REGULAR followers of, and participants in, Sunday league football, usually know to expect the unexpected.

Whether that is waterlogged goalmouths, wildlife on the pitch, or someone forgetting the away kit, life is never dull at the sport’s grassroots.

Yesterday, it was the turn of goalkeeper Ryan Hamlet to have one of those moments that will live long in his team’s folklore, but is sadly unlikely to feature on Match of the Day, when he scored his team’s winning goal – direct from a goal kick.

Ryan, 27, was playing for The White Bear FC, of Bedale, North Yorkshire, a new club in the Hillsprint Hambleton Ales Football Combination League this season, when his achieved his feat on Sunday morning.

Playing at the club’s home pitch at Lamb’s Field on Firby Road, Bedale, against Streetlam Farmers, the match was finely poised at 1-1 in the 80th minute when Ryan stepped forward to take a goal kick.

The Northern Echo:

In gusty weather conditions, his powerful punt bounced just in front of his opposite number in the Streetlam goal, over his head and into an empty net.

“There was pandemonium in the middle of the pitch,” said Ryan. “Even some of the subs came onto the pitch to celebrate.

“Streetlam Farmers couldn’t believe it, (they were) almost in disbelief.”

The Northern Echo:

His strike won the game for The White Bear, and in a proper footballing cliche, Ryan describes himself as being “over the moon”.

“It was the first time I’ve ever scored as a goalie or out field player for a team I’ve been a part of,” he added.

His manager Russell Fraser, was equally proud, saying: “The goal was a great boost for Ryan who is new to playing in goal and topped off a great personal performance for the White Bear FC.”