Top 10 Ghost Goals

The goal line technology debate reared its big ugly head again this weekend after QPR saw a perfectly legitimate effort cross the line, only for the officials to disagree. Then followed the inevitable bandwagon of people screaming at Sepp Blatter with a string of inappropriate words to voice their displeasure at the buffoon’s inability to adapt what would be such an obvious solution to such a big problem in football. GOALLINE TECHNOLOGY. Still, now that rant is over, here are the Top 10 Ghost Goals:

  1. Clint Hill – QPR vs. Bolton, 2012 – Seems only right to start with the most topical. Things haven’t been going QPR’s way at the moment and this incident served to underline that. With the game locked at 0-0, Hill saw his header clawed away from the goal by Adam Bogdan, but only after it had clearly crossed the line. Cue the pandemonium and the predictable defeat for the R’s. Sod’s law…
  1. Frank Lampard – England vs. Germany, 2010 – Ah, the one that got away. With England 2-0 down after a dismal first half display, Matthew Upson offered the side a glimmer of hope just before half time with a neat header. Almost immediately after, the Three Lions broke up the field and Lampard lofted a drive over German keeper Manuel Neuer, before wheeling away to celebrate with his jubilant teammates. Even Fabio Capello looked pleased. Wrong. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda decided to add his name to the villains of English football list, notching himself right up there with Maradona, Diego Simone and Emile Heskey. England went on to get thumped 4-1 and humiliated in South Africa. Four more years then boys…
  1. Pedro Mendes – Tottenham vs. Manchester United, 2005 – Back in the days when Tottenham weren’t expected to beat any of the Top Four, Spurs were level at Old Trafford when Mendes tried an astonishing 45-yard lob that looped towards keeper Roy Carroll. The Northern Irish shot-stopper did what he does best and made a right pig’s ear of it, letting the ball squirm out of his grasp and over the line. Not in the mind of the referee however, who disallowed it, ensuring United held onto their point. And to think Fergie complains the officials are biased AGAINST United.
  1. Freddie Sears – Crystal Palace vs. Bristol City, 2009 – Sears was on loan to Palace at the time from West Ham, looking to bag a few goals to impress his employers at Upton Park. He seemed to have made a good start, hooking the ball past the keeper so hard it bounced straight out of the bottom corner. Unbelievably those in charge decided the ball hadn’t gone in at all, one can only assume because they thought it hit the post. Remarkable. Sears’s manager, Neil Warnock was obviously very reserved about the whole situation, stating afterwards: “We can put a man on the moon, time serves of 100 miles per hour at  Wimbledon, yet we cannot place a couple of sensors in a net to show when a goal has been scored.”


  1. Sulley Muntari – AC Milan vs. Juventus, 2012 – Just to prove it isn’t just the English officials who have an inability to see whether the ball goes over the line or not, Sulley Muntari pops up with a header from approximately a yard out. Although Buffon makes a valiant attempt at palming the ball away from the line, it’s obvious to everyone else in the ground that Muntari has found the back of the net.


  1. Clive Allen – Coventry vs. Crystal Palace, 1980 – When Coventry won a free kick just outside the area, Clive Allen stepped up and rifled it into the top right hand corner superbly. Even John Motson called it ‘tremendous’. The referee didn’t agree however, believing the ball struck the crossbar instead of the stanchion inside the goal. Ah, the curse of the dreaded stanchion. Ask Freddie Sears about that one.


  1. Paddy Connolly – Dundee United vs. Partick Thistle, 1993 – In fairness, the Scottish league needs more incidents like this just to remind people that teams other than Rangers and Celtic compete. The officials on this day made one of the biggest cock-ups ever seen related to goal line incidents however. Paddy Connolly of Dundee United thought he’d scored a routine goal from a corner, but once again, cracked the ball against our old friend the stanchion. Even better was the fact that the defender picked up the ball, passed it to his goalkeeper who booted it up field to prepare for the restart. No goal, but no handball either? Baffling.

And a few that were given:

  1. John Eustace (og.) – Watford vs. Reading, 2008 – The ultimate ghost goal was awarded by Stuart Attwell in this entertaining Championship clash. A goalmouth scramble is always difficult to keep an eye on, but in this case the ball goes nowhere near the line. However linesman Nigel Bannister decided the ball had actually entered the goal when it deflected off Watford’s John Eustace. The wrong side of the post…Still, it was awarded. Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd described it as “like a UFO landing.” Such a ghost goal, it’s positively supernatural.
  1. Frank Lampard –Chelsea vs. Tottenham, 2011 – You win some, you lose some Frankie boy. Lampard notched up his second entry in this list with an effort last season against Spurs in the Premier League. It was no surprise to see the ball slip through Heurelho Gomes’s hands, but it was a surprise to see the referee award Chelsea a goal after that moment. For all of Gomes’s stupidity, for once he hadn’t thrown the ball in his own net and Chelsea sealed the three points controversially.


10. Geoff Hurst – England vs. Germany, 1966 – Did it? Didn’t it? Who bloody cares, it was all over not long after anyway. We’ll                    take that one for all those years of hurt.

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