Friday, January 21, 2011

Wednesday 28th February 1990. I remember it well.

The weather had been fairly crappy. I wasn't working and apart from the money I brought in from AFTN fanzine sales, was pretty skint. The prospect of travelling 150 miles and over three hours to watch East Fife take on Stranraer at Stair Park in a rearranged Scottish Second Division match didn't really appeal.

To this day, one of my biggest regrets was not making the long journey to the game that night and not because the Fife came away with a 2-0 win.

Legend has it that there were around 7 East Fife fans at the game. Like the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club, the people that claim to have been there is probably into three figures.

Those lucky punters that were there though saw that rare thing in football - a goal from open play by a goalkeeper. Ray Charles was the Fife hero that night as he blootered a wind assisted kick into the Stranraer net. Oh to have been there to see it.

There's just something special about goalkeepers goals. Everyone loves to see them, well, unless it's against your team of course. The scoring goalie is a hero and you can only imagine that it's one of the worst nightmares for the opposition goalie who lets it in.

The first recorded goal by a goalkeeper from a goal kick was on April 14th 1900, when Charlie Williams scored for Manchester City against Sunderland. I remember seeing footage of Pat Jennings scoring one, but for me, and I'm sure for many of you reading this, the most memorable goalie goal that I've seen was Jimmy Glass' last gasp winner for Carlisle United on the last day of the 1998/99 season. A goal that gave them the 2-1 victory over Plymouth that saved them from relegation from the Football League into the Conference.

FC United of Manchester have made a lot of headlines this season in the FA Cup and they're back in the news again this week, as their goalkeeper Sam Ashton became the latest member of the scoring goalie club last Saturday.

Three minutes into their EvoStik Northern Premier League game away to Retford United and Ashton clears the ball upfield. The ball takes an unfortunate bounce over Retford goalie Luke Herriott's head and into the home teams' net for a goal that Ashton will remember for the rest of his life.

Poor Retford United. They're rock bottom of the League, they lost the game 4-0 and now they have the ignominy of having the opposition goalkeeper scoring against them. To make matters worse for Herriott, he only joined the club the game before from Ossett Albion. He may be wishing he'd stayed there now!

Basking in the afterglow of his wonder goal, Ashton was in top form on the FCUM website:

"It was really windy, Scott McManus passed the ball back and I just wanted to get something on it because the pitch was awful. Then after I hit it I thought, "That's going in that! Their keeper had come out to clear the ball but it bounced over his head and rolled into the empty net. The lads are telling me it was a fluke but it wasn't - I meant it".

On the way back to Manchester Sam was also heard to be pushing for a goal bonus!

It's been a great season for Ashton. His FA Cup heroics, including the last minute penalty save against Brighton, and now this. Enjoy the goal for yourselves and if you want to find out more about goalscoring goalkeepers, then check out the excellent Goalkeepers Are Different website. Have a fun friday...

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