Friday, December 2, 2011

2 December 1997 - Rovers Get Lynched

On 2 December 1997, Wigan Athletic and Bristol Rovers matched an English record by receiving a total of five red cards--four of them in the first half.

The two teams met in a Second Division contest at Wigan's Springfield Park, where a crowd of 2,738 watched the newly-promoted Latics take an early lead against second-place Bristol City with a 20th-minute goal from midfielder Ian Kilford.

But the real excitement started in first-half stoppage time, as referee Kevin Lynch (pictured) issued a second yellow card to Rovers defender David Pritchard. As the remaining players jockeyed for position in front of the Bristol goal for the ensuing free kick, a fight broke out, resulting in three more ejections--for Wigan striker Graeme Jones and Bristol's Jason Perry and Andy Tillson.

The day's final red card came in the 71st minute, as Rovers midfielder Josh Low received a second yellow. Wigan took advantage of their 10-to-7 man advantage and got two goals from winger David Lowe (78', 85').

That last ejection matched the record of 5 set by Chesterfield and Plymouth Argyle just the previous February (with 2 and 3, respectively). It remains a joint record, happening once more in a 2002 match between Exeter City (3) and Cambridge (2).

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