Tottenham On This Day: Spurs Throw Away 4 Goal Lead In Ten-Goal Thriller


Laurie Brown scorers Spurs fourth [Photo: Logan Holmes]There have been numerous high scoring games between Tottenham and Aston Villa. In season 1965-66 at White Hart Lane Spurs had a 5 – 1 lead early in the second half but allowed Villa to recover to take a point in a 10-goal thriller.

Tottenham on this Day

9th March, 1966

Tottenham Hotspur 5 Aston Villa 5 1st Division

Scorers: Gilzean, Greaves, Saul, Brown, Robertson    Hateley (4), Deakin

Team: Jennings; Mullery, Knowles; Clayton, Brown, Mackay; Robertson, Greaves, Saul, Gilzean, Possee

Spurs 5 – 1 Up – Lucky to Draw

This was a transitional season for Tottenham as Bill Nicholson tried to put together a new team but it was proving very difficult to get the right balance to the team. The season had started well enough with the long awaited return of Dave Mackay from injury but following defeat in the FA Cup at Preston in early March the team was to win only two of their final thirteen League games. Right back was proving troublesome and Alan Mullery had had to step in for three games but this was to be the end of that experiment. Towards the end of the season some of the younger players were introduced with Joe Kinnear and Phil Beal being two who were able to make the most of the opportunity and through time became regular members of the team.

Initially in this game, things looked very positive, Spurs were three ahead after fifteen minutes, 4 – 1 ahead at half-time and 5  -1 up after five minutes of the second half. Jimmy Greaves had been the tormentor of Villa, creating the first for Alan Gilzean, scoring the second and then making the third for Frank Saul. After Laurie Brown added the fourth, Greaves set up the fifth for Jimmy Robertson. It was Greaves’ best performance since his return to the team after a long lay-off due to illness but then, however, came the Villa fight back and their headline grabbing recovery.

Tony Hateley had pulled a goal back when Spurs were three ahead but in the second half Villa scored three goals in four minutes. Hateley set up their second for Deakin and then completed his hat-trick. Villa equalised with 11 minutes to go as Hateley headed his fourth and they should have won when with three minutes remaining Deakin was clean through, he took the ball around Pat Jennings but tried to place his shot which allowed Alan Mullery to recover and clear the ball off the line.

1966 Spurs v Villa [Photo: Logan Holmes]