Worcester City: Wayne Thomas turns his hand to keeping goal
Veteran Worcester centre-half Wayne Thomas knows a thing or two about how to stop people scoring - but Saturday's clean sheet against Harrogate is almost certainly the most memorable of his 18-year career.
The 35-year-old, who has played more than 500 games, started Saturday's Conference North game on the bench.
But when City were left without a recognised goalkeeper after Jose Veiga picked up an injury 30 seconds into the game, Thomas took the gloves and kept out the best that Harrogate could throw at him in a 2-0 win.
|Worcester City commentator Dan Johnson, BBC Hereford & Worcester:|
|"Wayne's always been a colourful character but I don't think I've ever seen a player have so much fun on a pitch as he had on Saturday. The crowd chanted his name throughout and he produced some textbook time-wasting that any veteran keeper would be proud of. He only joined the club in the summer but is already a fans' favourite and could well become a club legend."|
"We've got two good keepers," City boss Carl Heeley told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "And 99 times out of 100, when you have a spare keeper on the bench, he's not used.
"But that's the way it goes."
This season's first-choice Nathan Vaughan is nursing a groin injury, leaving Worcester without a back-up option on the bench.
"Jose went in goal and, within the first 30 seconds, he's got a nasty-looking knee injury," added Heeley.
"So I got the boys together and asked 'How many of you have ever played in goal?' - that was the selection process.
"Tommo put his hand up and off he went."
City played so well, however, that Thomas did not have a meaningful save to make, being forced only to punch clear a few times.
"He was protected really well," added Heeley. "But he said if they'd had a shot at him, he'd have saved it anyway."
|Great goalkeeping substitutes|
|April 1991: Big striker Niall Quinn scores one, then goes in goal after Tony Coton is sent off and saves a Dean Saunders penalty for Manchester City in a 2-1 win over Derby County at Maine Road|
|April 2009: Front man Ryan Lowe makes one, scores one and then makes a string of saves after going in goal for the final 10 minutes when John Danby is injured in Chester's 2-1 win at Notts County|
|August 2014: Ludogorets defender Cosmin Moti goes in goal after his keeper is sent off in extra time, then makes two penalty saves in the shoot-out to send his side through to the Champions League group stages|
Thomas's career has taken him all the way from Torquay to the Greek Super League, via noteworthy stops at Stoke City, Burnley and Southampton.
A close-range goal for Stoke in the FA Cup third round in 2005 at Highbury against then reigning Premier League champions Arsenal, almost made the headlines.
But just a week before he hopes to book a place in this year's FA Cup first round with Worcester, a switch of position saw him grab the spotlight again.