Martin’s historic hat-trick in 8-1 rout of Newcastle is a keeper for Hammers
PUBLISHED: 10:30 22 April 2020
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Alvin Martin made no fewer than 596 appearances for West Ham United over a 22-year period of dedicated service at the club.
But one particular match stands out among the many and this week marks the anniversary of the 8-1 win over Newcastle United, when the centre-back netted a hat-trick.
Not only that, Martin beat three different goalkeepers in doing so to write his name into the record books – and ensure his place in many a footballing quiz!
And I was lucky enough to be among the 24,735 crowd at Upton Park on that Monday night to see history in the making.
I was in my first year of secondary school – at Dagenham’s Robert Clack – and sat high up in the Main Stand with my dad, my Heron Park Athletic Under-12 teammate Carl Middleton and his dad Sid.
I had been taken to earlier matches by my older cousins Mark and Matt and stood on the North Bank the night Bury were hammered 10-0 in the Milk Cup in October 1983.
But this was different, with West Ham dreaming of winning their first-ever League title and the win lifted John Lyall’s side up to third place, with games in hand on Everton and leaders Liverpool.
Thanks to YouTube, I was able to watch edited highlights and refresh my memory of that night, some 34 years on.
Only three minutes had been played when an inswinging free-kick from the left by Alan Devonshire reached Martin at the far post for a close-range finish.
Ray Stewart’s driven cross from the right was then fumbled over the line by Martin Thomas, who was said to be carrying a shoulder injury, to make it 2-0.
And a long-range effort from Neil Orr was palmed over the line by Thomas, before a long throw-in from Stewart was headed on twice by Martin, before Alan Dickens nodded goalwards and saw the ball deflected in by future Hammers boss Glenn Roeder to make it 4-0 at half-time.
Frank McAvennie chipped wide after being played through the middle in the second half, before emergency keeper Chris Hedworth injured his right shoulder in foiling Tony Cottee towards the right edge of the box.
Hedworth denied Cottee with a save after Devonshire and George Parris had combined, but Martin powered home a header from Mark Ward’s right-wing corner to make it 5-0.
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Billy Whitehurst netted with a low left-footed shot from a Newcastle corner in reply, 13 minutes from time, but the Hammers had plenty more to say on the matter in the closing stages.
Parris was denied following another rampaging run forward from left-back, but then combined again with Devonshire, whose deep cross found substitute Paul Goddard beyond the far post to head past Peter Beardsley – now in goal after Hedworth suffered a suspected broken collarbone – with his first touch.
And it was 7-1 almost immediately from the restart as Newcastle returned the ball all the way back to their own box for Beardsley to kick downfield, where Parris gained possession and the ball was moved out to the left wing to Cottee, who crossed for McAvennie to get in on the act with a headed near-post finish.
And when Newcastle meekly surrendered possession once more from the kick-off, Ward crossed into the box for Cottee, where Roeder was adjudged to have handled and referee Bob Hamer pointed to the spot.
The visitors were incensed and protests continued under the watchful eye of several policemen patrolling the touchline in front of the South Bank, before regular penalty-taker Stewart handed over responsibilities to Martin.
And after calmly taking just four steps up to the ball, Martin sidefooted the spot-kick into the corner of the net, sending Beardsley the wrong way.
West Ham had to settle for a best-ever third place finish at the end of that season, but Martin and Beardsley would head to Mexico later that summer as team-mates in England’s World Cup squad.
Martin played in a 3-0 win over Paraguay in the last 16, in place of the suspended Terry Fenwick, in which Beardsley found the net alongside two-goal Gary Lineker.
But it proved to be the West Ham defender’s only appearance at the tournament that summer, with Fenwick back in the side for the quarter-final tie against Argentina, when Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal and stunning individual effort sent Bobby Robson’s men to a 2-1 defeat.
As for that night against Newcastle, West Ham went close to a ninth in the closing stages when Martin headed on another corner and Cottee nodded against the crossbar from point-blank range to remain empty-handed.
Our car pulled up at a set of traffic lights next to Cottee on the way home, which caused some excitement, and we shrugged our shoulders at him as if to say ‘how come you didn’t score?’
TC shrugged too and we got the chance to congratulate Alvin a couple of years later, when he very kindly handed out trophies after one of our matches in Parsloes Park, Dagenham!
West Ham: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, George Parris, Tony Gale, Alvin Martin, Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward, Frank McAvennie, Alan Dickens (Paul Goddard 81), Tony Cottee, Neil Orr.
Newcastle: Martin Thomas (Ian Stewart 46), Neil McConald, John Bailey, David McCreery, John Anderson, Glenn Roeder, Paul Stephenson, Chris Hedworth, Billy Whitehurst, Peter Beardsley, Tony Cunningham.
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