Final Day Heroes
Tomorrow is the final day of the League One season with just about everything still to be decided in what is sure to be a tense afternoon. The Championship and League Two campaigns will come to close a next week, with the Premier League to follow.
The final day is often the most dramatic, excruciating time to be a football fan or player and often when heroes and villains are born.
In this Sparta Spotlight we look at some iconic goalkeeping displays and moments on the final day of the league season.
CARLISLE UNITED v Plymouth Argyle, Division 2 1999
Where else would we start other than Jimmy Glass’ stoppage time winner to keep Carlisle United in the Football League. In an otherwise nomadic career, Glass is often defined by his final day goal whilst on loan at Brunton Park from Swindon Town.
Scarborough were drawing at home to Peterborough, but Carlisle needed to better their result to avoid relegation to the Conference for the first time. With the score at 1-1 in stoppage time and hopes of survival dwindling, the unlikeliest source would drill home from a corner in the most dramatic of conclusions. Jeff Stelling in the Sky Sports studio was at a loss for words.
Jimmy Glass, who played just three Football League games after this, was immortalised in the Cumbrian rain.
Tottenham Hotspur v COVENTRY CITY, Premier League 1997
Coventry had something of a reputation of being relegation escape artists in the 1990’s. At the end of the 1996/97 season, a brilliant display at White Hart Lane sent North East duo Sunderland and Middlesbrough to the second tier.
The Sky Blues were 2-1 winners in North London, but it was goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic who was the standout performer.
Including an outstanding save from a Jason Dozzell header, Ogrizovic’s goal was peppered as Spurs searched for an equaliser that would have relegated Coventry.
Another marvellous stop from a corner in the final seconds of the match helped Coventry secure survival and a 30th consecutive season in the top flight.
BRADFORD CITY v Liverpool, Premier League, 2000
The final day of the 1999/00 Premier League season pit Bradford City and Liverpool against each other, with the former needing a win to secure survival and the latter needing a win to secure Champions League football.
Bradford City produced one of the finest and most significant defensive performances in Premier League history, with ‘keeper Matt Clarke shining in particular.
Despite unrelenting pressure from the Reds, they were unable to find a way through the Bradford backline and David Wetherall’s goal in the 12th minute was enough to save Paul Jewell’s men from the drop.
Clarke made some fantastic saves throughout as Michael Owen and co bombarded the Bantam’s goal.
The former Sheffield Wednesday stopper was able to tip Patrick Berger’s late effort over the bar, as well as denying both Heskey and Owen. Valley Parade held its breath before an explosion of joy at the final whistle and an iconic pitch invasion.