Anorak | Ghost Goals: The Most Unforgettable Football Goals That Weren’t

Ghost Goals: The Most Unforgettable Football Goals That Weren’t

by | 21st, October 2013

WHEN Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling header smashed into the Hoffenheim net during their recent Bundesliga match, referee Felix Brych had no hesitation in whistling for a goal. Players questioned the decision, but he brooked no disagreement.

Nothing unusual about that, except for one thing: the player doing most of the questioning was Kiessling himself, whose goal ‘celebration’ had consisted of holding his hands and grimacing. From his excellent vantage point he could see what the ref could not: that the ball had missed the goal and powered into the side netting. After that it had somehow slipped through the net and ended up nestling inside.

Bayer Leverkusen are set to formally request a replay, mindful of the precedent set by Nuremburg, whose 1994 match against Bayern Munich replayed after Bayern’s Thomas Helmer was awarded a goal for an attempt that didn’t go in.


But if Leverkusen are unsuccessful, they should be grateful for small mercies. In particular, they should thank their lucky stars that they are not Crystal Palace .

Palace have suffered numerous atrocious refereeing decisions, such as the failure to receive a blatant penalty in the FA Cup Final replay against Manchester United (lost 0-1) and an even worse series of decisions causing them to be relegated from the top division. But these pale beside the FIVE no-goal incidents in which they have been involved all of which went in favour of the opposition.

If any other club can beat this roll of shame, we would like to hear about it.

Terry Wharton , home to Nottingham Forest, 28 August 1971

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Wharton’s powerful shot is deflected into the side-netting by a defender, but the referee points to the centre spot. Under protest from Forest defenders he then seeks a second opinion from Palace captain Steve Kember (pictured below), who admits it wasn’t in. Kember’s sportsmanship is rewarded with a second refereeing error: a goal-kick to Forest instead of a Palace corner. “There is plenty of room for honesty in the game,’”writes manager Bert Head in his next programme notes. “I’m sure his action will not be forgotten.”

It is not forgotten: Kember is transferred the following week.


Crystal Palace First Team Back Row: Borge Thorup, Mel Blyth, John Jackson, Roger Hynd, Frank Parsons, John McCormick, Bobby Woodruff. Centre: Grorge Petchey (Coach), Cliff Jackson, Colin Taylor, Steve Kember, Tony Taylor, David Payne, Roger Hoy, Hert Head (Manager). Seated: Gerry Queen, John Sewell, Frank Lazarus.

Jeff Bourne , away to Shrewsbury, 16 April 1977


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Posted: 21st, October 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink