Hodges – Doncaster vs Scunthorpe – 2001

25 01 2011

Carl MacDonald writes at his blog A Journalist in the Making. Carl doesn’t have a video to capture his magic moment – and he doesn’t need one. Here he vividly describes his favourite goal …

17th November 2001. There was an air of tension hanging over Doncaster Rover’s Belle Vue stadium. At that time, Rovers were an underachieving Conference side, their current Championship status seemingly a distant dream. By the same token, visitors and local rivals Scunthorpe United were a mid-table Division Three outfit, their own Championship odyssey a million miles away.

The two sides had been drawn together in the F.A. Cup first round, and having already witnessed my first derby away day at Hull a couple of years previously, my old man bundled an 11-year-old me into the car and we made the short journey to Doncaster to see The Iron play.

News had filtered through that some Scunthorpe hooligans had left a trail of destruction on their route, and a riot had broken out in a pub near the ground. As we were ushered in through the turnstiles, the atmosphere was ugly and grey, much like the stadium.

Belle Vue was a dilapidated old ground; the away stand was uncovered and the steps on the terraces were bereft of large chunks of concrete.

As the wind and freezing temperature gnawed at my fresh face, the game started. I remember the vitriol that poured between the two sets of fans. And I remember the disgruntled look of horror on the faces of my fellow travelling fans as Doncaster deservedly took the lead, despite being underdogs. 

Scunthorpe were clearly in need of a flash of inspiration, and though my support of The Iron was only in its infancy, I was only too aware that grabbing an equaliser was easier said than done.

And then things changed. One of my first genuine heroes was a little winger called Lee Hodges. I loved the way he played the game; he was diminutive and a little rotund, but the way he attacked defenders had me off my seat in excitement on many occasions. He was also partial to the odd wonder goal, so I was pinning my hopes on him here. But would he fancy the battle on the Bell Vue quagmire? As it happens, yes he would…

Hodges picked up the ball a couple of feet inside his own half. He looked up for a pass but as usual there was nothing happening around him. The supporters groaned at the lack of support.

Hodges carried the ball, nipped past a Doncaster midfielder. Then he went past another, and then jinked back past the first guy again. This was what I was after. Little Lee Hodges carrying the fight again.

He was now in Doncaster territory, and skipped past another couple of desperate challenges, but still he found himself 35 yards from goal, and with no real options to set up an attack as his team mates lumbered around aimlessly.

Hodges was different though, he only had one thing on his mind; goal. He smashed the ball from a ridiculous range with his left foot, and it flew like an arrow into the top corner, the despairing Doncaster goalkeeper nowhere to be seen.

It was a stunning strike, made all the more sweet for the fact it came in a local derby cup fixture.

The away end went ballistic, and I remember jumping around like a jack-in-the-box as my dad picked me up and danced in celebration.

Scunthorpe went on to win the game 3-2, but my abiding memory of the match will always be those few seconds of total magic from Lee Hodges. That night on Match of the Day, I couldn’t help but beam with excitement as Gary Lineker and co. purred over a wonder goal from a chubby little midfielder who played for Scunthorpe United.

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2 responses

26 01 2011
Branching out… | A Journalist in the Making…

[…] The first is an article on the blog GhostGoal. The writers had asked for people to send in their favourite ever goals, and recalling one of my magic moments, I obliged. Read it here. […]

30 01 2011
dad

Oh yes son, will never forget that goal. Definately the best away goal I’ve seen from a player in Iron colours. Not quite as good as the best Scunny goal ever scored for me that honour goes to Mr beckfords outrageous effort at home to Bradford I believe, a few seasons ago. Just genius!!

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