'Like an out-of-body experience' - How sports writer Paul Goodwin remembers those crazy 18 seconds

My memory is fairly woeful at times.
Doncaster Rovers players and fans celebrate James Coppinger's title-clinching goal.Doncaster Rovers players and fans celebrate James Coppinger's title-clinching goal.
Doncaster Rovers players and fans celebrate James Coppinger's title-clinching goal.

I had to ask my colleagues about where we stayed the night before that famous Brentford game. It wasn't even a heavy night out. A curry and a few beers just to settle the nerves.

But I'll never ever forget that feeling at approximately 5pm on April 27, 2013.

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For those fateful 18 seconds my senses were all heightened: open-mouthed, eyes transfixed, adrenaline pumping. Like an out-of-body experience almost.

God only knows what the players and management must have been feeling.

The game itself wasn't one to live long in the memory. It was 100mph and full-blooded but there were few chances.

Doncaster stuck to their game-plan and produced the sort of performance that typified that season - resolute, tough, together, totally professional.

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They had earned the luck about to come their way during the most incredulous end to a season imaginable, the sort of which we’re never likely to see again. Not in the flesh, anyway.

From the moment Michael Oliver blew for a penalty to James Coppinger's tap-in hitting the net, Rovers fans executed a U-turn of emotion they probably never thought possible.

From agony to ecstasy. The daftest rollercoaster of them all. From play-offs to League One champions.

As Marcello Trotta argued with the Bees’ regular penalty taker Kevin O'Connor the disbelieving away end was collectively sick to the stomach. I remember that feeling too, minds already contemplating an extension to the season.

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But when his kick smacked off the bar it sent the 1,800 travelling fans into the best football dream imaginable. Pandemonium. Limbs. Pure and unadulterated joy. Was this really happening?

I used to get really, really nervous when I watched my team Sunderland as a young lad. My legs would often fill with nervous tension, they'd shake uncontrollably at times. I'd kick every ball.

You grow out of that I suppose.

But for those 18 seconds, eyes completely transfixed as the ball was hooked clear by Paul Quinn and then carried forward by Billy Paynter, it was a different kind of feeling; an adrenaline rush that will never be repeated.

It’s one I'll never forget, despite the fading memory.