On Sunday, we saw the most bizarre soccer match in recent memory, if not in all of soccer history. The match was between two League One (lower English division) sides, Doncaster Rovers and Bury.
All of the ‘strangeness’ of the match, which saw plenty of missed opportunities, culminated in the dying minutes of the game. Doncaster’s Harry Forrester accidentally gave his team the lead in stoppage time when he tried to return the ball back to Bury’s goalkeeper, Christian Walton. Walton had thrown the ball out of play due to an injury, so in an attempt at sportsmanship, Forrester tried to volley the ball back. However, he accidentally volleyed the ball over the keeper and into Bury’s goal.
He was immediately verbally attacked by Bury players as he put his hands up in a vow of apology.
The story doesn’t end there. Doncaster’s coach Paul Dickov naturally saw the incident, and ordered all of his players to let Bury score on the ensuing kickoff. The decision drew a lot of jeers from the crowd as Bury’s striker, Leon Clarke, dribbled the ball into the net with no resistance from the opposition.
After the match, Dickov told BBC;
“I didn’t really think twice about allowing them to equalize. It just wouldn’t have been right for us to take three points in the circumstances. It was just an unfortunate ending to the game. Harry Forrester hit the ball too sweet and I was just hoping it wouldn’t go in. When it did we just had to allow them to score because you can’t win a game like that.”
Bury’s manager, David Flitcroft, complimented Dickov’s sportsmanship, saying,
“[Dickov had] put football in a good place with his sportsmanship. Because if you lose morality the game has no substance for me. I’ve got the ultimate respect for Paul Dickov. He tried to get the referee to award a foul throw initially but then he’s allowed us to score from the restart.”
Even Harry Forrester, the man who initially started the whole chain events due to his volley, took to Twitter to apologize.
“Apologies to Bury for the shank. I haven’t got that placement from 40 yards I can assure you. Totally accidental.”
At least the man is honest. Here is the video of the whole bizarre incident.