There are plenty of' candidates for our accolade of Weekend Star today, and after all the shocks in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, all the names are from lower league clubs who put the frighteners on ‘superior’ opposition.
Mentioned in dispatches are Southend’s Peter Clarke who got the Shrimpers last minute equaliser at Chelsea, Nathan Tyson, Robert Earnshaw and Joe Garner who got Nottingham Forest’s 3 goals in their superb win at cash rich Manchester City, Torquay’s Matt Green, scorer of the winner against Blackpool and Craig Mackail-Smith of League One side Petebrough (managed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s son Darren) who earned a 1 – 1 draw away to Premier League outfit West Brom.
But our winner is David Foley of' Hartlepool United who’s stunning 25 year drive put paid to top flight Stoke City as the League One team ran out winners 2 – 0.
At just 5′ 4″ Foley sometimes finds it hard to get noticed, but he certainly made it to centre stage on Saturday in his highly visible Mercurial Vapor IV’s in red, gold and black.
Foley, who became the youngest player ever to play for the club when he came on as a substitute against Port Vale in August 2003 aged just 16 years and 44 days, made sure of Hartlepool’s giant killing act when his unstoppable effort flew in to the top corner with 15 minutes remaining. Earlier, central defender Michael Nelson had given the home side the lead with a header 4 minutes after the break.
The performance delighted caretaker boss Chris Turner who said:
When we are down to the bare bones striker-wise and David goes on, I’m sure a lot of people in the ground thought, ‘oh dear, he’s playing against two big 6ft 4in centre-halves.
But he turned them and he forced them back and the ball sat up nicely, and he hit it and it went in the top corner.
That’s something that the FA Cup seems to keep bringing up, these unlikely situations, and players become heroes for a short space of time.
Turner, Foley and Hartlepool’s reward in round 4 is another glamour home tie against West Ham United.