous noise from the home supporters, who given the way the game had gone were probably happy with a draw. In the process, Tambling broke Roy Bentley’s Chelsea league goal scoring record, with his 129th.

One of the most topsy-turvy games ever seen at Stamford Bridge, the match was a 5-5 cracker which stays in the mind of those present five decades later. I remember highlights of the game being on ‘Star Soccer’ on ITV but sadly I have never seen the footage since. Docherty, unsurprisingly, commented ‘I am never happy when there are so many defensive errors.’ Both sides looked much better going forward than in defence, but that made for a hugely entertaining game. Baldwin, the makeweight in the deal when George Graham left for Arsenal three months earlier, impressed with his industry and never-say-die spirit. Hateley, who had struggled since arriving at the club, had probably his best game for Chelsea up to that point.

It was the second 5-5 draw in the club’s history, the first being at Bolton in 1937, and that rarity has not occurred since.

Without Osgood, Chelsea’s title prospects gradually fell away, though they did reach the FA Cup Final. They eventually finished a disappointing ninth, West Ham a dismal sixteenth. The Hammers have never won the League and in the 1960s never finished higher than eighth, despite the presence of Moore, Hurst and Peters.

Tim Rolls

This article contains an expanded extract from Tim's book ‘Diamonds, Dynamos and Devils’ about Tommy Docherty’s Chelsea. It is available from eBay and Amazon.

Thanks to lifelong supporter and Chelsea author Neil Smith, whose piece on this game in a Chelsea match programme was used in this article.

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