The festive period has witnessed some exciting matches over the years.
The Boxing Day is a momentous occasion across the world. Unboxing gifts after Christmas night adds gloss to a very special period of the year.
Boxing Day is considered an important period in the sporting calendar too. Some of the biggest teams across different sports face each other on this momentous day. In football, it allows fans and families to sit back and enjoy the action with their loved ones during the momentous day.
In the sport, the English football leagues are the only competitions active during the festive period. Over the years, the English top-flight has witnessed some cracking Boxing Day games as well. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the five most exhilarating Boxing Day games of all-time.
5. Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool (1978)
Boxing Day in 1978 pitted the two biggest clubs in English football as Manchester United faced Liverpool at Old Trafford. The hosts looked to extend Liverpool’s goalless run of five consecutive games at Old Trafford.
However, Liverpool sent the Red Devils faithful into shock with a 0-3 win. The Liverpool trio of Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case, and David Fairclough put Manchester United to the sword on the day. It is also considered that Fairclough’s goal was so good that even the home fans were left applauding it.
4. Hull City 2-3 Manchester United (2013)
It hasn’t always been sour for Manchester United fans on Boxing Day though. In fact, the team’s historic association with comebacks also has a few Boxing Day tales behind it.
Manchester United faced Hull City on December 26, 2013. But it started unlike anything ideal as the Red Devils trailed 2-0 against Hull within just 15 minutes. But they fought back and equalized before half-time through Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney.
James Chester, who opened the scoring for Hull City, ended up turning the ball into his own net following the hour mark. The own goal gave Manchester United the eventual winner and capped another spectacular comeback.
3. Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham (2017)
Bournemouth and West Ham United played arguably the most chaotic Boxing Day game ever. The Hammers took the lead through James Collins before Nathan Ake and Dan Gosling led Bournemouth’s comeback.
Bournemouth spurned their lead through an error from Asmir Begovic to allow Marko Arnautovic to equalize. The Austrian scored his second to put West Ham in the lead in the 89th minute.
Just when it seemed like David Moyes’ men would run away with the victory, Callum Wilson equalized for the Cherries in the 93rd minute. The goal was mired in controversy as Wilson was seen to have scored using his hand. But the referee allowed the goal to stand denying West Ham the victory.
2. Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle (2012)
Manchester United scripted another memorable comeback against Newcastle United on Boxing Day in 2012. The start was anything but ideal as Newcastle took an early lead through James Perch. Jonny Evans equalized for the Red Devils but also scored one for Newcastle. He turned the ball into his own net to restore the Magpies’ lead just three minutes after his goal.
Patrice Evra’s equalizer in the 58th minute was surpassed by Papiss Cisse 10 minutes later. But Van Persie completed United’s third and final return in the game with a goal 12 minutes from time.
Just when it seemed the game might end up in a draw, Javier Hernandez stepped up to score in the final minute. The Mexican scored from close range to clinch three points for his side. The game was legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Boxing Day game. His side capped it off in trademark fashion with a comeback 4-3 win against the Magpies.
1. Fulham 10-1 Ipswich (1963)
Fulham and Ipswich played one of the highest-scoring games in English football league history on Boxing Day in 1963. The Cottagers put 10 goals past Ipswich on the day. Fulham led 5-1 at half-time and Graham Leggat’s four-goal tally and Bobby Howfield’s hat-trick capped the Cottagers’ big win.
The massive victory capped a goal-laden Boxing Day fixture list. 66 goals were scored across the 10 games scheduled on the day. It still remains a record in English football.
Some other huge results on the day were Blackburn smashing West Ham 8-2. Burnley hit Manchester United for six. Liverpool won 6-1 against Stoke while West Brom and Tottenham played a 4-4 draw. Wolves and Aston Villa also played a 3-3 draw to cap the wildest Boxing Day in league history.