The Football Association (FA) Challenge Cup was inaugurated in 1871 and in its long, illustrious history has seen several eye-watering scorelines. The highest scoring FA Cup match ever was a first round encounter between Preston North End and Hyde at Deepdale on October 15, 1887, which the home team led 12-0 at half-time and went on to win 26-0. Indeed, seven years later, the Lilywhites were at it again, with an 18-0 thrashing of Reading, also in the first round, at Deepdale on January 27, 1894.
However, since the turn of the twenty-first century, the highest scoring FA Cup match took place between Torquay United, of the National League, and Crawley Town, of League Two, at Plainmoor on November 8, 2020. In a bizarre clash, the Gulls led 2-0 at half-time, but shortly afterwards visiting goalkeeper Tom McGill was knocked unconscious, leading to a lengthy suspension of play. Tom Nichols’ penalty gave the Reds hope and they duly equalised deep into stoppage time. However, there was still time for a goal at either end, thereby sending the tie into extra-time after 111 minutes played. Torquay led 5-3, courtesy of two penalties from Asa Hall, but were again pulled back by Nicholls, who scored twice to complete his hat-trick, before Crawley striker Ashley Nadesan made it 5-6 with just two minutes of extra-time remaining.
The FA Cup of course isn’t the only football competition with mind boggling scorelines. Indeed over the years in the UEFA Champions League we have seen impressive goal fests too. It was only September last year that we witnessed Bayern Munich trounce Barcelona in a seemingly improbable 8-2 drubbing. That knockout game left no doubt as to who deserved to continue in the competition. Perhaps most surprising though is that this four goals a half thriller was not even the highest scoring game in UEFA Champions League history.
In fact the game was the third highest scoring in the history of the competition. The prize for second highest scoring game goes to Monaco’s famous 8 – 3 victory against Deportivo in 2003. 11 goals in 90 minutes is near unrivaled entertainment for those watching (unless they are Deportivo fans of course!). The highest scoring game bar none though goes to Dortmund with a 8 – 4 in against Legia Warszawa on 22/11/2016. This group game brought us an astonishing 12 goals, which pretty much shows that anything is possible in the beautiful game.
Being well versed in the art of outliers such as these goal fests can be handy when it comes to placing a bet. Often people draw limits in their mind as to how a game will pan out but realistically there is sometimes far more scope for variation than the average football fan sees. Those ‘ahead of the game’ in terms of how they saw the result going can often get great odds over those who go for a more safe and predictable outcome. Sure when you go the ‘outsider’ route it naturally follows that your selection is going to come in less frequently, but it comes down to value over time, and if your bet has a significantly greater chance of coming up than the odds suggestion, you should still do it because in the long run it will pay off financially.