The best I’ve ever seen #3: Dave Mitchell’s header vs Watford 4 January 1992
When Simon Bayliss saw our ‘Best I’ve Ever Seen’ feature, starting firstly with Rory Fallon’s overhead kick against Bristol City being chosen, and then Will Dixon nominated by Vic Morgan, he contacted us to nominate the best goal he’d ever seen scored by Swindon Town…
This certainly is not an easy choice. I’ve seen some screamers in my 38 years watching the Town; remember Steve Foley away at Blackburn in the Play-off semi in 1990? There have also been some scrappy goals which still meant so much at the time; like Paul Bodin’s 90th minute winner against Portsmouth in February 1993 when we’d played them off the pitch all match and totally deserved the win.
However I’ve picked Dave Mitchell’s header against Watford in the FA Cup at the County Ground in January 1992. This choice is not just for the way he finished it, but also for the fantastic build up to the goal which is probably the best I’ve seen – I say probably as choosing one goal from many hundreds means I’ve no doubt forgotten many good goals.
We’d beaten Millwall 3-1 at home on New Years Day three days previously, our first league win for 10 games. So I turned up on the Saturday reasonably confident that we’d found our scoring boots and could carry this on against Watford. Just over 10,000 turned up for the match, this was when the FA Cup still meant something and you could still get bigger crowds for cup matches than league games.
Town got off to the best possible start after four minutes with Duncan Shearer chesting down a lovely long ball from Ross MacLaren and half volleying it past David James to put us one up. Six minutes later and we were two up, and this goal is my nomination…
Watford’s Jason Drysdale, yes him, unwittingly started the move off by hitting a weak cross which Colin Calderwood had to stoop to head; it was hit that badly. If only Steve McMahon had been there to see that we may not have paid £340,000 for him some three years later!
Colin headed it to Ross MacLaren and Ross hit another lovely long ball to Dave Mitchell just inside the Watford half. Mitchell hit a lovely first time pass on the volley to Martin Ling who surged forward with the ball.
When Ling got to just outside the penalty area he passed it out to the right to Duncan Shearer who placed a precise first time cross which Dave Mitchell threw himself at and sent a bullet header flying over David James.
As the commentator says on the official club video for that season; “What a goal, what a superb goal, you won’t see better than that, and the County Ground erupts, that was absolute perfection.”
After that explosive first ten minutes we had to wait until just before half time for another goal, this time it was Watford who scored when Luther Blissett hit a cracker of a goal over Nicky Hammond.
Luther Blissett then made it 2-2 thirteen minutes into the second half with a header from a corner, he got to the ball well but i think Hammond should have beaten him to it.
However, Micky Hazard created the winner with ten minutes to go, running from inside his own half to just outside the penalty area where he threaded a lovely pass for Duncan Shearer who placed the ball into the corner of the net out of the reach of David James.
The reward for this win was a trip to Cambridge United in round four, where we got revenge for the two league defeats with a comfortable 3-0 win, beauty beat brawn that day.
Back to my nomination, and I really can’t think of a better build up to a goal along with an excellent finish, however if people think there are better ones, then please nominate them, preferably with footage from Youtube to remind me of goals I’ve forgotten.