Story Behind The Shot: Goal-scoring moments

Thursday 29 December 2022 07:00

Our ‘Story Behind The Shot’ series takes a deep dive into the standout images taken by Manchester United photographer Ash Donelon.

The lifelong Red follows Erik ten Hag’s men all around the world and you will see his work across our platforms every single day without even realising it. 

On Thursday, we focused on three top pics of the boss and, here, we turn the lens towards the best moment in football – scoring goals. Over to you, Ash… 


Image taken:
During the Real Sociedad match on 3 November.

Ash says: “I photographed the FA Youth Cup final at Old Trafford back in May, where Alejandro Garnacho was one of United Under-18’s star players, and when he ran towards my lens and did the ‘Siuuu’ celebration that night it was a fitting tribute to his idol Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“Fast-forward a few months to the final Europa League group-stage match in San Sebastian, and I was able to get a shot of the two players together, celebrating Alejandro’s first senior goal for the Reds. Manchester United are famous for blending youth and experience in the first team, and seeing these two together like that felt like the embodiment of that ethos.”
IMAGE ONE: Ash was in position to capture Alejandro's celebrations in Spain.
Image taken:
During the Omonia Nicosia match on 13 October. 
Ash says: “After photographing countless football matches, I’ve learned there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ position to shoot from. At Old Trafford, working in the North East and North West corners is great because I’m behind the advertising boards, meaning any stewards have to walk behind me to get past, so they don’t block my view. However, in this position, I don’t feel quite as close to the action, as there’s a physical barrier between me and the match. 
“For the Omonia Nicosia fixture I was positioned in front of the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand, where there’s no advertising boards, meaning in theory I’ve got an unobstructed view of the action. The downside is that people have to walk in front of my lens to get past, so there’s a constant stream of substitutes warming up, camera operators, and stewards to work around. 

“When Scott McTominay scored in the 93rd minute I wanted to get a shot of him celebrating, however so did the TV Steadicam operator, and he raced in front of my lens. I just had to keep my composure and find a gap through his legs to get my photo, and it ended up framing the subject nicely.”
IMAGE TWO: Donelon got the shot of Scott through the legs of passers by.
Image taken:
During the Sheriff Tiraspol match on 15 September. 
Ash says: “Photographing a football match means having to adapt to whatever happens on the pitch. When Cristiano stepped up to the penalty spot to score his first ever Europa League goal, I was in position ready for him to celebrate right in front of my lens. 

“However, when I saw him sprint in the opposite direction, my heart sank as my view was obscured by a line of stewards, TV camera operators, and the frame of the goal. I had to switch to a longer lens and, with a bit of movement, was able to shoot through the goal netting to capture the team celebrating together. Although it wasn’t the shot I originally envisaged, I’m pleased with how things worked out.”
IMAGE THREE: Even from long range, Ash is able to get the perfect picture.
Read more of 'Story Behind The Shot' from this season's editions of United Review, our official matchday programmes that are all available to order online

Wear your colours with pride: