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For some, the final day of the season means absolutely jack shit, but for those who have sat through an agonizing season of few highs and major lows, a draining relegation dog fight - I repeat dog fight - will tease you on an almost unbearable weekend of football.

Nerve-racking doesn't come close to how I felt when Carlisle United battled for their Football League lives in 1999.

Thankfully, an on-loan goalkeeper from Swindon Town kept us in the division with a last minute strike against Plymouth.

It was an incredible scene. Thousands of fans ran onto the Brunton Park turf to celebrate an almost unbelievable moment that will go down in history as the greatest, and most devastating, goal in football history.

But a police dog called Bryn might have something to say about that.

Moments after goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored a last minute goal to save Carlisle United from relegation. Image: PA

Glass

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Image: PA

Torquay United sat towards the bottom end of Division Four for long parts of the season, but somehow, The Gulls had a chance of staying up with a result against Crewe on the final day.

To add to the drama, Lincoln, who were also in a relegation dog fight, needed a result against Swansea in order to stay up.

It was now or never for manager Cyril Knowles and his Torquay side and things couldn't have started any worse.

Crewe managed to race into a two-goal lead in the opening minutes. Knowles' side had to claw back to save themselves out of trouble.

To be honest, it was a very fitting way to end a poor season, but they weren't giving up without a fight.


Image: BBC

Torquay managed to claw one back thanks to a Jim McNichol deflected free-kick just after half-time. It was a lifeline, but they had to score another to clinch safety.

Despite an onslaught on the Crewe goal, they just couldn't find a goal.

Lincoln may have been losing in their game against Swansea, but Torquay needed a draw to stay up.

Then in the final minutes of play, something incredible happened.

With two minutes of added time remaining, Torquay's goalscorer McNichol was chasing the ball up the touchline when a German Shepherd police dog, who was introduced to the proceedings after earlier crowd trouble at the ground, ran onto the pitch and attacked him.

The right-back was down for five minutes and the game looked all but over.


Image: BBC

The referee then called for additional added time after McNichol's injury. Although the injury was severe, it gave an exhausted side the chance to recover and reenergize.

It was yet another lifeline.

In those additional minutes, journeyman Paul Dobson managed to squeeze home a crucial winner to save the club from relegation on goal difference.

Lincoln City became the first side to suffer automatic relegation to the Nationwide Conference as a German Shepherd called Bryn sat with half of Jim McNichol's leg in its mouth.

Here's footage of Bryn and his antics that lead to a famous Torquay revival:


Footage: iTV

Years after the remarkable events on the southwest coast of England, the battle scars still remain for McNichol:

"You don't forget a dog bite. It's been more than 20 years now but I've still got a nice scar to remind me." Jim McNichol told The Guardian

"I had three different holes in my leg and I got 17 stitches. Nobody else has forgotten about it either. If it had happened in another game, with less at stake, I don't think I'd still be asked about it now."

"I didn't see any of the celebrations. I was off getting all sorts of injections and I had all the tetanus checks and tests. Our club doctor, Dr Foster, was a bit of a comedian - he was saying he had to check the dog for Aids and everything.

"Then I went home and went to bed. By the time I saw anybody the party was finished."


Image: Telegraph

He then revealed that his brother breeds German Shepherds in Scotland but insists he is still not a dog lover after the biting incident.

"My brother breeds them up in Scotland."

"A couple of days later the local paper set up a meeting with the dog's handler. I don't have any grudges it was nobody's fault." he told The Guardian

It begs the question: what if Bryn was still alive today? Would Manchester City bid £35 million for the tenacious attacker?

Seriously though, what a remarkable story. The romance of the final day is almost upon us.

Mind you, I don't think a German Shepherd will save a club from relegation this weekend.

Featured Image: Telegraph

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Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He covers all sports, including football, boxing and UFC. Don't @ me when it comes to FIFA.

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