The brilliance of a sporting comeback is in the story, rather than the quality, of the game. Whether a 30-yard screamer from a B’allon D’or winner or a scuffed tap-in from a part-timer, a last-minute goal is always special, especially when, as with Blyth Spartans last week, the odds are stacked against you.
Spartans started well, going 1-0 up after only a minute, but Kidderminster levelled 5 minutes later and things went from bad to worse in the 22nd minute, when goalkeeper Jameson gave away a penalty and got sent off. With no keeper on the bench winger Robbie Day was forced into goal, and predictably conceded the penalty.
Despite a couple of impressive saves from the makeshift keeper Spartans let in another in the second half. With the score at 3-1, Spartans down to 10 men, a winger in goal, and a referee seemingly determined to ruin their chances it looked like the Blyth faithful would go home disappointed.
But Blyth weren’t quite done, and striker Dan Maguire scored his second of the match in the 88th minute. However, celebrations were muted, with less than 5 minutes to go surely it was just a consolation.
With time running out Robbie Day launched a final, hopeful, long ball upfield, it found its way to defender Nathan Buddle, who played a one-two in the box before smashing it into the bottom corner with only seconds to go. The Spartans faithful went wild as Blyth’s bench raced down the touchline to celebrate with the hero of the day.
Despite having none of the quality, notoriety or importance of other comebacks the game will live long in the memory of the 600 or so who witnessed it, and is exactly what sport should be, pure theatre.