40-yard wonder strike named non-league Goal of the Season

·2-min read
Oliver Babington at the National Game Awards
Oliver Babington at the National Game Awards

Imagine the greatest goal you’ve ever scored - Oliver Babington’s is better.

The Clevedon Town player’s strike against Buckland Athletic was recognised as the Huck Nets Goal of the Season at the Non-League Paper's National Game Awards in association with Buildbase.

But Babington insists he won’t be trying it again after volleying home from just inside the opposition half into the top corner.

“As soon as I hit it, I think you can see me in the video, I just start running off and celebrating, I just felt that it was going in straight away,” said Babington.

“It came up in the air, far right, about 40 yards out, I’ve struck it on the full volley and it’s sailed straight over the keeper into the far corner.

“It’s definitely my sweetest strike and it was great to get it on camera as well.

“I try it all the time [in training], I don’t know if it comes off quite as well.

“I might stick to probabilities and play it along the back four now rather than going for it again – I’ll keep that as a highlight.”

The goal scored in the Western League Premier Division, the ninth tier of English football, quickly went viral and even featured on the FIFA Twitter account.

“It was very strange,” added Babington.

“I woke up the next morning and all the lads have put in the chat that this goal is going viral, this goal has been mentioned by FIFA, it’s going round the world.

“I thought everyone was on the wind up.”

Babington’s strike was recognised as the very best non-league had to offer in the 2021-22 season and the Seasider was thrilled to have his strike rewarded.

“It was nice to get recognition,” he added.

“Every footballer wants some sort of recognition, whether it’s to win a trophy for your team or a personal accolade – it’s always nice.”

The National Game Awards returned for the first time since 2019, and editor of the Non-League Paper Matthew Badcock was thrilled that they were able to honour a few members of the non-league community.

"It's been a long three years and it's fantastic to get everybody together to celebrate this level of the game that we all love so much," said Badcock.

"The real bedrock and heartbeat of the game in this country is the non-league game. Non-league clubs and people are the heart of the game, they are the stories, the reason why we love the game and get involved in the first place."

The Non-League Paper, is the only paper that covers Non-League football from top to bottom - from the National League down to grass roots. It is the recognised authority on non-league football. Available every Sunday, in newsagents and supermarkets nationwide, or subscribe online at www.thenonleaguefootballpaper.com

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