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The Greatest Last-Minute Winners

November 5th, 2018 | by Stanley Gilyead
The Greatest Last-Minute Winners
Sport
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Last-minute winners. For your own team they are an eruption of joy and frantic celebration, but when you concede one it is undoubtedly soul destroying. Here, our writers look at some of the most momentous of these goals from the very bottom to the very top of the Football League.

Troy Deeney vs Leicester- Stanley Gilyead

180 minutes of football had failed to separate Leicester and Watford in their pursuit of the 2013 play-off final. The aggregate score was 2-2 in the 95th minute of the second leg and the game looked set for extra time when Knockaert was brought down in the area and Leicester awarded a penalty.

Amid chants of “cheat” from the home end Knockaert stepped up knowing that scoring would practically guarantee Leicester’s place at Wembley. But the penalty was poor. Hit slightly right of centre it was saved by Almunia who kept out the follow up before a defender smashed the ball upfield, giving Watford a reprieve and reigniting the possibility of extra time. But Watford weren’t done.

The ball reached Foristieri as Watford broke forwards. He surged past a couple of players before putting an inch perfect cross into the box and onto the head of Hogg. He unselfishly knocked it back into the path of cult hero and captain Troy Deeney who smashed the ball into the top corner, sending the Vicarage Road crowd into raptures.

In the 97th minute, just 20 seconds after Almunia’s penalty save, Deeney had sent Watford through to the play-off final with the last kick of the game. He leapt into the crowd and was mobbed by the Watford faithful as fans streamed onto the pitch and Leicester players fell to the ground in disbelief. Watford’s despair of only seconds earlier was transformed into elation in surely the most dramatic minute in football history.

Sergio Aguero vs QPR- Sesha Subramanian

If ever there was a perfect last-minute goal, Sergio Aguero’s strike in the 94th minute of the last day of the Premier League season to steal the title for Manchester City would be it. With eight games to go, City were six points behind their local rivals but a five-game win streak which included a derby win saw them go into the final day as the league leaders on goal difference. A home game against a QPR side struggling for survival seemed like the perfect setting to finish the job and win their first title in 44 years.

Things began as per script with Pablo Zabaleta giving City a 1-0 lead at the break. However, in the second half, the game unravelled. Djibril Cisse levelled for the visitors and former City midfielder Joey Barton was sent off for an unnecessary scuffle – thus putting the hosts in pole position. However, the Etihad was stunned when Jamie Mackie gave QPR a 2-1 lead beyond all expectation.

Heading into injury time, news of Manchester United’s win over at Sunderland broke and City needed two goals to undo the damage done. A rescue mission started to bear fruit when Edin Dzeko, now at Roma, rose highest to head home a corner. With the game at 2-2 and the crowd urging them on, Aguero capped off a fine one-two with Mario Balotelli to slot home the winner, give City a hard fought Premier League title won on goal difference (eight goals) and allow Martin Tyler to come up with one of his most famous lines as a commentator.

Jimmy Glass vs Plymouth- Tom Hardwick

It is rare for a player to make only three appearances for a club yet still be idolised as a cult hero, but this is a status that goalkeeper Jimmy Glass was able to cement forever in his short time at Carlisle United. Going into the last day of the season, it looked as if Carlisle would be relegated from the Football League. They needed to better Scarborough’s result in order to stave off relegation, and as their final game against Plymouth edged closer to its conclusion the Carlisle faithful knew that their relegation rivals had drawn, and that if Carlisle could not find a winner against Plymouth they would be relegated.

Carlisle earned a corner right at the death, and Glass was waved up from his goal to the opposition box by his manager and most likely the entire crowd, more in fervent desperation than a real belief that he would score. As Scarborough supporters celebrated on the pitch, a Carlisle header was fumbled by the Plymouth keeper into the path of Glass, who volleyed the ball with unerring composure into the back of the net. Brunton Park exploded into euphoria, with Glass barely having time to register the magnitude of the goal he had just scored before he was swamped by a sea of delirious Cumbrians who, having thought their club had fallen into the abyss, saw it saved by an unknown goalkeeper on loan from Swindon.

Scarborough soon ceased to exist after their relegation, something that emphasises just how significant this goal was to Carlisle. Glass may have only appeared 3 times for the club, but his goal will be lauded by generations of fans for years to come. It may not have won a title or a trophy, but in saving a club so ingrained in the community from potentially slipping out of existence, the goal that Glass scored has to be remembered as one of the most unlikely yet most significant last-minute winners to have ever been scored.

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