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TEAMtalk Soccers - Goal of the Season
Published : 02 Jun 2010 09:56:00Rss feed
As the TEAMtalk Soccers ceremony approaches its glittering finale on Friday, Ian Watson steps up to present the Goal of the Season award. Last season was lit up by many wonderful goals. We had some spectacular individual efforts, ripsnorters from long range and sublime team goals. With the help of our readers, we here at TEAMtalk Towers have had to sift through all the nominations and decide upon the best five. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it. The likes of Leo Messi and Arjen Robben have had to take a back seat for this one, with only goals scored by English teams considered for the award. 5 - Fernando Torres v Sunderland: With Liverpool still clinging on to hope of achieving the fourth place Rafael Benitez had guaranteed, Sunderland arrived at Anfield in late March on the back of a five-match unbeaten run with ambitions of leaving Merseyside with at least a point. Almost all hope of that was extinguished as early as the third minute by yet another moment of brilliance from Torres. The Spaniard gathered a long clearance from Pepe Reina on the left touchline before cutting inside towards goal. Michael Turner looked to have the situation under control as he attempted to jockey Torres towards the byline but a momentary lapse in concentration was pounced upon by the Reds hitman, who cut inside the Black Cats defender onto his right foot. There still appeared little danger, especially with help for Turner on the way, but just as the cover was arriving, Torres unleashed a dipping, curling effort, that rendered Graig Gordon's flailing dive nothing more than a token effort as the ball found the top corner. Not content with that, Torres later showed again how crucial he is to Liverpool's cause by notching his second with an effort the match report describes a being "as simple as his first was brilliant". 4 - Ricardo Fuller v West Ham: One member of staff here at TEAMtalk Towers insists that on his day, Ricardo Fuller is world class. While there are no prizes for guessing the identity of that particular TEAMtalker, it was hard to argue against his point after Fuller's quite brilliant winner for Stoke at Upton Park in March. Midway through the second half with the relegation-threatened Hammers desperate for the points, Fuller pulled down a long punt forward before getting faced up to Manuel Da Costa, who inexplicably allowed the Potters hitman to turn on the corner of the penalty area. Da Costa was ruthlessly punished as Fuller skipped inside between the centre-half and the back-tracking Scott Parker before the Jamaican was confronted by Matthew Upson. Fuller fooled the England defender, shifting the ball goal-side of Upson, who was turned inside out to leave Rob Green indecently exposed. Fuller took no pity on the keeper, denying him the opportunity to set himself as Green collapsed to the turf while the ball flew past his right shoulder, rocketing into the net. 3 - Nicky Maynard v QPR: Nicky Maynard may be the Football League's only representative in the Goal of the Season category but the Bristol City striker can consider himself very unlucky not to walk off with the award after his Boxing-Day belter for the Robins against QPR. Two-down at half-time, City needed something special from their top scorer to get back into the game at Loftus Road, and they got it just before the hour-mark. Gavin Williams fired in a pass at waist height which Maynard took on his instep on the edge of the box before flicking the ball over his shoulder to avoid the attentions of two Rangers defenders. The odds still seemed stacked against the former Crewe striker but Maynard's speed of thought and movement bought him half-a-yard, which he used to spin and smash a flying volley into the top corner past a stranded and stunned Radek Cerny. It wasn't enough to earn his side a point, but in years to come, very few who were at the game will remember the result but Maynard's magic is unlikely to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. 2 - Danny Rose v Arsenal: Harry Redknapp showed his trust in Danny Rose by throwing the youngster in for his first Premier League start in the crucial north London derby at White Hart Lane, and Rose took just 10 minutes to repay that trust when he smashed in a stunning opener for the hosts. Redknapp's last words to Rose before the game were probably something along the lines of: "Keep it simple son and do the easy thing". Luckily for Spurs and Harry, Rose completely ignored his boss when he raced to collect a loose ball after Manuel Almunia had punched a very catchable corner. Instead of pulling the ball down and delivering a cross for the Spurs centre-halves to attack, Rose chose to go for goal. In the circumstances, it was hardly the wisest of choices, given that when he unleashed his volley, Rose was leaning back and stretching so much, he had no right to expect his attempt to bother anyone except those sat in the upper tier of the South Stand. Almunia's lack of concern was apparent in the way he ambled back into position, so you can imagine his, and everyone else's surprise when Rose's left-footed volley whistled into the net, with the speed and trajectory of a scud missile. The goal set the tone for a season-defining evening for the Spurs faithful, with their win furthering their Champions League qualification cause, all the while ending their hated rivals' title challenge. 1 - Maynor Figueroa v Stoke: Edging out Rose by the narrowest of margins for the TEAMtalk Soccer's Goal of the Season award is Maynor Figueroa for his effort from inside his own half at Stoke. With the score at 1-1 at the Britannia, Robert Huth fouled Scott Sinclair on the halfway line, out near the touchline on the Wigan left. Rory Delap nudged the ball away as the players enjoyed a quick breather 72 minutes into the game, with Thomas Sorensen seemingly one of those who briefly switched off. Figueroa did not but given what he was contemplating as he approached the dead ball, most would have questioned his state of mind, however alert it might have been. Figueroa barely broke his stride as he adjusted his angle of approach before launching an attempt on goal from 5 yards within Latics territory. Many have tried a similar attempt, and most usually end up troubling the corner flag rather than the keeper but Figueroa's drive was as perfect as it could have been. This was not a looping effort, as any such attempt would have been clutched comfortably by the keeper. The ball barely rose above the height of the crossbar as it left Sorensen in a heap, with the keeper only three yards off his line as the ball found the far corner of net. Ryan Shawcross' look of disgust towards his keeper as he collected the ball for the restart was as harsh as it was amusing, as Sorensen's starting position was exactly as it should have been given where the ball had just come from. The Dane was beaten by an outrageous moment of genius that ultimately helped Wigan earn a draw but more prestigious than a point away at Stoke, Figueroa's free-kick wins the TEAMtalk Soccers Goal of the Season.