21 April 1986
West Ham United 8-1 Newcastle United
It is a pub quiz teaser that still baffles everyone except West Ham United fans and the game's sharpest anoraks.
Who scored a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers? There have been around 150 trebles in the club's history. Six-goal Vic Watson and Geoff Hurst have even bagged double hat-tricks in one match while Brian Dear once struck five times inside 20 rarefied minutes against West Bromwich Albion in 1965.
But the most surreal Hammers' hat-trick of all time must surely be Alvin Martin's amazing triple in the 8-1 victory over the walking wounded of Newcastle United. "It's not often that a centre-half gets a hat-trick and that was probably the worst one anybody has ever scored," confesses the modest Martin. "But it's in the record books!"
Flying high in fifth spot, John Lyall's soaring side may have gone into the game as favourites, but Willie McFaul's tenth-placed team had just left a massive dent in Chelsea's championship aspirations following their 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge two days earlier.
Some conspiracy theorists later alleged that the Tynesiders' capitulation had been caused by their over-zealous celebrations in the Blackmore pub sowned by their London-born skipper - and future Hammers boss - Glenn Roeder. But it was obvious to the 24,735 inside Upton Park that Martin Thomas, who had sat it out at Chelsea with a shoulder injury, was simply still not fit.
On-loan from Hibernian, his replacement David McKellar had damaged his hip at the Bridge and the reluctant Magpies' goalkeeper had no option but to take his place back between the sticks. Within five minutes, he was picking the ball out of the net after Martin volleyed home Alan Devonshire's free-kick into the six-yard box.
The hapless Thomas was then beaten by speculative long-rangers from Ray Stewart and Neil Orr before Roeder inexplicably flicked the ball into his own net. With both his shoulder and pride hurting profusely, Thomas failed to emerge for the second period.
Rookie midfielder Chris Hedworth pulled on the green jersey for the restart but he was soon in trouble, too, after falling awkwardly and cracking his collarbone.
Midway through the half, Martin headed in Tony Gale's flick-on following Mark Ward's corner and as the brave Hedworth returned outfield before subsequently retiring, Peter Beardsley donned the gloves. Although Billy Whitehurst pulled one back for the visitors, Paul Goddard and Frank McAvennie then made it 7-1.
"I only came out to buy a loaf of bread!" bewildered, beleaguered and battered defender John Bailey famously shouted to the South Bank as he guarded his third goalkeeper of the night in readiness for another Hammers' bombardment. Sure enough, with six minutes left, the handling Roeder gave Martin the chance to claim the match ball and make it 8-1 to the Hammers, who were destined to go on and finish their best-ever campaign in third spot.
Despite his later claims that his England team-mate was Beardsley was pulling funny faces at him, the Mexico 86-bound Scouser successfully stroked in from the spot.
"Our normal penalty man Ray Stewart had picked up the ball to take the kick but once the crowd started chanting my name, it became embarrassing not to have it," wrote Martin in Boys of '86. "Afterwards, John Lyall said that goal difference could have counted come the end of the season and that we should have been more professional and still let Ray take it. Everyone was saying: 'C'mon John, it was 7-1 and it was his first hat-trick' I think he went a bit too far that night!"
West Ham United: Parkes, Stewart, Parris, Gale, Martin, Devonshire, Ward, Orr, Dickens (Goddard 80) Cottee, McAvennie