Club News

BACK OF THE NET! 10 - Darren Bradley v Wolves 1993

A top ten of Albion goals, starting with a Bradley bullet

TO fill the days until football returns from the international break, Albion News editor Dave Bowler has been charged with selecting a top ten of Albion goals.

Picking a top ten of Albion goals over a lifetime of watching isn’t easy. For starters, at this advanced age, I’ve forgotten most of them. And do you pick great goals, funny goals, important goals? It’s a good question and I’ll only know the answer by next week when I’ve finished with it, but all I can say is it’s going to be a very personal collection and you’ll almost certainly disagree with it. Argue away…

"That's come out of a cannon that has!"

The golden larynx of Terry Cooper, describing for the viewers the thunderbolt shot that Darren Bradley placed into the top corner of the Birmingham Road End goal, past the Wolves, on 5th September 1993, a shot bludgeoned from fully 30 yards though, for the sake of legend, we can call it 50. 

However far out it was, and however many goalkeepers Wolves might have deployed that day, there was no keeping out a shot that left Darren Bradley firmly entrenched in the folklore of this football club, forever to be remembered for that goal, against that opposition. 

The goal came from a period of Wolves possession, which only makes it funnier of course. A throw-in in front of the Halfords Lane faithful found its way to Cyrille Regis, doing missionary work for the less fortunate by that stage of his career. His pass to Geoff Thomas produced a loose looped ball forward, Wayne Fereday ducking into a brave header to take the ball off Kevin Keen’s toe. Fereday set off on a galloping run, his natural turn of pace leaving Wolves men trailing in his wake and Albion players desperately trying to keep up. 

Arriving a dozen yards into the Wolves half, he slows the pace and spots Andy Hunt, back to goal, a few yards short of the penalty area. Fereday’s pass is routine enough, but Hunt’s first time lay off is sumptuous, beautifully rolled into the path of the oncoming Darren Bradley. 

As soon as he’s played the ball, Hunt is spinning away from his defender, looking to get in the box and on the end of a return pass. He didn’t get one. Bradley clearly had other things on his mind as he came steaming onto the ball. 

Without taking a touch, without breaking stride, he simply continued his run and flew through the ball, making the most perfect of connections that saw the ball sear a path into the top corner, and this in the days when balls wouldn’t loop and swerve and dip like stunt kites in order to deceive hapless goalkeepers as they do these days. 

Not only was it a belter, it was a match changer too, putting us 2-1 up in a game that we had been losing and giving Kevin Donovan the opportunity to practice his Ted Rodgers hand gestures…