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The story of Ted Drake's record-breaking haul

14 December 2020

On this day 85 years ago, Ted Drake set a record which stands to this day, by scoring all seven goals in Arsenal's 7-1 win at Aston Villa.

A key member of the Gunners' all-conquering side of the 1930s, Drake scored a phenomenal 42 league goals as Arsenal won the title in 1934/35, and continued that form into the following campaign.

On 14 December 1935, Drake and Arsenal travelled north to Villa Park, where over 60,000 fans were in attendance to witness one of the decade's most high-profile fixtures. Remarkably, Drake had spent time in the Reserves and started the game with strapping on his knee following an injury, but he showed no signs of easing up.

Against a starting Villa side featuring six internationals, former gas inspector Drake quickly found his feet - and the back of the net - scoring a first-half hat-trick. After an hour, the forward had doubled his tally to six. 

Drake's display was a masterclass, as he gave the home defence, and goalkeeper Harry Morton, little chance to stop him. Though Villa did find the net at the other end, Drake had the last laugh late on, and it might have been more, but for the crossbar. 

The striker's seven goals saw him set a League record for most goals by an away player in a single league game. Just 12 days later, Tranmere's Bunny Bell scored nine in a home game against Oldham in the Third Division North but, incredibly, his overall record lasted for less than four months, as Luton Town's Joe Payne - playing his first senior match as a centre-forward - scored 10 in a 12-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

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