The day is Saturday 8th May 1999.
Carlisle United need a win to stay in the Football League, after Scarborough scraped a draw against Peterborough to keep their league own status intact… for the time being.
With the scores level at 1-1 and 90 minutes on the clock, the Cumbrians looked doomed and destined for the drop.
Four minutes is signalled by the fourth official as the home side win a corner, with the game now deep into injury time.
Carlisle goalkeeper Jimmy Glass looks across at the touchline. His manager, or rather director of football, a man under the name of Nigel Pearson, was already waving him up the pitch.
The corner is delivered by Graham Anthony.
“It fell to me, wallop, goal, thank you very much,” is how Glass rather nonchalantly described one of the most remarkable moments in football history.
As Scott Dobie’s header was saved by Plymouth stopper James Dungey, the ball dropped at Glass’ feet, and the keeper finished it in the only way he knew how – by slamming it home from three yards.
The corner kick comes in… and… the goalkeeper’s punch… oh … Jimmy Glass! Jimmy Glass! Jimmy Glass, the goalkeeper, has scored a goal for Carlisle United! There’s a pitch invasion! There is a pitch invasion! The referee has been swamped – they’re bouncing on the crossbar!Commentator Derek Lacey, BBC Radio Cumbria
Cue pandemonium, an obligatory pitch invasion and wild scenes across Brunton Park.
“My first thought after I scored was: ‘Oh my God, I’m about to get 2,000 people on top of me.’ Then someone whacked me in the face and I got a nose bleed,” Glass said after the match.
He wasn’t wrong. As players bundled on top of their new hero, fans streamed onto the pitch to join in. It seemingly took an age for Glass to reappear from the melee, bloodied, bruised, but not beaten.
What was perhaps most incredible about the whole scenario was that he was barely known at the club that he is now considered a legend at.
After a series of goalkeeping issues including their first choice, Richard Knight, being recalled by parent club Derby from his loan period, Pearson was left with no goalkeepers and three games to save the club.
The Football League had to give special permission for the Cumbrians to sign a stopper outside of the transfer window, and Glass was their man, signing on loan from Swindon.
The Times ranked Glass’s goal as the seventh most important goal in football history. Glass’s boots are in the National Football Museum. As for Glass, he slipped off into relative anonymity after the incredible event.
Carlisle couldn’t sign Glass on a permanent deal in the summer, and he knocked around a bit at parent club Swindon before joining a host of clubs until he eventually exited football in 2004.
Following his retirement, Glass became a taxi driver in the south coast area of England, but found his way back into the game last year when he became the player liaison officer at Premier League club Bournemouth, where he spent three seasons between 1996 and 1998.
Pearson, on the other hand, was to repeat his managerial heroics 16 years later when he steered his Leicester City side clear of the Premier League drop.
Football has, and always will, provide occasional moments of pure, unadulterated joy from the most unlikely of sources – and Glass’s moment in the sun, 18 years ago to the day, will last forever.