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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Bizarre own goals
Peter Enckelman's own goal came at a crucial stage of Villa's match at Birmingham
Enckelman helplessly watches the ball go in the net

Aston Villa's Finnish goalkeeper Peter Enckelman had a night to forget at Birmingham on Monday.

His horrific blunder - failing to prevent team-mate Olof Mellberg's innocuous throw-in from rolling into his own net - cost his team any chance of salvaging a point from the first Birmingham derby in 16 years.

But the Finnish goalkeeper is by no means the first player to hold his head in shame and hope the ground beneath his feet will open and swallow him up.

Here BBC Sport Online profiles six of the best own goals.

Gary Sprake
Liverpool 2-0 Leeds

Mark Crossley may have since come up with several superb imitations but Leeds goalkeeper Sprake set the standards for throwing the ball into your own net.

Sprake attempted to throw the ball out to team-mate Willie Bell, but at the last moment changed his mind.

Unfortunately, Sprake had already started his swinging action and hurled the ball into his own net instead.

The Kop, legend has it, broke into a chorus of Des O'Connor's 'Careless Hands', which was number one in the charts at the time.

Lee Dixon
Arsenal 1-2 Coventry

A classic own goal, one that many a young striker could watch as an example of how to lob a goalkeeper.

Arsenal keeper David Seaman has suffered a few embarrassing moments in his career - think Nayim or Ronaldinho - but there was nothing he could do to prevent Dixon from scoring.

The Arsenal defender - under no pressure but keen to give his goalkeeper a feel of the ball - mis-cued his backpass and lobbed Seaman from all of 30 yards. Sumptuous.

Frank Sinclair
Middlesbrough 1-0 Leicester

Leicester defender Sinclair reserved one of the finest strikes of his career for this crunch relegation battle - scoring the only goal of the game.

Frank Sinclair after scoring an own goal against Middlesbrough
Sinclair cannot believe he hit the target from 40 yards
The goal came just four minutes into what was otherwise an unremarkable Premiership encounter.

Sinclair was under no real pressure but nonetheless turned and managed to smash the ball past a startled Ian Walker from 40 yards.

The blood swiftly drained from manager Dave Bassett's face at what was undoubtedly the most decisive attempt at goal by anyone in his squad all season.

Iain Dowie
Stockport 2-1 West Ham

West Ham's Iain Dowie was a committed forward, even if his scoring rate left a lot to be desired (he failed to notch in his last 44 appearances for the Hammers).

But he will never be forgotten for the own goal that decided a Coca Cola Cup replay in 1996.

The first game at Upton Park had ended 1-1, but Dowie finally managed to break the deadlock at Edgeley Park with a bullet header that crashed into the top corner of his own net.

Andoni Zubizarreta
Spain 2-3 Nigeria

The World Cup is never the best place to showcase your blundering skills.

But when you are your team's talisman and winning your 124th cap, an own goal howler is a national disaster.

Zubizarreta after conceding against Nigeria
Zubizarreta blundered on the highest stage
Unfortunately for the veteran Zubizarreta this is exactly what happened in his team's opening match of the 1998 World Cup in France.

With his team leading 2-1, Zubizarreta parried Garba Lawal's harmless cross-cum-shot into his own net.

The 36-year-old completely misjudged Lawal's shot - and two weeks later retired from international football.

Tepi Moilanen
Norwich 3-0 Preston

Enckelman's blunder against Villa seems to be something of a Finnish speciality.

Preston trailed 1-0 in a crucial League match at Carrow Road when defender Graham Alexander knocked a routine backpass towards Finnish goalkeeper Tepi Moilanen.

The usually reliable Finn momentarily lost concentration and instead of trapping the ball, allowed it to drift past his foot and into the net.

Moilanen then treated the crowd to an early glimpse of the head in hands scenario perfected by Enckelman.

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17 Sep 02 | Football
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