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3-0, and we didn't win

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 2:10 PM

First and foremost, congratulations to Morecambe for their spirited fightback to overturn a 3-0 halftime deficit and win, on Saturday 5th October 2013. Where does this archetypal "Game of two halves" stand in our history?

Going back to the formation of the Third Division (North) in 1921, we have had at least 95 halftime leads of three clear goals in first-team, competitive matches. (Ten early halftime scores are yet to be found.) The Morecambe game was the first occasion on which an opponent has turned our lead around to win. Indeed, there is only one occasion where that lead has been levelled out - the 3-3 draw at Rotherham in the 2000-1 LDV Cup, which we went on to win with an extra-time "Golden Goal."

How about our fightbacks from 3-0 down? As with our surrendering a three-goal halftime lead, there are two occasions on which we've fought back from being three adrift at halftime. This comes from only 65 known instances of our being three goals to the bad at the 45-minute mark, some 30 less than the 3-goal leads we've held, but again, ten early halftime scores are not recorded.

On both occasions, we managed to draw from a seemilngly lost position. Our most recent recovery was in that tremendously exciting Crewe game in our 2010-11 championship season, when a 4-1 halftime deficit was turned into a 5-5 draw. Prior to that, we came back from 3-0 down at home to Doncaster in 1982-3 to earn a point.

Going deep into the history of Chesterfield football, CW Everest's Town team saw a Grimsby Town fightback turn a 3-0 Chesterfield lead into a 5-4 Mariners win in 1917, but this was in an era of wartime football and matches are not regarded as first-class. I personally recall seeing a shell-shocked Lincoln reserve side troop off the Saltergate turf 5-0 down at half time in 1991-2, before the mother of all half-time team talks saw them bring the game back to 5-5. A last-minute penalty finally settled the game in our favour.

It is important to remember that these are possibly not the only instances of us or our opponents being three up at some point in a game, and failing to win. What I've set out above are recoveries from a three-goal halftime deficit. And anyone who saw us surrender that lead at Morecambe can take comfort from the law of averages, which suggests that it'll be another 92 years before it happens again!

Categories: Milestones, Morecambe