Greatest Goal I Ever Saw: Radoslaw's Rocket For Nottingham Forest v Derby County
The greatest goal I ever saw fell on a Saturday in August of 2009. It was derby day at a sun soaked City Ground, seven games into the season and Nottingham Forest faced the arduous task of playing Derby County. A team that we love to hate more than any other – but a team we had failed to beat home or away since a 3-0 victory at the City Ground back in 2003. As you might imagine, with six years of utter disdain behind us, expectations were moderately low going into the game.
Arriving late to a brimming City Ground after one too many ale’s, meant I sat down as the game kicked off. 30 seconds in, with the chorus in full flow, Lee Camp launches a mile long goal kick into the heart of the Derby defence. After being carelessly hoofed from head to toe, the ball eventually finds Chris Gunter who floats a low cross into the box, only to be deflected out to fresh faced Radoslaw Majewski who without a second thought hits a low, hard, merciless shot from 25 yards out. The ball barely moving in the air, cuts through the sultry Nottingham air like a knife through butter and flashes past a helpless Stephen Bywater - smashing the upright and bouncing into the net leaving the sprawling mass of Derby fans behind the goal in a utter silence, and providing me with a memory that I’ll cherish forever.
As the Derby fans tried to come to terms with what they had just witnessed, the Nottingham Forest faithful broke into full song. The not-so classic “who are ya?” chant echoed across the City Ground from stand to stand - adding to an already heavily tense atmosphere, only made worse by the fact that Billy Davies, an ex Derby manager and Nigel Clough an ex-Forest player proceeded to go toe-to-toe on the touchline throughout the game.
Following what could only be the best possible start to a derby game, the play descended into a scrappy end-to-end affair with each team making surging attacks into the oppositions halves. Desperate attempts were made to out do counterparts and gain bragging rights that had been derby’s rightful property for six years previously.
After picking up two more goals in the first half from Dexter Blackstock and Nathan Tyson - we went into the second half brimming with confidence, wondering when this unusual, blissful feeling would end…
Just five minutes, if you’re asking. The second-half saw us lose the composure that we’d shown so gleefully in the first half, and Derby took control of the game. After picking up a scrappy deflected goal from Miles Addison, Jake Livermore added an equally boring goal around the hour mark - in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson this really was squeaky bum time. As the minutes dragged on, the game became unbearable to watch. Being on the brink of your first win over your arch-rivals for six years and foreseeing it all going down the effing pan is heartbreaking to say the least – thankfully we held on albeit by the skin of our withered, enamel-less teeth.
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