Hyundai A-League Magic Moments: Nick Carle

The first in a series of articles looking back at magic moments over the first four seasons of the Hyundai A-League

Friday 27th October 2006 at EnergyAustralia Stadium, might not mean much too many people at first glance, but mention a certain Nick Carle goal and for those that saw it either live or on the box, it will live long in their memories.

In a season of football, especially one that is shorter than most competitions around the world, those really special moments are not that common, but on this Friday night, Carle produced a moment of magic that many believe will take a long time to be equalled or bettered.

The match is against Adelaide United; it-s into its dying minutes and delicately poised at 1-1 and the Newcastle Jets have just had Jade North sent from the field for a professional handball. Adelaide-s Carl Veart steps up to have a shot at a penalty and he blazes the ball over the bar.

Adelaide though keeps pressing for the winner, when the ball breaks to the edge of the Jets penalty area. The rest is history and even Carle could not have imagined what transpired in the 15 or so seconds later, especially scoring a goal.

“No, even I can admit that,” he laughed when asked if he was thinking of scoring when he picked up the ball. “It was a 50/50 challenge with me and Ross Aloisi and I was lucky enough to win it and the space just opened up for me down the field. Luckily enough I ran it and I was also lucky enough to score.

“I was quite lucky because if you watch the replay, Griffo (Joel Griffiths) blocked (Jason) Spagnuolo I think it was; because there is no way I would have got the whole way up the field without someone catching me, because I-m not that fast.”

Having raced at full speed almost the length of the pitch, Carle admitted that he needed to take the shot quickly as he was almost exhausted and what an exquisite shot it was; or was it as Nick explains.

“I like to hear people say I shot it with the outside of the foot, but to be fair it was more of a toe bash,” he said modestly.

“After running that long, I was getting tired and I was just trying to get my shot off and I was lucky enough to half toe bash it and half hit it with the outside of the foot and the ball went in.

“I would have to say, it-s probably one of the highlights of my career, because of how the game was going and it meant a lot to us, as we had just started to turn our season around and we really kicked on from there.”

Is it the best goal he has ever scored? “I would have to yes. Just the timing of it, the circumstances of the match and what it did for our season, as that win did a lot for our confidence.

“It was a great team performance that day; I thought we should have won by more and had it wrapped up by half time, but all in all I would have to say it is the best goal of my career.”

Many believe a better goal in the Hyundai A-League will almost certainly never scored, but while he thinks its nice that people believe it-s a special moment, he thinks better goals will be scored in the future.

“Yeah it is nice. The Hyundai A-League I really, really enjoyed those first two seasons and to top it off with that nice goal was special. I really enjoyed playing in Newcastle; it-s well documented in the past that I had a good relationship with the fans and the club.

“As far as the goal staying as the best goal, no I don-t think it will stay there. There will be plenty more great goals and it-s good for the league if there are.”

Carle was to lead the Jets to the Preliminary Final that year, only missing out on penalties and then went on to win the Player of the Year and of course, Goal of the Season.

“I felt really confident that season. Both years in the A-League I felt really comfortable; unfortunately we left our run a bit late that season (06-07) and I really do feel if we had finished first or second that season, it would have made for a real good grand final with Melbourne.

“I honestly felt we had the team to win it, but unfortunately we didn-t finish in that first or second position, because of our poor start to the season. Those two seasons set a good platform for me to get overseas and progress my career.”

Since then Carle has been plying his trade overseas, first with Turkish club Genclerbirligi, before a mid-season transfer to Bristol City and most recently with Crystal Palace. Palace were confident they could get back up to the English Premier League, but in the end finished mid-table of the Championship competition.

“When you are overseas, you are obviously going to have your highs and lows, but I have really enjoyed my time over there.

“In Turkey, the people were amazing; they were really nice people. Unfortunately from a family point of view, I couldn-t enjoy it, because I never spent time at home; we were always in camp a lot. But that was the only reason I did leave Turkey, despite what some people might say, it was purely for family reasons.

“With Bristol we got to the play-off final (against Hull City) and I think that was the biggest game of my career. Unfortunately we lost, but it was a good spell there and then I got a move to (Crystal) Palace, where I have a season of up-s and down-s.

“I have really enjoyed my time under Neil Warnock; he-s probably the funniest manager I-ve ever worked with, but he-s a real nice guy.

“The Championship is a different style of football to what I-ve played in the past, but I-m learning and it-s been a real enjoyable year for me, apart from the fact that we didn-t finish as high up as we would have liked. Obviously disappointed that we didn-t get to the play-offs.”

For now Carle is happy with where his career is at, although forcing his way back into the Qantas Socceroos fold is a big goal for the next 12 months. If he can reproduce goals like the one on that balmy Friday night in Newcastle, he will surely come into the reckoning!!