PNE striker up for best goal award

Joe Garner scores his wonder goal against Rotherham
Joe Garner scores his wonder goal against Rotherham
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Preston North End front man Joe Garner is in the running for a national award for his stunning goal in Preston’s play-off clash with Rotherham last season.

The 26-year-old has made the shortlist for the Football League Goal of the Year for 2014.

Supporters have until later this month to vote for their favourite goal, with the result of the public vote whittling it down to a final five.

The winner will be selected from those five at the Football League Awards at The Brewery in London on Sunday, April 19.

Garner’s goal was a stunner, with him controlling a Tom Clarke pass on his chest, flicking it across a defender and then sending a volley from 25 yards dipping over the Millers goalkeeper.

With the game broadcast live on television, it was seen by millions and caused a storm on social media.

Every Football League club was invited to submit their best goal of 2014 for the competition.

The top 10 were revealed on Soccer AM last Saturday and voting is open until March 24 by going to www.skysports.com/goaloftheyear.

Among the competition for Garner is Fleetwood’s David Ball, Yann Kermorgant from Bournemouth and Brighton midfielder Rohan Ince.

Garner’s goal is among 40 he has scored in North End colours.

His first was in the 2-2 draw with MK Dons at Deepdale in August 2013 and No.40 came against the same opponents on Saturday at stadium:mk.

That haul has come in 89 appearances, 69 of those starts and 20 from the bench.

It is an impressive tally after a slow start to his PNE career, even more so when a 10-week absence after surgery on his shin is taken into account.

Garner was injured in the November 22 win at League One leaders Bristol City, a tendon coming away from his shin bone.

He is still to get fully up to speed after the lay-off but has managed four goals in seven starts since returning.

Garner’s goal at MK Dons caused much debate, not due to its validity but over whether he got the decisive touch. Paul Huntington, Callum Robinson and Garner have all laid claim to the second goal in the 2-0 win.

Garner and Huntington both jumped to meet a corner from Paul Gallagher with both appearing to make contact.

Then as the ball bounced towards the net, it went across Robinson’s path.

The one television camera angle in the ground did not give a clear indication over the scorer’s identity.

Huntington appears to get the first touch, the ball then hitting Garner and continuing in the same direction.

Robinson looks to have got less of a claim than the other two. It was awarded to Garner by the stadium announcer and the Press Association who supply scores and scorers to the media.

PNE have submitted it to the league as Garner’s goal and it will be awarded to him as long as match referee Lee Probert does not put anything different in his report.

Should Mr Probert’s view differ, then the Football League will adjudicate – unlike the Premier League, there is no dubious goal panel operating in the Football League.