As with many nations, we’re treated to a plethora of fierce and bitter rivalries across all levels of football in Britain.
Whether we’re talking about the Premier League, Championship, below that even further, over in Northern Ireland, Wales or even north of the border into Scotland, there are countless engrossing fixtures to get our teeth sunk into.
While the fiercely contested nature of the matches and the fact local pride is on the line tend to be the most alluring factors, we’ve also been treated to some classic encounters. In order for that to be the case, goals generally need to happen. And every now and then, we’re treated to some fabulous ones.
Naturally, many will be left out (sorry, not sorry), but in an effort to reminisce about some of the very best, here’s a wee list to remind you of some superb goals scored in British derby matches.
Ryan Taylor’s Free Kick Against Sunderland
Any goal in a derby is a special occasion, but when it’s the only one of the match, it often holds extra special meaning. What’s even better than that, though, is when it’s an absolute cracker.
The incredibly versatile Ryan Taylor didn’t score many, but when he did you could bet your bottom dollar it was more than half-decent.
Away at Sunderland in 2011, he pulled a free kick right out of the top drawer on 62 minutes, catching Simon Mignolet completely off guard from an outrageous position.
Closer to the byline than he was to a central position, he wrapped his foot around the ball with stupendous whip, allowing it to curl all the way over the wall and into the far top corner. Steven Taylor’s desperate efforts to claim the last touch nearly robbed him of the excellence, the cheeky sod.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s Invention Against Tottenham
Back to goal, Michael Dawson marking you, away at your club’s biggest rivals? No problem at all for Emmanuel Adebayor.
Having come from behind to lead 2-1 in a 2007 Premier League clash, it was more a case of Arsenal holding on at White Hart Lane as opposed to grabbing a third goal. In those cases, it’s generally a dreadful mistake or a moment of magic that does the trick – the latter of which being the case on this occasion.
Receiving a bouncing low pass from Cesc Fabregas with his back turned to the Spurs goal, Adebayor produced the deftest of flicks on his right foot to shift the ball across the air and onto his other side. A drop of the shoulder opened the opportunity, and he proceeds swivel to crash an unstoppable effort beyond Paul Robinson.
Quite a few other goals could have taken, but the 2007/08 Goal of the Season gets the nod – because why not?
Radosław Majewski’s Thunderbolt Against Derby
Certain goals are scored where you’re fully aware that even the if most minuscule detail was altered in any way, they wouldn’t have come off. Radosław Majewski’s firecracker against Derby in their showdown in 2009 was one such effort.
Not a minute was on the clock before he stunned the City Ground into a combination of silence and jubilation, with one the best goals this particular matchup has ever seen. A Forest attack saw the ball bounce out to the Pole, who without hesitation, smacked a vicious drive first time from way outside the box that rocketed beyond the helpless Stephen Bywater.
What’s even better, it went in off the crossbar having nearly snapped it in two. We love when that happens. It’s up first on the above video.
Alim Öztürk’s 40-Yarder Against Hibernian
One of those irritating voiceovers phrases you get on FIFA that always bangs on with ‘if you do not buy a ticket you will not win the raffle’ is probably what Alim Öztürk had running through his head when he decided to have a crack from 40 yards.
The central defender was part of a ten-man Hearts side who were desperately chasing a late equaliser against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian. With 92 minutes on the clock, that desperation clearly got the better of him.
Why on earth he decided to shoot only he will know, but good lord, Hearts are glad he did. The monstrous strike he produced was one that he wouldn’t be able to replicate in a month of Sundays.
It’s no disrespect to him, just that the dipping strike which flew over Mark Oxley’s head and crashed in off the underside of the crossbar was just too outrageous to happen twice.
Gary Cahill’s Scissor Kick Against Birmingham
One sentence you don’t hear often – ‘Gary Cahill’s scissor kick’.
Well, you better believe it to be true, as the then-Aston Villa man produced some immense acrobatics in this 2006 clash at the tender age of 20.
With the scores level heading past the 55-minute mark, the most unlikely of sources conjured up a moment of brilliance to announce himself as one of football’s rising stars. In just his fourth outing for the club, the central defender strayed into the box after a promising Villa attack, and after a series of deflections and bounces, he thought ‘sod it’, leaping into the air in a manner his 34-year-old body most likely couldn’t replicate quite as well.
Looking like prime Zlatan, he hit a superb scissor kick that surprised even himself, sending the Holte End into raptures.
Marcus Tudgay’s Screamer Against Sheffield United
Having won the first Steel City clash by a narrow 1-0 scoreline earlier in the season, Sheffield Wednesday headed into their fixture at Bramall Lane aiming to complete their first double over the Blades in 95 years.
Matters on-field reflected emotions off it, with two goals inside the opening five minutes matching the intensity emitting from the supporters in the stands. Marcus Tudgay was already well-loved from his near-four season stay with the Owls, but if there was any doubting how adored by the supporters he was before the match, his 29th-minute stunner put those claims to rest.
Collecting the ball inside the Blades half after a break away from their opponents attack, he took four touches en route towards the opposing penalty box. With a swarm of defenders closing him down at this point, there were precious little options available to him other than taking a right old swing at the ball. And blimey, that he did.
A ferocious 25-yard strike angled perfectly into the far top corner, sailing through the air for enough time to allow every person in attendance to gasp in amazement.
Gary Hooper’s Perfect Execution Against Rangers
One of the great footballing derbies, the Old Firm, has seen goals, red cards and drama galore. If you thought that picking one strike in particular may have been tough, but then you clearly haven’t seen Gary Hooper’s goal in 2011. There is perfection, and then there is what Gary Hooper did at Ibrox.
Before getting on to the goal itself, Scott Brown’s no-look reverse pass is to be drooled over also. Running in a vertical line down the pitch, he picked out Hooper with a pass Ronaldinho would’ve been proud of, the pass in itself is worthy of a place on some list, somewhere. However, what Hooper did was truly out of this world.
One magnificent outside-of-the-foot touch set himself up to shoot, before he curled a daisy-cutter into the far bottom corner. That’s what it looks like on first glance, a good, but not great, tidy finish across goal.
Yet, the reverse angle shows just how mesmeric the bend and weight of the shot is. How it curls outside the line of the goal and back in, just to be out of reach to Allan McGregor’s long arms, before nestling just inside the post to the millimetre, it’s striker excellence. He couldn’t have done anything better or different in order to score that – a sublime goal on the biggest stage in Scotland.
Gary McAllister’s Quick Thinking Against Everton
Before the Trent Alexander-Arnold’s of this world, Liverpool had another own quick-thinking maestro among their ranks: Gary McAllister. They may not look anything alike, but they both possess a smart footballing brain, that’s for sure.
On this occasion, a dramatic Merseyside Derby was seemingly set to end honours even as the 2-2 scoreline edged closer to becoming the final result. With a 44-yard free kick set to be the last action of the game, it seemed for all the world as if McAllister would hang it up at the back post for someone to get a head on – just as he had done all match.
Instead, he shocked everyone – none more so than goalkeeper Paul Gerrard – by aiming for goal and just sneaking the ball inside the near post. He went absolutely bonkers, as you’d have thought, having netted a 94th-minute winner in one of England’s biggest derby games. The audacity to try it. Imagine if he had got caught out?
Wayne Rooney’s Overhead Magnificence Against Manchester City
It’s a goal that never goes away. Why should it? Not only is it one of the great goals scored in a derby game, but it’s also, undeniably, one of the finest the Premier League has ever seen.
Few words justify its splendour. How he adjusts his body to get in position for the deflected cross, the timing of his leap, how it’s almost perfectly in the top corner, the fact he was labelled overweight prior to that season, so much of the goal is exquisite.
Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick against Manchester City is the perfect advertisement for Premier League football. The unexpected happening on the biggest stage of all, the most talked-about matches living up to their billing, but most of all, fantastic entertainment and world-class goals.
Take a bow, Wazza.
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