Early Doors

Controversial goal that should not have stood lands punter £86,000

Early Doors

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Newcastle's Papiss Cisse heads the ball past Crystal Palace's Julian Speroni

Tony Pulis was furious when his Crystal Palace side conceded an injury time winner against Newcastle United on Saturday. Not because of his side's defence - which was fairly-and-squarely out-done by some superb Newcastle teamwork - but because referee Lee Probert had, for the second time in the match, let play go on well beyond the allotted injury time.

"We've got done in the 48th minute, which was 30 seconds over time," fumed the Palace manager. "The disappointing thing is, if you look at the video, we should have had a free kick outside their box with 20 seconds to go. Then they come down and they score, which is over time."

But while Pulis was livid at the late twist, the same controversial goal meant one man in Essex ended up with a huge grin on his face - not because he is a Newcastle fan, but because Papiss Cisse's controversial strike landed him an astonishing £86,478.

The mystery gambler - who has chosen to retain his anonymity - went into his local branch of Ladbrokes on Saturday morning and decided to have a go on a £5 accumulator, predicting 16 matches across Britain at combined odds of 17,000-1.

But the bet very nearly came to nothing: as full time whistles began to blow across the country at 4.45pm on Saturday, Palace's dogged resistance against the Magpies at St James' Park appeared to have cost him dear - until Cisse's late goal clinched it.

The best bit of the story is this amazing cherry on the cake: just as he was about to pay for his betting slip and leave, the gambler found a spare 20p in his pocket - and decided to add it to his bet, taking his stake up to £5.20. That momentary whim accounted for an amazing £3,400 of his winnings!

Ladbrokes' spokesman Alex Donohue added that, almost unbelievably, the lucky man in question was a novice punter who was having a flutter for the first time: "We’d never seen the customer before and we understand it was his first-ever bet. What a way to start," he said.

"We’ve never known a better case of beginner’s luck. Our customer has defied the odds in style and all we can do is congratulate him and count the cash."

Congratulate him and milk the incident for PR, of course, which we'll forgive bookies for this weekend: just about every match in the Scottish and English top flights were won by the pre-match favourites - a quirk of results that cost the gambling industry an estimated £20 million.

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The winning betting slip


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