YNWA takes a look back at past memorable home League encounters as we prepare to welcome Chelsea for their 63rd visit in the League. Our overall home League record against the Blues is exceptional, reading 42 wins, thirteen draws and only seven defeats to date.
Previously on New Year's Day...
We have twice entertained Chelsea on this day in history. Danny Shone, Jimmy Walsh and Joseph Keetley struck as we won 3-1 in 1924. This was Keetley’s second and final reds goal. John Shafto and Willie Fagan netted as we drew 2-2 fourteen years later. We also visited Stamford Bridge eight years ago today, with Roberto Di Matteo grabbing the only goal of the game.
The opening game of last season brought us a 2-1 defeat, with Michael Owen scoring a twice-taken penalty, the 300th League goal since Gérard Houllier took sole charge. Steve Finnan and Harry Kewell made their official reds debuts in this game.
Late, late goals?
Vladimír ?micer struck a dramatic last-gasp winner from Emile Heskey’s cross in March 2002, to keep our League title hopes alive. Seven months later, Chelsea again succumbed to a last-minute winner, as Michael Owen finally broke the deadlock after Emile Heskey’s strike came back off an upright.
Chelsea had both Marcel Desailly and Dennis Wise sent off, for last-gasp challenges on Michael Owen and Erik Meijer respectively. David Thompson pounced from a free-kick to net the game’s only goal.
Patrik Berger not so Blue?
We delivered another comfortable reds victory in September 1996, this time 5-1. Patrik Berger netted a brace, to add to an Andy Myers own goal and a Robbie Fowler strike. This game was the 129th consecutive reds game Robbie had played in, but he sat out the next one, our return meeting with Finnish side Myllykosken Pallo-47 in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Eleven months later, Patrik Berger again revelled in facing the Blues, scoring his first hat-trick in English football in our 4-2 win, with Robbie Fowler netting the other late on. Chelsea’s Bernard Lambourde was sent off shortly before the half-hour mark, with the score still level at 1-1.
Dean Saunders, who scored, injured Paul Elliott in a challenge that ended his career, for which Deano was later unsuccessfully sued. Jamie Redknapp netted our other goal.
We clinched our seventh League title with a 2-1 win, thanks to a Roger Hunt brace.
We suffered our fourteenth consecutive League game without a win, with Eric Anderson scoring a late equaliser to ensure we got something out of the game. Unsurprisingly given such a terrible run, we were relegated that season having finished bottom.
Left-half Bob Paisley made his reds bow in September 1946, while Billy Liddell scored direct from a corner on his League debut. He in fact scored twice, as did Willie Fagan and Bill Jones, with Jack Balmer rounding out the scoring in our 7-4 win. Seven years earlier, Cyril Done netted in his first reds game to hand us a 1-0 win, but the season was soon abandoned. Bill Kinghorn made his reds bow in a 2-1 win in August 1938, with future boss Phil Taylor netting twice.
Legendary forward Gordon Hodgson played his 377th and final reds game as we lost 3-2 in December 1935, with Fred Howe and Berry Nieuwenhuys on the scoresheet. He had previously scored a hat-trick as we saw off the West London outfit 3-1 in September 1930.
We recorded our biggest ever win over the Blues, as we thumped them 6-0, with Victor Wright and South African Berry Nieuwenhuys grabbing two apiece. Fred Howe and Lance Carr also scored. This partly made up for having been beaten 4-1 in that season’s earlier League game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea completed their only ever League double over the reds by winning 1-0.
Fred Pagnam scored a first-half hat-trick, as we won 3-2 in February 1915. James Stewart scored a hat-trick in our 5-1 trouncing in January 1910, with Jack Parkinson netting the other two.