Monday, 31 October 2011

Leven on a Jetplane

Saturday, 29th October 2011
nPower League Two
OUFC 2 Port Vale 1

Well just what can you say about that goal? 'Sublime' doesn't even come close really, does it?  'Majestic' gives it too much humanity when it deserves to be exalted higher. 'Divine' associates it with gods who fall a little short themselves by comparison. And 'Splendiferous' is just a bit silly sounding.

Either way though, make no mistake that was the greatest goal I have ever seen scored by an Oxford player. And yes, I was there for Beauchamp's against Blackpool too. Sorry Joey, but this just edges that into 2nd place.

As some of you may have read in the rather marvellous matchday programme, I was looking at houses in the South of our fair county on Saturday morning. I nearly ended up having to miss this game in fact, due to one of the houses we really had our eye on not originally being available for viewing until 4pm.

Although I'd already missed quite enough of the season already with these house-buying shenanigans, I was still prepared to sacrifice yet another beery afternoon cheering on the U's if it helped in the long-run to make seeing them every week all the easier. But imagine at how miffed I'd have been had I missed this one?

Well, in the end, I didn't of course. Last house viewing finished at 2pm and I was jetting North to Blackbird Leys just in time to soak up a bit of pre-match atmos in a very busy East Stand.

They said that evening on Sky that it was probably 'game of the day' in League Two, and I'd be surprised if it wasn't. Vale are probably the best footballing side we've played at home so far this season and they went at us for the full 90 minutes and will probably feel aggrieved to have not come away with something out of the game. But they did come away with nothing. Ha ha ha I say.

Port Vale Away Kit: Grey.

Port Vale kicked-off proceedings in an odd fashion by appearing in a strange all-grey kit, probably in homage to their favourite wizard, Gandalf.

Well - they certainly tried to cast their spells on us with some good periods of pressure... umm, now something about Alfie 'Harry' Potter weaving some magic on the wing...all in a cauldron-like atmosphere.. la di da, yada yada yada...(all the clich├ęs about wizardry we seem to have all the time because of Potter, and you know them already and  I can't be arsed to finish them off here).

Then Duberry scored a goal. Did you see that one? He liked celebrating that one, didn't he? Well, for a man who has scored almost as many career own-goals as goals in the right end, I'd say he's allowed to go a bit doolally when he heads home a bullet like that. Was he pretending to be a charging bull, do we know?
DOOOOBS. Brilliant.
(Copyright Steve Daniels)
It was end to end stuff throughout and Clarke in goal kept us in it big time with a string of fantastic saves this game - he looked nailed on for man of the match I thought. It would surely take something special to deny him that honour, anyway.

But oh, up steps that cheeky Scot, Peter Leven. Wins the ball in his own half, takes one further touch, then BANG. Oh, the pure arrogance of the man, to even try it.

Here it is again- have a butchers again and marvel at it's majesty.
(Copyright Steve Daniels)
It's the best ever I reckon. The keeper was off his line, but not by too much. So Leven had to put a fair amount of power into this lob, as well as accuracy. That for me is why it's better than Beckham's famous effort. Plus it was clearly not speculative - he meant it so it wasn't a Nayim-style fluke. For both these reasons, I think Leven's goal was better than these other two prominent half-way line efforts I can recall.

Mind you - there was also this goal from loanee Jordan Rhodes for OUFC against Merthyr Tydfil in the FA Cup back in October 2007 (view from about 45 secs). Not halfway line, but about as far away - to be fair, that one was pretty special too. But then Rhodes did claim it was a fluke as he was actually crossing the ball. I don't believe him though.

Either way, I would say it's quite clear from the evidence presented to you today that Oxford United have scored the best two goals in the history of Association Football in the last 4 years. FACT.
Who is this ruddy-faced idiot? Unknown, but he liked Leven's goal. As did Paul Weller, bottom-left.
(Copyright: Steve Daniels)
Once I'd come down from the euphoria of celebrating that strike (a friend commented that it was one of those moments that "You end up kissing a big fat ugly man you don't even know". Well, we've all done it at some point, haven't we?), it really was a nervy last 25 mins as Vale continued to apply pressure. And then...

Penalty. Arrgh. It just wouldn't be on for Leven's strike not to be a match-winner, but looks as though we'd only have a point to show for it after all....

...but NO! Clarkey saves us again! Magnificent! What a game! I know that Leven got MotM for his superlative strike, but really it should have been Ryan's award. Lovely stuff.

And so I returned to London, celebratory Branos spicy chicken burger in hand, a very happy and buzzing man.
Celebration. Well done that man.
(Copyright Steve Daniels)
I'd just seen the greatest goal in the history of mankind. Oxford were up to 4th. I would soon be buying a house and be back in Oxfordshire. And on this coming Friday, I will literally be on that titular jet-plane off on my holidays! So it wasn't just a silly pun for the blog title. It was actually very clever.
Great times to be on OUFC fan. Great times indeed.

Up The U's!

1 comment:

mjohnson said...

On your hols again. It's going to be tough to top the Lonely Planet's number 1 travel destination 2012: