Two weeks ago I wrote about the amazing speed of the goals in the Gillingham victory, pointing out that the four goals, scored in ten first half minutes, were the fastest four by a City team for almost 60 years and that Jacob Murphy's ten-minute hat-trick was the fastest by a City player since World War Two.
Keith Ballantyne, always ready with the killer question, apologised for being negative at such an exciting time but asked if City had ever CONCEDED goals at such a rapid rate of knots. He vividly remembers a 5-4 victory over Newcastle in the 1960s when City had a late collapse after leading 5-1.
That game was a Second Division game in January 1965 when the Magpies arrived at Highfield Road as league leaders. City were in devastating form and led 4-1 at half-time through a Marshall (og), Bobby Gould, Ken Hale & George Hudson. The score remained 5-1 until fifteen minutes from time when the visitors suddenly woke up and scored through McGarry (75 mins), Hilley (79) and McGarry again (87) – three goals in eight minutes. City just managed to hold on to take both points.
I can find a number of instances where City have conceded three goals quicker than that. The fastest came in 1983, soon after Bobby Gould took over as manager for the first time. City lost 5-2 at West Ham and the Hammers scored three goals in three minutes through Dave Swindlehurst (2) and Steve Whitton. The previous season, down the road at White Hart Lane, City conceded three goals in five minutes in a 4-0 defeat with Gary Brooke netting all three including a penalty. It is probably the fastest hat-trick ever against City and Brooke, normally not a prolific scorer, only scored two more goals in the remainder of the season.
The Sky Blues conceded three in six minutes at Molineux (1-3) in 2002 and three in seven minutes at Notts County (1-5) in 1983, at West Brom (1-6) in a League Cup tie in 1965 and in a 2-4 home defeat to Ipswich in 1982.
I also looked at games in which City let in four goals in quick succession and three games stand out. The record has to be at Highbury on the last day of the 1990-91 season. Arsenal were parading the League Championship trophy but City were giving the Gunners a good game. With 14 minutes remaining Arsenal led 2-1 and the result was in the balance. Then Arsenal stepped up a gear. Alan Smith made in 3-1 (76 minutes), Anders Limpar scored two to complete his hat-trick (78 and 85 minutes) and Perry Groves made in 6-1 (86 minutes) to make it four goals in 10 minutes.
City's 6-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in 1970 is still the largest defeat by an English team in a European competition, a record that Arsenal went close to emulating in the same city this season. On that wet night stand-in goalkeeper Eric McManus let in four goals in 15 first-half minutes.
At Stamford Bridge in 2000 City had a nightmare. After 24 minutes goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was sent off for supposedly bringing down Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a decision later overturned, and JFH scored the resulting penalty. The goal flood started in the 42nd minute when Jimmy scored his second and in the next sixteen minutes he scored two more with a Zola goal sandwiched between them. The final result was 6-1 and it would turn out to be substitute goalkeeper Alan Miller's only appearance for the club.
Three weeks ago I included a photograph of Jimmy Hill taken in 1964 with the Third Division trophy alongside what I described as a gnome. I wondered if any reader might know more about the gnome and Siobhan Kelly pointed out that it was a leprechaun and someone probably gave it him for good luck!
It is sad to hear of the death of former Sheffield United and England goalkeeper Alan Hodgkinson. Alan made 674 appearances for Sheffield United and won five England caps in the late 1950s. After retiring he became one of the most respected goalkeeping coaches was also employed by the Sky Blues as a goalkeeping coach during Gary McAllister's time. Alan, at five foot nine inches, one of the smallest ever England goalkeepers, was in goal for the Blades in the first top flight game at Highfield Road in 1967. In a 2-2 draw he had a solid game but was beaten by a John Key header and a long-range effort by Dietmar Bruck. I am sure the tribute to him at Bramall Lane tomorrow will be moving.