VIDEO SPECIAL: Sporting misses that changed history for all the wrong reasons

02 December 2009 07:36
When Blyth Spartans come back down to earth and resume training in their quest to escape the lower reaches of the Blue Square North, no doubt they will do a bit of shooting practice.

And no doubt Andrew Wright will bury chance after chance from six to eight yards out without a care in the world.

But if Wright starts to think about the one that got away against Premier League Blackburn Rovers in their FA Cup third round clash at Croft Park, he may be tempted to quit football for good.

How did I miss that? Andrew Wright cannot believe it

The 32-year-old had almost untold wealth at his feet when Alex Gildea's cross reached him six minutes from time with Rovers leading 1-0.

A calm finish would have levelled for Blyth and earned a replay, a 20,000-plus crowd, another £250,000, a great day for the fans, TV money and a second opportunity to earn the right to have a go at local North-East rivals Sunderland.

 THE LIST: 40-31 of the FA Cup's greatest heroesNewcastle star Ameobi mistakes his messy home for burglaryJanuary transfer window 2009 - Sportsmail's list of the completed deals

He would have been over all the back pages, on breakfast TV, the radio and halfway to signing a possible £50m boot deal with the first bidders. Possibly even an MBE.

Instead the ball whistled past the post and Wright was left to contemplate something gone for ever like a child who has just dropped a freshly-bought ice-cream in the sand.

Such misses are a regular occurance at every level but not every one carries such gravitas.

So, in a bid to make Wright feel better, Sportsmail dredged up a few other misses that could have changed sporting history if only they had found their target.

Chris IwelumoScotland v Norway 2008With World Cup qualification resting on the narrowest of margins, Chris Iwelumo's howler against Norway takes some beating. Ten minutes after coming on as a substitute, the Wolves striker had a golden chance laid on a plate for him by Gary Naysmith.

Sadly, the resulting three-yard open-goal scuff will make it on every bloopers compilation until the Day of Judgement.

I could kick myself for that . but I'd probably miss

The match finished 0-0 and a win for Scotland would have put them on six points, three behind leaders Holland. It would have opened up a two-point gap over Iceland and left Norway with one point. Instead, Scotland, Norway and Macedonia all have four points.

There are nine World Cup groups - the nine winners go through but only the best eight runners-up make it to the play-offs. With Scotland's group already resembling a 'group of death' points look to be at a premium and it seems likely theirs will be the second-placed team jettisoned.

No wonder the tortured Iwelumo watched the video of the miss again and again in the days after the game.

He'll be able to watch it in the summer of 2010 as well but at least he would have just finished a season of Premier League football with Wolves by then.  VIDEO: This is not a crisp finish, but a Chris-p finish

Don FoxWakefield Trinity v Leeds 1968The flickering, grainy black and white footage that remains of Don Fox's last-minute missed kick is as moving as commentator Eddie Waring labelling him a 'poor lad'.

Rugby League is not everyone's cup of tea but the 1968 Challenge Cup Final between Wakefield and Leeds was one of those moments that made Grandstand great.

At rain-lashed Wembley, Fox shaped up to convert Ken Hirst's last-gasp try in front of the posts with Leeds 11-10 up. The two extra points would have won it for Trinity but instead, Fox slipped, the ball skewed wide and Fox sank to his knees in despair.

Gutted: Don Fox is comforted by Wakefield coach Ken Traill after missing his last-gasp kick

The hooter ended the game immediately and Leeds players celebrated while league legend Fox dissolved into tears.

To make matters worse for the 31-year-old, BBC reporter David Coleman appeared pitchside and happily presented him with the  Lance Todd Trophy for man of the match and asked if it was any consolation.

'Not really, no,' he stuttered as the world watched him squirm in his private hell when all he wanted to do was an impression of the Invisible Man.

 THE LIST: 40-31 of the FA Cup's greatest heroesNewcastle star Ameobi mistakes his messy home for burglaryJanuary transfer window 2009 - Sportsmail's list of the completed deals

He admitted he'd 'lost the gold medal for my mates' and despite scoring a record 162 tries for Featherstone and chalking up 1,755 points in over 500 appearances, the great man carried the burden of that miss with him for the rest of his life.

Fox died aged 72 on August 21 2008, his reputation unsullied by that miss and even strengthened by reports that on May 12 1968 - 24 hours after his Wembley nightmare - he went to the Featherstone ground and kicked a number of conversions wearing slippers instead of boots.

Gordon SmithBrighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United 1983South Coast upstarts Brighton had already been relegated from Division One when they took on Ron Atkinson's Manchester United in their only FA Cup Final appearance to date. United had already been edged out for the League title and League Cup.

And, when Gordon Smith found himself six yards from goal with only United keeper Gary Bailey to beat in the dying seconds - and the score 2-2 - Big Ron & Co looked doomed to get another runners-up medal.

The moment Smith did not win the FA Cup for Brighton

'And Smith must score.' boldly predicted radio commentator Peter Jones. Instead, Bailey hung a foot out and the ball stuck to it. He picked it up and drop kicked it clear . and the final whistle went.

United won the replay 4-0 and the Seagulls lost their chance of not only winning the FA Cup, but appearing in Europe and the promise of all the extra revenue and glory that would have brought.

Instead, players left in droves and Brighton have never been close to another cup final or even the top flight again.

Still Smith did okay . he's the chief executive of the Scottish FA while Brighton are now playing in a ground that used to host 13 spectators when previous incumbents Withdean were the hosts and the Goldstone Ground has long since been demolished and built over.

VIDEO: What a final - and what a miss

Kevin KeeganEngland v Spain 1982Arguably the greatest player of his generation, Kevin Keegan missed out on the 1974 and 1978 World Cups because England did not qualify. When they did, in 1982, he was injured along with fellow England playmaker Trevor Brooking.

Manager Ron Greenwood included the two unfit players in his squad in the hope they could feature in the latter stages.

The rain in Spain fell mainly on Keegan after his horror miss

They both got their chance 26 minutes from the end of the match against hosts Spain, a match England had to win by two goals to make the semi-finals.

Ex-Liverpool legend Keegan might not have been 100 per cent but within a couple of minutes of getting on he had the chance to open the floodgates.

Bryan Robson's perfect cross found Keegan's permed barnet six yards out but he guided his header past the post. That was that. Heads were held in hands all over the pitch and all over England. But not Scotland.

Keegan was axed from the England set-up by new boss Bobby Robson so never had the chance to atone for his miss.

But it's not all bad news.if England had qualified, they would have eliminated West Germany and we would never have had the epic 3-3 semi-final draw with France and Patrick Battiston would still have all his teeth.VIDEO: It might be in Spanish but Kop of load of Keegan's miss

Steve NicolScotland v Uruguay 1986

Needing a win to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time, Scotland were boosted when Uruguay were reduced to ten men in the opening minute following a trademark lunging foul.

But their best chance on Friday June 13 1986 fell to Steve Nicol - wearing No.13 - who had an empty net to fill from six yards following a Roy Aitken cross.

Nicol underhit his shot, keeper Alvez made a remarkable save and Scotland were on their way home early again.

Ravi BoparaEngland v Sri Lanka 2007With England needing a win to have a chance of making it out of the Super Eight Group of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, they were on course to beat the hotly-fancied Sri Lankans after bowling them out for just 235.

However, in typical England manner, they contived to make a hash of it until Ravi Bopara hit 52 in good time leaving three needed off the last ball to be bowled by Dilhana Fernando.

It was hero time for the 21-year-old Essex all-rounder who was then pysched out by either nerves and extreme gamesmanship when Fernando failed to release the ball and had to have another go.

Bopara swiped, missed the ball and was bowled, Sri Lanka won by two runs and England's hopes of finishing fourth and reaching  the semi-finals had gone for another four years.

VIDEO: Owzat not a no-ball that would have given England a tie at worst?

Scott NorwoodBuffalo Bills v New York Giants 1991With Super Bowl XXV entering its 39th hour, the Buffalo Bills trailed the New York Giants 20-19. A two-minute drive down the field by Bills quarterback Jim Kelly had set up kicker Scott Norwood for a 47-yard field goal attempt. Norwood sliced it wide right, lost the game and became the only kicker in history to have missed a last-second field goal when a Super Bowl was on the line.VIDEO: A kick to make history - which he did for the wrong reasons

Bernard LangerEurope v the US 1991It's not often that a German misses but poor Bernie did at Kiawah Island in 1991. Trailing Hale Irwin for much if the last singles match knowing a win would retain the Ryder Cup for Europe, Langer fought back brilliantly. He had a six-foot putt on the 18th to stop the US winning the cup for the first time since 1983 but the ball lipped out. Langer's face contorted in horror and the flight home from America suddenly looked a very long one indeed.

Das ist nicht gut: Langer sees his six-footer lip out and the Ryder Cup is lost

Clement PoitrenaudToulouse v Wasps 2004

Who? Some French bloke you've never heard of?

Cast your mind back to the 2004 Heineken Cup Final with the score 20-all with the match heading for extra time with only seconds remaining. Rob Howley caught a poor clearing kick and booted it deep into French territory to eat up seconds.

Like all good players he chased his kick and found himself face to face with a dithering Poitrenaud who was hoping to touch the ball down in his own in-goal area. Instead he forgot to do so, missed the ball when he tried and Howley fell on it to clinch the try that made Wasps European champions.

VIDEO: Quel dommage! Vive Les Wasps

 THE LIST: 40-31 of the FA Cup's greatest heroesNewcastle star Ameobi mistakes his messy home for burglaryJanuary transfer window 2009 - Sportsmail's list of the completed deals

 Explore more:People:Gary Naysmith, David Coleman, BRYAN ROBSON, Ravi Bopara, Kevin KeeganPlaces:Liverpool, Leeds, Macedonia, Spain, France, Norway, Scotland, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Europe, America

Source: Daily_Mail

Trending on the forum