From Bent's beach ball to errant Enckelman's derby howler: Sportsmail examines some freak strikes
18 October 2009 07:08
What on earth was Pepe Reina thinking?
Presumably mistaking Wearside for Weston Super Mare, a sanguine scouser hurled a beach ball - sporting a Liverpool crest - plum into his penalty area.
Instead of lumping the blow-up orb into Row Z, the Spanish keeper let it float around like Banquo's ghost for four uneventful minutes.
And, as predictably as Rafa Benitez declaring war on Sir Alex Ferguson, up popped Darren Bent, and the rest is history.
A bit like Liverpool's title hopes.
Darren Bent of Sunderland watches as his shot goes between Glen Johnson and Pepe Reina
Party piece: Reina is wrongfooted as the ball collides with the beach ball
Sheffield United v Manchester City, 2008
Poor old Pepe isn't the only custodian to be a victim of inflatable paraphernalia hurled onto the pitch by his own fans.
Manchester City outcast Joe Hart was left feeling deflated following an ill-fated 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup fourth round.
In their wisdom, City fans carpeted Hart's box at Bramall Lane with a sea of sky blue balloons.
Blades' winger Lee Martin looped in a cross which hit two of them, bamboozling City defender Michael Ball in the process. Jamaican striker Luton Shelton was left with the easiest of chances to sidefoot the opening goal.
Then City manager Sven Goran Eriksson was equally bemused. 'I've never seen a goal like it before,' said the normally unflappable Swede.
Stamp it out: Hart paid the price of ignoring the assertions of Fergie's favourite ref Alan Wiley, with a sea of balloons wreaking havoc in the City area
Nottingham Forest v Manchester City, 1990
Another City keeper filled with hot air was Andy Dibble.
After retrieving a deep cross, the casual custodian paused to take a drop-kick, ball resting on his right hand.
Seldom to miss a trick, Forest winger Gary Crosby nodded the ball out of a dumbfounded Dibble's possession, before rolling it into an empty net.
Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool, 1996
Unlike Reina and Hart, Tim Flowers was solely to blame for his very own Frank Spencer moment.
Plying his trade for champions Blackburn in 1996, Flowers' attempt at the long barrier left a lot to be desired, as Stan Collymore spectacularly proved.
The striker's daisy cutter looked to be heading down Flowers' throat, before it bounced on a divot and looped over his shoulder.
Cue endless repeats on 'Goals and Gaffes' videos, and via the link below.
Birmingham v Aston Villa, 2002
Mistakes are the last thing you want in a derby. Especially if it's the first second city showdown for 20 years.
Enter Enckelman in comical fashion.
With Villa trailing 1-0 to their rivals, Olof Mellberg hurled a throw-in toward the gangly Finn, who failed wholeheartedly in his attempts to control the ball.
Bedlam ensued as the ball crept under his foot, making an agonising, inevitable bee-line into the net.
Despite claiming he failed to make contact with the ball (a corner would have been given instead of the goal), referee David Ellary awarded the strike.
As if things weren't bad enough, a boisterous Blues fan leapt onto the pitch to let Enckelman know exactly what he felt.
Derby v Nottingham Forest, 2004
Another victim of derby drama was Forest keeper Barry Roche.
In an incident known as the 'coffee horror show', Derby enraged their East Midlands rivals thanks to a plastic coffee cup on the Pride Park pitch.
Receiving a backpass, Roche was flummoxed as the ball bobbled off the cup, forcing him to skew his clearance straight to the Canadian.
The former Mr Brady was left with the easiest of chances to score Derby's second goal in a 4-2 win.