The unforgiving nature of modern football means that Scott Carson will probably still be associated with that forgettable night at Wembley when England’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 were ruthlessly extinguished by Croatia long after he hangs up his boots. He won’t look back on this afternoon at Pride Park with too much fondness, either, as Derby’s promotion hopes were dented by another Fulham victory – but there was a moment in injury time that told you all need to know about the character of the man.
The Rams were pressing for an equaliser with time ticking away and Carson had been waved forward by Gary Rowett for a late set play. He found himself in the centre of the penalty area as the ball broke to Richard Keogh inside the box. The Derby defender fashioned a chance for himself and fired a venomous volley towards the top corner – only for Marcus Bettinelli to make a magnificent reaction save. Despite there being another to prepare for, Carson’s first thought was to offer his hand in congratulations to his opposite number in recognition of a first class stop. You can see the entire passage of play on the Sky Sports highlights package here.
Even setting aside the goalkeeper’s union, Carson’s instinctive response was a touch of class. It might not have won Derby an extra point, but it should earn Carson plenty of respect.