The Greatest Goal I Ever Saw: Everton's Lee Carsley v Liverpool

"Who put the ball in the red sh*te's net? Who put the ball in the red sh*te's net? Who put the ball in the red sh*te's net? Super Lee Carsley!"
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A chant which often echoes round Goodison Park to this day.

Having been born in 1978, I grew up during the greatest period in Everton's history, the glorious mid 80's (though those who witnessed first hand Catterick's School Of Science may disagree with me). I could write a hundred of these about goals from that era. In fact, I could write a dozen about Kevin Sheedy alone; his double free-kick against Ipswich, his goal against Rapid Vienna, and any number of volley's struck with that majestic left foot of his. Not to mention that free kick against Liverpool, when he stuck the V's up to the Kop. Then of course there's Graeme Sharp's thunderous volley at Anfield in '84. But it's another, more recent goal against the old enemy across Stanley Park that makes the cut.

The post-Kendall era was a fairly steady decline. Club legend Colin Harvey never came close to matching the achievements of his predecessor, and two unsuccessful further stints for Kendall broke up the disastrous Mike Walker reign and the Joe Royle tenure which brought us our last piece of silverware (the '95 F.A. Cup). After Kendall's third spell came Walter Smith, a manager who, after buying players the club (unbeknownst to him) couldn't afford, then being forced to sell our best players as debts mounted, attempted to bring stability to the club with what he had at his disposal. Unfortunately this lead to nearly four years of some of the dullest football Evertonians have ever witnessed. In Smith's wake came David Moyes. While Moyes could never exactly be accused of being Pep Guidiola, he did instantly help to lift some of the gloom that had engulfed Goodison Park for years. Like Smith had been forced to, Moyes set out to make the most of what he had, to get the best out of some fairly average players. This philosophy was perhaps best exemplified by Lee Carsley in the 2004/05 season. His tireless hard work in the centre of the Everton midfield was pivotal to the Toffees breaking into the so-called 'big 4' and actually making it into the Champions League.

But amidst all the graft were two moments of genuine brilliance. A few weeks before the derby, Cars (as he was known) struck a free kick of Beckham-esque beauty against Newcastle, but even better was to come in the derby a few weeks later. Despite a glorious opening for Tim Cahill, who uncharacteristically spurned it, Liverpool had been on top in the first half (as seems to have been the case more often than not in recent years). In the second half, with the score at 0-0, Everton attacked down the left. Carsley's twin brother Thomas Graveson whipped in a cross which was headed clear. Marcus Bent, the hard working journey man, kept the move alive and the ball found it's way to Leon Osman, who held the ball up before laying it into the path of the advancing Carsley. As he approached the ball, it looked like he was about to put his foot right through it, but instead, he stroked the ball with the inside of his foot through the tiny corridor between two Liverpool defenders, past Chris Kirkland and into the net. It was a superb goal. If his free-kick against Newcastle had been Beckham-esque, then this goal was, dare I say it, Gerrard-esque. As it hit the back of the net, Goodison erupted. Yes, I know that football grounds always 'erupt' when someone scores, especially in a game like this, but, with this goal, Goodison erupted. Even the miserable old sod who used to sit a few rows behind me (well, behind my Nana and Granddad, whose season tickets I used to frequently use) who used to shout "that's negative Everton" every time we tried to retain possession and "don't just hoof it forward" every time we tried to attack, was screaming with delight. The players erupted too, racing towards Carsley, dragging him to the ground and creating a pile-on any school playground would have been proud of. The picture of that pile-on has become iconic in recent Everton history; Cars at the bottom, layers of Weir, Kilbane and Stubbs, and perched atop it, fist held aloft towards the bench, his face a picture of delight, Tim Cahill, no longer worrying about his earlier miss.

After a very solid start to the season, the win gave us the impetus to go on and achieve our best finish of the Premier League era, even beating the Reds to the fourth Champions League spot.

Nathan's debut novel "The World Is (Not) A Cold Dead Place" is out now.