The A-League’s top seven own goals

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Everybody loves a goalscorer. So why not shed some love on those who made the scoreboard for all the wrong reasons?

The A-League has seen its own fair share of own goals – over 115 to be exact. Some of which transpired from poor defensive choices, goalkeeper errors or just being shit-out-of-luck. 

As a fan, we don’t always know how to react to these situations. We see the ball cross the wrong threshold and suddenly we find ourselves thinking, should we be angry? Should we sympathise? Should we laugh?  

We should commemorate those football blunders. Just like the A-League celebrates goal scorers with the Golden Boot Award, consider this The Football Sacks’ very own Gum Boot Award. 

I bring to you the nominees for the A-League’s finest own goals that will make you cringe, cry and curse. 

7. Jason Pasfield, Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners 2013

I’m kickstarting the countdown with a reminder: never underestimate how important your first touch is! Central Coast Mariners Goalkeeper Jason Pasfield learned this lesson the hard way. After a receiving a backwards pass from Trent Sainsbury, the goalie underestimated the delivery and couldn’t bring the ball under control. It bounced off his foot and even with an impressive recovery run to goal, the ball just made the line. Pasfield, however, was still lucky on two accounts. The Mariners walked away with a 2-2 draw, nabbing a point and the own goal went under Sainsbury’s name. Yikes!

6. Rodrigo Vargas, Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United 2010

It is a night Melbourne Victory would not forget. It was supposed to commemorate the return of forward Archie Thompson, instead the limelight went to central defender Rodrigo Vargas for scoring an own goal header in the second half. Look, I will be nice here and say he was trying to stop a cross in the box, but in his overall football career Vargas has four own goals to his name! Unfortunately, Victory lost 1-0 that night and walked away with nothing but a headache.

5. Mathew Kemp, Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets 2005

This was one of those sad moments when the box turns into a pinball arena. All the fumbling inside the box left the ball to bounce off Daniel Beltrame onto Mathew Kemp’s shin and into the goal. As disappointing as the 4-2 result was, United still recovered extremely well, ending the 2005/06 campaign as first on the ladder. Not to mention, Ante Milicic’s reluctance to celebrate is an added bonus!

4. Jason Hoffman, Newcastle Jets v Wellington Pheonix 2017

It was just a brutal game that I would never wish upon a Jets spectator. Being 3-0 down is a heart-wrenching situation and the game continued to worsen for the red-and-blues when Jason Hoffman had a no-brainer in front of his own goal. It was easily a spur of the moment decision – a poor one at that – but that stray leg reaching out in the six yard box sealed the Jet’s fate. If that was not enough, the match resulted in a 5-0 defeat. A tough day for players and supporters alike.

3. Tando Velaphi, Perth Glory v Wellington Pheonix 2011

What a disaster. Just when you think the job is done, physics tells you otherwise. What gets me with this own goal is you can see Tando Velaphi has a moment of hesitation as to whether he punched the ball out safely or not. In that brief microsecond he realised the mistake, reacts late and a second attempt for the save failed miserably. To top it all off, he collides with the Nix player and they both plummet to the ground. It is somewhat sad but mostly chuckle-worthy overall. 

2. Nigel Boogaard, Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United 2014

In all honesty, this list of contenders for the Gum Boot Award would be incomplete without the mention of Nigel Boogaard. He is the own goal hotshot with a record of six – officially making him as the all time A-League player with the highest amount of own goals. To his credit, the own goals are an adverse concoction of defensive errors and misfortune. For example, this header to clear the corner, hits the underside of the crossbar and tumbles into the net. Let’s hope we don’t see him add anymore to the tally this season.

1. Eugene Galekovic, Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar 2015

Last but not least, the crowning champion of The Football Sack’s Gum Boot Award is Eugene Galekovic. What is even going on here? Galekovic misjudges the ball, tries to kick it out, fails again and misses the rebound catch. The entire scene is a fiasco from start to finish. I want to feel sorry for Galekovic, I really do, but that many hilarious errors is worth going down the TFS hall of fame.

Honourable Mention – Josh Rose, Central Coast Mariners v Guangzhou Asian Champions League 2015

I know I said we were counting down the Top 7 A-League Own Goals but I couldn’t finish without noting the horrific blunder from Josh Rose in the Asian Champions League. He had one job but a simple pass to goalkeeper Liam Reddy turned into a long ranged shot. Guangzhou walked away victorious at 3-1 and Rose left the pitch with a memory he rather let wither away.

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Jemma Pepper
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2020/21 season. Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Germany) at the University of Technology Sydney. Seven days without playing football can make one weak!
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