Doncaster Rovers: ‘Goal from heaven’ cemented Billy Sharp’s place in Doncaster hearts forever

Billy Sharp celebrates his 'goal from heaven' against Middlesbrough in 2011. Picture: Steve Uttley
Billy Sharp celebrates his 'goal from heaven' against Middlesbrough in 2011. Picture: Steve Uttley
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Doncaster Rovers’ colourful recent history has been littered with iconic moments, memorable matches and glorious goals.

Too many to mention here.

But with Middlesbrough the visitors to the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow, memories of one stand-out, spine-tingling strike come flooding back.

And in terms of pure emotion, meaning and sentiment, very few moments in our lifetime will come close to, as Tony Mowbray dubbed it, the ‘goal from heaven’.

Billy Sharp will certainly never forget that chilly November night at the Keepmoat.

Seeking an escape, just some sort of solace three days after the tragic loss of his two-day-old son Luey, Billy marked the occasion in the best manner possible, with a first time left foot volley of epic proportions.

His run was excellent, the finish exquisite, and the celebration, well it was extraordinarily emotional.

‘That’s for you son’, read Billy’s commemorative under-shirt. There and then the Sheffield lad cemented his place in Doncaster hearts forever - and vice versa.

Football was put firmly into perspective that evening.

But, for Billy, the goal crowned a special bond with his adoring Doncaster public; a bond that will never be broken and a relationship rekindled this month via by the best bit of business that Paul Dickov could have done in the January window.

Doncaster is a place where Billy will always be loved, cherished and adored. He will always feel wanted at Rovers. He was always going to be welcomed back with open arms.

So, following the 27-year-old’s admission last week that he was falling out of love with football after a catalogue of temporary moves and injury setbacks since joining Southampton, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise to see Sharp back in the red and white hoops for the visit of Boro again, just two years on from that poignant evening under the Keepmoat lights.

The tragedy that the Sharp family went through has clearly given Billy a wider perspective on life. There’s more to it than football, fame and fortune.

He’s at Doncaster to enjoy himself, to be happy, and score a few goals along the way. And his return has not only reunited a fan-base that had become divided on troublesome takeover politics, it has given everyone associated with the club a renewed sense of hope and optimism that Rovers can continue their climb away from the Championship drop zone.

Sharp was a little rusty against Charlton.

In fact, the only thing missing against the Addicks, on an otherwise thoroughly satisfying evening, was a Sharp goal. Billy clearly failed to read the script when his chance arrived in the second half, bursting clear but failing to trouble Ben Alnwick in the Charlton goal.

Tomorrow the arrival of Middlesbrough in town will evoke recent memories, it’ll remind us all there’s more to life than football, and it will signify the special relationship Sharp has with Rovers.

If he gets another chance like Tuesday night, don’t bet against him taking it.