3-0 Down, 4-3 Up! Then The Old Dougie Fucked It Up!

In the brand new series, Blast from the past, we look at some memorable encounters from the past.

The day was 30th January 1985. Chelsea were being managed by club legend John Neal who has just the Blues to promotion from the 2nd division. They were to face Sheffield United in the replay of the League Cup (then known as the Milk Cup) quarter-finals. The first encounter at Stamford Bridge, two days earlier, had ended in a 1-1 draw with Wednesday’s goalkeeping legend Martin Hodge saving a second-half penalty from Kerry Dixon.


Date Venue Result Attendance
28 Jan 1985 Stamford Bridge 1-1 36,028
30 Jan 1985 Hillsborough 4-4 36,509
6 Feb 1985 Stamford Bridge 2-1 36,395

Wednesday made a blistering start to the game as Chelsea conceded 2 scrappy goals early on in the game. It seemed to get a reaction from the players and Chelsea were unlucky to get one back with David Speedie hitting the post. As the first half wore to an end, Sheffield United’s Marwood curled a left footed drive past Eddie Niedzwiecki into the corner of the net to leave Chelsea hanging by a thread. The score read a depressing 3-0 after the first half and Hillsborough was rocking. Chelsea had everything to do to get something out of the game.

Cannoville came on at half time in place of Colin Lee and provided instant impact by scoring with his first touch. A glimmer of hope shone through. Few minutes later, Kerry Dixon showed his quality with a great run through the defense and slotted the ball home when it looked like he had left it too late. 3-2 and game on!

Mickey Thomas was assisted by Pat Nevin as Chelsea scored the equalizer on a sensational counterattack. But it was Cannoville again, who scored a few minutes later to give Chelsea the lead after a scintillating piece of skill by Nevin in midfield.

Chelsea had completed a remarkable turnaround. The clock was ticking and home support had started to leave. The clock ticked 88, 89 and 90.

Then came the moment of heartbreak, in the 90th minute, Sheffield United’s went on a run inside Chelsea’s box inducing a foul from Doug Rougvie. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Chelsea fell short from a remarkable victory. The challenge was perceived as careless by the fans and the media.

3-0 down, 4-3 up,
Then the old Dougie, fucked it up.

The match went to extra time after 4-4 score but neither team could find the winner. Chelsea went on to win the 2nd replay at Stamford Bridge but lost to Sunderland in the semi-final over two legs.

Sterland later admitted in his autobiography that he’d dived and Rougvie had never touched him.

It was never a penalty. He (Rougvie) never touched me but I went down anyway. At the end of the game we shook hands and the commentator said what a nice gesture… actually we were giving each other verbals about the penalty, he was slaughtering me and I was returning the compliment. On TV it looked like we’d kissed and made up.

BBC commentator Tony Gubba described this match as the greatest game he ever saw.

Here are the highlights of the match if you are interested.

Chelsea lineup for the match
Chelsea’s League Cup run