Blackpool 8 Charlton Ath 4 - 27 Sept 1952

Last updated : 10 January 2008 By Gerry Wolstenholme


Charlton themselves were not doing too badly as they had only two points less than Blackpool, having lost only their first game of the season and since then having four wins and three draws.

A crowd of 33,498 gathered to see what was to turn out to be an epic match in which Blackpool scored their highest number of goals in an official League game. Blackpool had only used 14 players in the first eight games and the side for the Charlton game showed only one change from that which had hammered Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 in the previous game. Ernie Taylor was fit again and he replaced Jackie Mudie in a side that was Farm, Shimwell, Garrett, Johnston, Crosland, Kelly, Matthews, Taylor, Mortensen, Brown and Perry.

Charlton were missing their regular goalkeeper Sam Bartram and six foot three inch South African Albert Uytenbogaardt replaced him for one of only six League games in which he appeared. Their side was Uytenbogaardt, Campbell, Lock, Fenton, Chamberlain, Hammond, Hurst, Evans, Vaughan, Duffy and Kiernan.

The day was very rainy and the crowd winding its way into the ground was described by one observer as "resembling raincoated caterpillars" while the pitch was said to have "lakes and lagoons scattered on it". And Blackpool had the torrential rain at their backs after they won the toss and defended the goal at the north end of the ground.

It was at the other end where the first action of the afternoon occurred as Uytenbogaardt plucked a swirling centre from Bill Perry out of the air and then dramatically took the ball off the toes of Stan Matthews as the winger attempted to take the ball round him. But the goalkeeper's next touch of the ball was not as successful for he was picking it out of the net.

The move the brought Blackpool's opening goal after nine minutes began with a swift interchange of passes by the half backs before Mortensen received the ball and put it over the full back for Matthews to run onto. Matthews cut inside, headed for the by-line and sent over a low, bouncing cross. Before the onrushing Taylor and Brown could get to the ball Hammond, the Charlton left half, nipped in and shot out a leg that deflected the ball into the corner of the net with Uytenbogaardt diving despairingly to his left to save.

The first of 12 goals as Hammond knocks in an own goal
The first of 12 goals as Hammond knocks in an own goal

Ninety seconds later and it was 2-0.Allan Brown ran onto a perfectly placed pass by Matthews and half lost the bouncing ball. But he gathered it in before a Charlton defender could get to him and shot it wide of the goalkeeper to double the advantage. Even Stan Matthews tried a shot, as one commentator remarked "from a position until before this season he has never shot", and when Campbell hit a 30-yard back-pass to his goalkeeper, the South African had to dive to make a save as the ball skidded perilously towards the net.

There could have been more goals in the Charlton net as Taylor had a spinning shot grasped at the foot of the post and Perry headed a Matthews centre only for Uytenbogaardt to make another diving save. But after 27 minutes it was 3-0. Hammond was unfortunate in connecting with a pass from Brown that skidded off his shins and hit the post. Mortensen was onto it in a flash and prodded the ball over the line and into the empty net.

Two minutes later and Charlton rather surprisingly reduced the deficit as John Evans volleyed a cross from Hurst past a helpless George Farm. But by half-time Blackpool had scored two more goals. In the 43rd minute, after Tommy Garrett had gone limping onto the left wing, Perry had moved to half back and Hughie Kelly to full back, Taylor zig-zagged his way past three defenders and sent an inch-perfect pass to Brown. He swerved past one defender before hitting a powerful shot that Uytenbogaardt parried but could not prevent going into the net along with himself. And a minute later it was Brown again as he exchanged passes with Taylor before beating the diving goalkeeper to make it 5-1 at the break.

The limping Garrett continued on the left wing but his injury seemed to do him no harm for after 47 minutes he scored Blackpool's sixth goal. Brown created the goal as he deceived a defender and played in Taylor whose square pass was left by Mortensen for Garrett to fire a shot across the goal into the far wall of the net. It went with such force that it "cannoned out again as if it had hit concrete".

Spectators on the Spion Kop were roaring for more goals and Taylor nearly provided one when his shot was punched away for a corner by the goalkeeper who was having an extremely busy afternoon. Then in the 17th minute of the half the seventh goal did come and it was one the Blackpool spectators had been waiting for as Matthews scored his fourth goal of the season. A long downfield pass by Brown found the great man in the unaccustomed outside left position. He raced goalwards and as Uytenbogaardt came out to meet him he shot from what was described as "a nearly incredible angle" [many of his Blackpool goals came from such a position] into the far side of the net. The goal "sent the Kop a little mad"!

A minute later and it was 8-1. A cross from the right caused havoc in the Charlton defence and after two attempts had been kept out, Taylor shot it through a crowd of players on the line. Charlton to their credit never gave up and the fact that they came back and scored three goals in the final 20 minutes showed their fighting qualities.

After 70 minutes, by which time Blackpool had relaxed a little, Evans headed home past a bewildered Farm who was expecting his defenders to clear the danger. Ten minutes later and Charlton were awarded a penalty when one of their forwards was fouled. Lock stepped up and converted it and then two minutes later a shot from 30 yards by Vaughan flew through Farm's hands, hit the bar and bounced down over the line. And that was all she wrote as the game ended an astonishing 8-4 in Blackpool's favour.

The local press headlined the victory "Out-of-this-world football has Charlton defence dizzy: POLISH AND PUNCH". And the after-match comment was that this had been "a glory day" for Blackpool and that "goals must come as fast as cars off an assembly line when forwards play such football as the Blackpool forwards played during the first hour of this amazing match." Passes had been "crisp and fast" and, even with a crippled full back, Charlton had no answer to Blackpool's sharpness. It was said to be "a demonstration of the old principle that if the ball is allowed to do the work and put into the open spaces something always happens". Even though Shimwell was said to have "never given an inch" and Johnston "refused to give one, too", the defence finished the game under a cloud. But the view was that its failures were "pardonable" as they were "playing on one flank in a strange formation" and, in the latter stages, "playing with a nonchalance almost pardonable".

The result, coupled with Liverpool's 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, sent Blackpool to the top of the First Division with seven wins, one draw and one defeat. And with 29 goals the club was leading the way in the number of goals scored. Manager Joe Smith had said in August "I think we might have a good season" and after this result it certainly looked that way. Sadly the team fell away a little thereafter but did eventually finish in a creditable seventh position. The ironic fact was that Charlton, despite the Bloomfield Road mauling, finished two points and two places above them!

NB The sequence of results around that time were as follows:

Portsmouth (a) 2-0
Preston North End (h) 1-1
Bolton Wanderers (h) 3-0
Aston Villa (a) 5-1
Chelsea (a) 0-4
Sunderland (h) 2-0
Chelsea (h) 3-1
Wolverhampton W (a) 5-2
Charlton Athletic (h) 8-4
Arsenal (a) 1-3
Burnley (h) 4-2
Tottenham Hotspur (a) 0-4

After all those early goals, only one League game brought four goals to Blackpool thereafter, a 4-1 win over Manchester City on 6 December 1952. But City got revenge in the final game of the season on 25 April, winning 5-0. Of course, four goals were scored in the FA Cup final against Bolton.