It may not be the finest moment in Marcus Bettinelli's career - but it was one of the finest displays of team camaraderie.
During last night's FA Cup fourth-round replay between Fulham and Sunderland, there was a moment when the championship side were 1-0 up and dreaming of another possible cup upset.
However, a Sunderland cross took a seemingly meaningless deflection and found its way to goalkeeper Bettinelli. The Englishman, despite having no opposition players fighting him for the ball, fumbled the catch and hit the ball over the line. It brought the game to 1-1 and the Black Cats went on to secure a place in the fifth round with a 3-1 victory.
Yet the keeper's Fulham teammates treated him with the utmost respect following his mistake.
Bettinelli held his head in his hands as the goal was given to Sunderland, pulling his jersey up over his face. Yet while the defenders around him were at first shocked by the mistake, they quickly ran to comfort Bettinelli. Nikolay Bodurov and Shaun Hutchinson both gave the keeper a pat on the back, with Hutchinson whispering a few words of encouragement into Bettinelli's ear. Ryan Tunnicliffe then walked over and gave the keeper a gentle touch on the head, with Bettinelli evidently still distraught with the mistake.
In an age of hot-headed tweets, immature behaviour and wads and wads of cash, it's nice to be reminded that football is a team sport that is usually played by decent men who stick together and try to be better than the some of their parts.
Fulham manager Kit Symons also backed the no 40: "It was obviously a mistake, but Marcus has been excellent for us. I'm certainly not going to point any blame at him. He'll be all right, he's a very strong character and has been superb for us this season."Reuse content