Words: Rhys Thomas 
Image: Offside Sports Photography


It's a rare sight seeing the keeper leave the pitch.

It's a rarer sight being three subs down and seeing one of the remaining ten take off their shirt, swapping it for some triple XL gloves and an equally large highlighter-pink long-sleeved-shirt, and the long, confused walk to the net looking like the fish out of water, flapping like it's his first day of school, in the hand-me-down uniform, staring up and the goal, unimaginably huge, not knowing where the fuck to go, yards off the line already, ref's fine with it, though, too busy witnessing the scenes this sorry player has to navigate, usually in the critical stages of a critical match, and often job number one is trying to stop a penalty.

Still, though, diamonds are made under pressure, aren't they?

Here are some of our favourites:

Felipe bloody Melo


Melo! Remember him? Full of antics, would start on anything, dishing out the Sweet Chin Music for Inter like it was nothing. Also, the 2009 recipient of the Golden Bin award for Serie A's worst player. A notorious prick, some might say, yes, but, after leaving for Turkey, this was a seriously good save, essentially winning Galatasaray the game. And that celebration is the most obnoxious shit there ever was. Just look at it. How can you not support that celebration? The brilliant, brilliant, arsehole. 

Vinnie Jones' massive right hook and double save

Wimbledon against Newcastle. I know they still lost 6-1 but still, what a top effort. Greatest of all time, Vinnie. Loved him in Snatch. Shame about his consistently atrocious politics and belief systems. 

John O'Shea's sweeper masterclass and clean sheet

Forget that chip he did. And maybe even forget that time when he gave Figo the nutmeg. This was peak O'Shea, inventing the sweeper-keeper by accident, shielding United's 4-0 win. 

Rodrigo Palacio in the Coppa Italia

They were 2-0 up with twelve minutes to go, sure, but Hellas Verona spent this time coming down the flanks in their bright yellow, darting crosses wherever they could. However, nothing got passed him. There was one pretty sick save in amongst it, too. It hit ninety and just as the weight was prising off his rat-tail, FIVE minutes were added for the stoppage. He should have seen it coming, we all should have, but who did? No one. Five more bloody minutes. Kept a clean sheet though, didn't he?

Niall Quinn doing it all 

Now, this one is special. Quinny had score his twentieth goal of the season earlier in the half: City knock the ball toward the box from half way, then Quinn heads it, mate heads it back, on the laces, bounces and sneaks between the keeper and post – lovely. Later, though, Derby are putting in the pressure and the keeper takes a misguided swipe. Penalty. Red card. Quinn's put in goal, and only goes and tips the penalty over the bar like some Irish physics manipulator to keep it 1-0. This was all in the first half. He stays there the rest of the game and City win 2-1. He was the top goal scorer for them that year too with 21 goals.

Alex Revell's best bit of football ever

You know, except that screamer he netted for Rotherham at Wembley on their way to promotion. This one is more recent, in the MK Dons days. And yeah, they're the Franchise Bastards and we don't usually like to acknowledge their existence but, he's a striker, normally, is Alex, but he went in nets and made an outrageous penalty save to secure an essential point against Preston. They went down anyway, though. So it's fine.

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