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"Gary Mac at the Pit (2000-01)" by Dave Usher


 

The 2001 treble year is memorable for many things. Michael Owen's doubles in Cardiff and Rome, Jamie Carragher's winning penalty in the shoot out win over Birmingham, and the incredible night in Dortmund all immediately spring to mind.

 
But the moment which possibly defined the entire season came in a league game at Goodison Park on Easter Monday. Liverpool had led twice through Emile Heskey and Markus Babbel, only to be pegged back by a Duncan Ferguson goal and hotly disputed penalty converted by David Unsworth. Days earlier Leeds had won at Anfield on Good Friday to pull away from the Reds in the race for a Champions League spot, and anything less than a victory at Goodison was not going to be good enough.
 
Robbie Fowler had missed a penalty, Igor Biscan had been sent off and it looked as though it wasn't to be Liverpool's night. With the game well into stoppage time it seemed the reds would have to settle for a point.  Then substitute Gregory Vignal was brought down 44 yards from goal. Gary McAllister shaped up to take the free kick with everybody in the stadium expecting him to float the ball in looking for the head of Sami Hyypia. Everton keeper Paul Gerrard certainly thought so as he edged across his goal anticipating a cross.
 
But wily old fox Gary Mac noticed Gerrard's positioning and the rest is history. As the ball fizzed into the bottom corner, Goodison was stunned, except for the three thousand or so ecstatic Reds packed into a corner of the Bullens Road.  McAllister was mobbed, a delirious Sammy Lee charged onto the field to join in with the celebrations and the wheels were in motion for what was to turn out to be one of the greatest finishes to a season in the club's history.
 
McAllister would play a key role in the remaining games, contributing several key goals and assists as the Redmen overhauled Leeds for a CL spot and secured a treble of cups.  But had he not scored that amazing free-kick at the Pit, who knows how the rest of the season would have panned out. The win at Goodison gave the team a huge lift at a time when they needed it most. It proved to be the catalyst for all that followed and was perhaps the most magical of the many magic moments from the 2000/01 season.
 

 

 

 
Season:  2000/01
Opposition: Everton
Result: 2-3
Scorer(s): Emile Heskey. Markus Babbel, Gary McAllister
Venue: Goodison Park
 

 


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