Top 10 Football Ghost Goals (Videos)

Chris Wright

15th, March 2012


By Tom Mordey

The timeless goal-line technology debate reared its big, ugly head again last weekend after QPR and Clint Hill saw a perfectly legitimate effort cross the line, only for the officials to disagree.

Then followed the inevitable bandwagon of people screaming at Sepp Blatter from far, far away with a string of inappropriate words to voice their displeasure at the Swiss buffoon’s inability to ingratiate what would appear to be a fairly obvious solution to such a big problem in football. Goal-line technology.

Still, now that rant is over, here are the Top 10 Ghost Goals…

1. Clint Hill – QPR vs. Bolton, 2012 – Seems only right to start with the most topical. Things haven’t been going QPR’s way at the moment and this incident served to underline that. With the game locked at 0-0, Hill saw his header clawed away from the goal by Adam Bogdan, but only after it had clearly crossed the line. Cue the pandemonium and the predictable defeat for the R’s. Sod’s law. Owen Coyle rubbed it in after the game, commending Bogdan for his ‘great save’ despite acknowledging the ball was over the line…

2. Frank Lampard – England vs. Germany, 2010 – Ah, the one that got away. With England 2-0 down after a dismal first half display, Matthew Upson offered the side a glimmer of hope just before half time with a neat header. Almost immediately after, the Three Lions broke up-field and Lampard lofted a drive over German keeper Manuel Neuer before wheeling away to celebrate with his jubilant teammates. Even Fabio Capello looked pleased.

Swerve. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda decided to add his name to English football’s little list o’ villains, pencilling himself right up there with Maradona, Diego Simone and Emile Heskey by waving for play to continue. England went on to get thumped 4-1 and unceremoniously barrelled out of the tournament in South Africa. Four more years it is then boys…

3. Pedro Mendes – Tottenham vs. Manchester United, 2005 – Back in the days when Tottenham weren’t expected to beat any of the Top Four, Spurs were level at Old Trafford when Mendes tried an astonishing 45-yard lob that looped towards keeper Roy Carroll. The Northern Irish shot-stopper did what he does best and made a right pig’s ear of it, letting the ball squirm out of his grasp and over the line by a good few yards. Not in the mind of the referee however, who disallowed it, ensuring United held onto their point. And to think Fergie has the gall to complain that officials are biased against United…

4. Freddie Sears – Crystal Palace vs. Bristol City, 2009 – Sears was on loan to Palace at the time from West Ham, looking to bag a few goals to impress his employers at Upton Park. He seemed to have made a good start, hooking the ball past the keeper so hard it bounced straight out of the bottom corner. Unbelievably, those in charge decided the ball hadn’t gone in at all, one can only assume because they thought it hit the post. Remarkable.

Sears’s manager, Neil Warnock, obviously remained dignified and reserved about the whole situation, barking afterwards: “We can put a man on the moon, time serves of 100 miles per hour at Wimbledon, yet we cannot place a couple of sensors in a net to show when a goal has been scored…”

5. Sulley Muntari – AC Milan vs. Juventus, 2012 – Just to prove it isn’t only English officials who have an inability to see whether the ball goes over the line or not, Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari pops up with a header from approximately a yard out. Although Buffon makes a valiant attempt at palming the ball away from the line, it’s obvious to everyone else in the ground that Muntari has found the back of the net – except the one guy that matters…

6. Clive Allen – Coventry vs. Crystal Palace, 1980 – When Palace won a free kick just outside the area, Clive Allen stepped up and rifled it into the top right hand corner superbly. Even John Motson called it ‘tremendous’. The referee didn’t agree however, believing the ball struck the crossbar instead of the stanchion inside the goal. Ah, the curse of the dreaded stanchion. Ask Freddie Sears about that one…

7. Paddy Connolly – Dundee United vs. Partick Thistle, 1993 – In fairness, the Scottish league probably needs more incidents like this just to remind people that teams other than Rangers and Celtic compete. The officials on this day made one of the biggest goal-line cock-ups ever seen. Paddy Connolly of Dundee United thought he’d scored a routine goal from a corner, but once again, cracked the ball against our old friend the stanchion. Even better was the fact that the defender picked up the ball, passed it to his goalkeeper who booted it up field to prepare for the restart. No goal, but no handball either? Baffling…

And here’s a few that were given…

8. John Eustace (og.) – Watford vs. Reading, 2008 – The ultimate ghost goal was awarded by the FA’s specially fast-tracked ref Stuart Attwell and almost destroyed what little reputation he had. A goalmouth scramble is always difficult to keep an eye on, but linesman Nigel Bannister decided a richochet off Watford captain John Eustace had gone in when, in fact, the ball did no such thing. It was a goal so ghostly, it positively glowed with ectoplasm…

9. Frank Lampard – Chelsea vs Tottenham, 2011 – You win some, you lose some, eh Frankie boy? Lampard notched up his second entry in this list with an effort last season against Spurs in the Premier League. It came as absolutely no surprise to see the ball squirt through Heurelho Gomes’s hands, but what did come as a surprise was seeing the referee award Lampard the goal. For all of Gomes’s countless acts of stupidity, for once he hadn’t thrown the ball into his own net. Chelsea went on to seal the three points controversially…

10. Geoff Hurst – England vs Germany, 1966 – Did it? Didn’t it? Who bloody cares, it was all over not long after anyway. We’ll take that one for all those years of aforementioned hurt…

Tom is the editor over at The Coin Toss blog. You can also follow him on that there Twitter at @The_CoinToss if you’re all hip and junk.

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  1. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Ah number 10, all those butthurt Germans who still talk about the Wembley tor…

  2. Herr Sparkle says:

    Ah number 2, all those butthurt Brits who still talk about the Bloemfontein goal…

  3. nick says:

    ahh the germans, no sense of humour at all.. not that you could include every such as occasion but david healy had a last minute equaliser against middlesbrough for fulham disallowed when it was a good two yards over the line, but i’m just a bitter cottager.

  4. Jeff says:

    Clive Allen was playing for Crystal Palace not Coventry… that’s evident from the video alone. Do your research.

  5. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Well played Herr Sparkle. For the record I’m not British.

  6. WildScotsman6 says:

    I’m just saying, improving the rules (such as offsides) is one thing. But adding goal line technology is opening up pandora’s box of trouble. Soon we’ll have call challenges (like a time-out) and camera reviews and other pish. Then again, reviewing a try in rugby doesn’t seem to bother anybody too much…. hmmm…..

  7. Y2Johnny says:

    Here are a couple of ghost goals from the Portuguese championship:

    1) Porto vs Benfica, in which the Porto GK, Vitor Baía, gets the ball from inside the goal, allowing Porto to draw the match, if memory serves correctly;

    2) Sporting vs União Leiria, where Sporting’s GK, Ricardo, defends the shot whilst sitting inside the goal, giving the victory to Sporting.

  8. Gav says:

    Duncan ferguson scoring for dundee united there. What a man…

  9. D says:

    @Y2Johnny: no one ever could prove that that Petit ball was in. It’s amazing/retarded that both Porto and Benfica supporters still discuss that in the middle of 2012. Porto won 0-1 with a Benni McCarthy early goal.

    There was also this play where Porto’s Clayton scores from a direct corner kick against Benfica a couple of years earlier and it didn’t get awarded, though I can’t find a youtube video of it.

  10. Piesfanfromgermany says:


    Skip to 1:40 to see the “goal” by Helmer.

  11. Rulas says:

    I just found this one… it happened in Costa Rica… Funny reaction of the commentators at the end…

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