On this day in 1981: Chester v Plymouth abandoned after goalkeeper collides with goalpost

Ollie Irish

2nd, September 2020

The leaning post of Chester, which caused a match abandonment at Sealand Road

Eagle-eyed English football enthusiasts may notice an anomaly in the results of the first round, first legs of the 1981/82 League Cup (then known as the Milk Cup): all of the matches were played over one midweek period –  Monday 31st August to Wednesday 2nd September. All except one, that is: Chester v Plymouth Argyle, which was played a full week later, on Tuesday 8th September.

Why? Well, the original match was abandoned with little more than ten minutes to play, when Chester goalkeeper Grenville Millington (what a name, straight out of the Woodbine era) collided with his left-hand goalpost trying to make a save. The collision broke the post, concussed Millington, and since Chester had no spare goalposts, the referee decided to abandon the match, triggering a replay – Plymouth to Chester is a 550-mile round trip, by the way, and so Argyle ended up travelling more than 1,000 miles by coach all to compete in the first round of the League Cup.

Good thing they won, then. Argyle drew 1-1 at Sealand Road in the rescheduled game, then won 1-0 at Home Park in the second leg. There was no fairy tale, mind, as they were knocked out by Middlesbrough in the second round. (Liverpool won the Milk Cup that season, beating Spurs 3-1 in the final at the old Wembley.)

What of the unfortunate Grenville Millington? Show some respect, Pies – the Welshman is a Chester legend, playing almost 300 games for them from 1973-83. According to Wiki, he is now 68 and still works as a goalkeeping coach, although we wouldn’t be surprised if he hung up his gloves a while ago. Bonus fact: Gren’s older brother was the late Tony Millington, who played 21 times in goal for Wales.

Fans gather after the final game at Sealand Road, in April 1990 – Chester beat Rotherham 2-0 in front of a crowd of 3,827 (photo: Ray Crofts)

As for the stadium, Chester played at Sealand Road from 1906-1990. You can check out a bunch of terrific photos of the stadium on the Cheshire Live website.

Posted in League Cup, Retro

Share this article: Email

Leave a Reply