Meet the team without goalkeepers, Biggleswade Town forced to play outfield player in goal for rest of season

  • England’s seventh tier club Biggleswade Town have lost their three registered goalkeepers to injury
  • The club are being denied the chance to sign a replacement keeper by the Southern League
  • Manager Chris Nunn was forced to put in captain and winger Craig Daniel as a makeshift keeper in the side’s last game

Biggleswade Town, a Southern League Premier Division club in England are facing a unique crisis as they have run out of goalkeepers to man their goal for the remaining eight games this season. Biggleswade Town have three registered keepers on their books but none is seemingly available at present.

Club’s first choice between the sticks, Liam Gooch, is nursing his broken fingers. Sam Donkin, who is next in the pecking order, has a severe hamstring injury and can’t walk without the use of crutches. The whereabouts of the third registered keeper are altogether unknown as it is being speculated that he is AWOL and has flown back to his native Poland.

The cut off date for bringing in fresh recruits in England’s seventh tier was 22nd March and the Southern League is now not allowing the club to sign a replacement goalkeeper to see them through to the end of this season, with the authorities’ argument being that since the club’s third-choice keeper is registered and not injured, there is no question of allowing Biggleswade to make an emergency signing at this point.

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Captain Craig Daniel fills in as makeshift goalkeeper

The unprecedented goalkeeping crisis meant that the club had to draft in captain Craig Daniel as a make-shift keeper and fill in the role during their 1-1 draw against Gosport Borough on Saturday (March 31). Daniel, though, is a winger by nature and has never played in goal before.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the match, Biggleswade Town manager Chris Nunn said, “We had a training session on Thursday and Craig couldn’t train as his knee was sore. Then we thought of having a penalty shoot out if there were two or three volunteers. We knew Craig couldn’t play outfield because of his knee, so he could go in goal. If he hadn’t, we would have effectively lost another outfield player.

Southern League chairman Terry Barratt also spoke to BBC Sport and explained in detail the reasons behind not allowing the club to dip into the transfer market and signing a goalkeeper at this stage of the season.

We wrote to all clubs in the league in February to say ‘please ensure all players signed on are available, otherwise cancel their registrations’. Biggleswade didn’t cancel the registration of their Polish keeper, so as far as we’re concerned they have a third goalkeeper available. I asked the league secretary, Jason Mills, to send emails to the league board asking if Biggleswade should be given dispensation, and the board unanimously said no,” Barratt said.

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Manager Nunn lauds captain Daniel’s goalkeeping skills

As stated earlier, Biggleswade skipper Craig Daniel is a winger by nature and has no previous experience of donning the gloves in a professional capacity. Despite this, Daniel conceded just a solitary goal in his debut between the sticks and manager Chris Nunn was more than happy with his captain’s performance as a goalie.

Craig was outstanding. In the first half he had little to do because we bossed it, but in the second half they really went for it and he produced two really good saves. No keeper would have saved their goal, it was that good,” Nunn said.

There’s no reason why I would change Craig [for the rest of the season]. My only concern as that his knee was getting sore towards the end of the match. It could be a curse that whoever plays gets injured. The lads were joking about it on the coach home,” he signed off.

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