Latchford Hits Thirty!

Latchford Hits Thirty!

EVERTON 6 CHELSEA 0

29 April 1978

Everton had very little to play for when Chelsea came to Goodison Park for the final match of the 1977/78 season.

Nottingham Forest had long since secured the title but the stadium still buzzed with excited anticipation long before the kick-off.

Almost 40,000 fans were waiting to see whether Bob Latchford could score the two goals he needed to reach 30 for the season and win a £10,000 national newspaper prize in the process.

The Toffees were in fine form and stormed to a 3-0 advantage. The goalscorers, however, were Martin Dobson, Neil Robinson and Billy Wright.

The two points were comfortably in the bag - but the crowd was growing increasingly restless. Their hero was still short of his target.

Latch 30The Latch nets his 30th!

The stadium erupted when Latchford powered home a trademark header to make it 4-0, but the clock was ticking.

A fifth Everton goal followed shortly after - from the boot of Mick Lyons.

Lyons, as proud and brave an Evertonian as any, had two options. He could either take a golden opportunity himself or he could flick the ball into the path of the unmarked Latchford.

He chose to score past Peter Bonetti and an audible groan swept through the Goodison terraces.

Lyons, however, made amends with just 13 minutes of a pulsating afternoon to go. The big defender made the most of a challenge inside the box from Chelsea's Mickey Droy and the referee awarded Everton a penalty.

There was only one taker. There was only one outcome.

'Big Bob' gave the kick everything he had and Goodison erupted when the ball rocketed past Bonetti and hit the back of the net.

6-0 for Everton and, more importantly, two goals for Latchford.

The magical 30 goals target had been reached and the final shrill of the referee's whistle was the signal for the fans to swarm onto the pitch in celebration.

"I felt so happy that we had made the fans so happy," said Bob afterwards. "Those scenes will live with me for the rest of my life. It was time to celebrate and the champagne certainly flowed."

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