DeMbare join group of draw specialists

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
IF Dynamos were an English team, they would have become the latest member of an exclusive group of clubs which have drawn eight successive matches in one season, in 131 years of professional league football in that country.

That such a scenario has happened only seven times, in more than a century of professional football in England, highlights why it is a rare occurrence for a club to draw eight league matches on the trot.

Records in domestic football, just like in the game on the continent, are sketchy and are unlikely to provide a true picture to illustrate whether this has happened before.

However, just a quick check on the English football league records, which have been kept intact since the first professional league was held in 1888, reveals that what the Glamour Boys have done, in the past eight games, is a very rare phenomenon.

Clearly, they are not the first top-flight side to have such an interesting sequence of results because, after all, seven other English football teams also went through a similar run in league matches.

The first one was Torquay United, exactly 50 years ago, when the then Third Division side put together eight draws in league matches on the trot.

That sequence started on October 25, 1969, when Torquay were held to a 0-0 draw by Luton Town.

A goalless draw against Southport followed before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham, settled for another goalless draw against Rotherham United and then battled to a 1-1 draw against Barnsley.

Three more draws — against Brighton and Hove (2-2), Reading (1-1) and Bournemouth 2-2 — followed to make it eight draws on the bounce.

The chain of draws ended on Boxing Day in 1969 when Torquay United slumped to a 0-6 defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle before they bounced back to winning ways, in their next game, with a 1-0 victory over Walsall.

Middlesbrough, then in Division Two, were the next to put together an eight-game draw sequence in the league during the 1970/1971 season, starting with a 2-2 draw against Oxford United on April 3, 1971.

They followed that with draws against Blackburn Rovers (1-1), Sunderland (2-2), Cardiff City (1-1), Portsmouth (1-1), Sheffield United (1-1), Birmingham City (0-0) and Queens Park Rangers 1-1.

The following season, it happened again, this time in the Fourth Division of the English League when Peterborough United drew 3-3 against Exeter City on December 18, 1971, to start a run of eight straight draws in the league.

They followed that six-goal thriller with a 1-1 draw against Colchester, a 2-2 draw against Brentford, a goalless draw against Stockport County, a 2-2 draw against Hartlepool, a 1-1 draw against Darlington, a 1-1 draw against Northampton and a 4-4 draw against Lincoln City on December 2, 1972.

Peter Ndlovu’s old club, Birmingham City, were the next team to put together an eight-game draw sequence in the league, starting with a 1-1 draw against Exeter City on September 18, 1990.

The Blues followed that with draws against Wigan (1-1), Preston North End (1-1), Fulham (2-2), Reading (2-2), Southend United (1-1), Grimsby Town (0-0) and Crewe Alexandra (1-1).

Twice, in the 2005/2006 season, it happened with League One side Chesterfield and Championship team Southampton producing such a sequence of results.

The Chesterfield draw spree started on November 26, 2005 when they drew 1-1 against Blackpool and followed that with draws against Southend United (0-0), Brentford (1-1), Oldham (1-1), Scunthorpe United (2-2), Swindon Town (1-1), Nottingham Forest (0-0) and Barnsley (0-0).

Southampton, who are now an English Premiership side, started their draw spree on August 29, 2005, with a 1-1 draw against Coventry City and followed that with draws against Queens Park Rangers (1-1), Ipswich (2-20, Derby (2-20, Plymouth Argyle (0-0), Reading (0-0), Preston North End (1-1) and Hull City (1-1).

Swansea were the latest team to have such an interesting sequence of results, which started on November 25, 2008, when they drew 1-1 against Coventry City in their Championship game.

This was followed by draws against Cardiff City (2-2), Bristol City (0-0), Barnsley (2-2), Sheffield United (1-1), Blackpool (1-1), Coventry City (0-0) and Birmingham City (0-0).

No English side has featured in nine straight league draws in the history of the professional game in that country. Dynamos have drawn their last eight league matches against TelOne (0-0), ZPC Kariba (1-1), Yadah Stars (1-1), Bulawayo Chiefs (1-1), Ngezi Platinum Stars (0-0), Manica Diamonds (1-1) and Highlanders (1-1).

Had they converted half of those draws into victories, the Glamour Boys would have been sitting in third place, just a point behind second-placed FC Platinum, and firmly in the championship race.

If they had converted five of those draws into wins, Tonderai Ndiraya and his men would have been in second place, one point behind leaders and bitter rivals CAPS United, and in prime position to try and battle for the league title.

It could even have been better had they converted six of those draws into wins because it would have taken them to the top of the table, which would have been an incredible story given the way they looked hopelessly out of sorts and flirted with relegation at the beginning of the season, a point ahead of the chasing pack.

However, their inability to go for maximum points, in a run that has also seen them draw 10 of their last 11 matches, has been their Achilles heel.

Draw Statistics in English Football

— Opta Index

Most consecutive draws: (8) — Torquay United (1969/1970); Middlesbrough (1970-1971); Peterborough United (1971-1972); Birmingham City (1990-1991); Chesterfield (2005-2006); Southampton (2005-2006); Swansea City (2008-2009)

Most consecutive draws: (7) — Norwich City (1993-94); Southampton (1994-95); Manchester City (2009-2010)

Fewest draws in a season: (2) — Manchester City (2018-19); Tottenham Hotspur (2018-19)

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