Newcastle United U21s were just minutes away from a Tyne-Wear Derby win against arch rivals Sunderland when visiting goalkeeper Alex Bass was sent up for a corner.
What unfolded next could only be described as carnage. Bass rose highest in the box, planted a header against the post, and then bundled the rebound of his original header over the line.
The section of Sunderland fans high up in St James’ Park were sent into raptures and the goalkeeper was immediately mobbed by his teammates, while the Newcastle players surrounded the referee claiming Bass had used his hands to divert the ball home at the second attempt.
Newcastle players had a right to be aggrieved however, as it was later revealed by Bass himself that he handled the ball on it’s way into the net. He had been the talking point all night, having made a number of saves, while also being involved in the altercation which resulted in Newcastle midfielder Jay Turner-Cooke being sent off late in the game. But this moment topped the lot.
Bass’ actions meant he was the talking point on social media in the hours that followed the game, with supporters of both sides having their say on the key moment of controversy. Particular reference was made to Sunderland’s attacking woes, which has seen the first team without their big names such as Ross Stewart for many weeks now through injuries.
@braddfearnleyy “Alex Bass is on my mind and he’s Sunderland’s number 9.”
@Lyox_1 “Stick him up top against Huddersfield.
@MalcolmJBond “Goalkeeper handles the ball inside the area, what’s all the fuss about?.”
@Owensafc0 “A Striker at last.”
@EastwoodGreig “1-0 in my book, Several Sunderland first team players make it null and void for me.”
@bnwbanter “#SAFC have tonight announced they will be holding an open top bus parade tomorrow afternoon and all workplaces will be close from 12pm onwards to celebrate the U21’s last minute equaliser against #NUFC in the 1-1 draw at St James’ Park tonight.”
Unlike many Newcastle supporters, Bass himself seemed to see the funny side, adding his face to the famous “hand of god” image, with the shot-stopper now being known to have produced: “The Hand of Cod”
It was an end to a game that no one in the crowd could have foreseen, and Bass may have just written himself into Newcastle v Sunderland folklore, despite this being only being an U21 game.