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The best substitute performances in Premier League history

Steven Bergwijn etched his name in Premier League history on Wednesday night when he scored a last-gasp brace to complete an unforgettable comeback for Tottenham against Leicester. 

The Dutchman, who has been linked with a move away from Spurs in the January window and has just returned from injury, was sent on as a late substitute in the top-flight encounter at the King Power.

And it turned out to be one of the all-time great substitute performances the Premier League has ever witnessed.

Steven Bergwijn scored twice in stoppage time as Tottenham remarkably beat Leicester 3-2

After replacing Sergio Reguilon in the 79th minute, Antonio Conte was hoping his positive change would provide Spurs with the attacking threat needed to get something out of the game, given they had just conceded minutes earlier and were now 2-1 down.

All hope for Spurs looked lost with five minutes of added time while Bergwijn was making the headlines for the wrong reasons after losing his cool and pushing Caglar Soyuncu to the ground in the fourth minute of stoppage time, earning him a yellow card.

But what happened immediately after will live long in the memory of all Tottenham fans and any unfortunate Leicester fans who decided to stay put inside the King Power and see out the game until the final whistle.

The Dutchman struck in the dying embers of the game to level the score for Spurs

The Dutchman struck in the dying embers of the game to level the score for Spurs

Bergwijn then rounded Kasper Schmeichel to score the winning goal in the 97th minute

Bergwijn then rounded Kasper Schmeichel to score the winning goal in the 97th minute

The Spurs forward produced one of the best cameos in Premier League history

The Spurs forward produced one of the best cameos in Premier League history

Spurs, who had been hounding Kasper Schmeichel’s goal all game, sent a long diagonal ball inside the box to Matt Doherty, with the ball somehow falling directly in front of Bergwijn who smashed in Spurs’ second equaliser.

Then straight from Leicester’s kick-off, Spurs quickly won the ball back, allowing Harry Kane to slide Bergwijn in who rounded a hesistant Schmeichel before sending his shot into the back of the net off the post in the seventh minute of added time.

It was an extrodinary finish and one of the best substitute performances in Premier League history.

But which other Premier League players have memorably come off the bench and made the most of the limited minutes they’ve been given? Sportsmail takes a look back through the archives…

Adam Le Fondre vs Chelsea, 2013

During his only Premier League campaign, Adam Le Fondre made a name for himself by coming off the bench to score for Reading.

Eight of his 12 goals for Reading in the 2012-13 season came from the bench but it was his brace against Chelsea at the beginning of 2013 that saw Le Fondre make the headlines.

Having come off the bench to inspire comeback wins against West Brom and Newcastle in Reading’s two previous fixtures, the Stockport-born striker was readying himself with Chelsea already a goal to the good following Juan Mata’s opener.

Adam Le Fondre scored twice late on against Chelsea to rescue a point for Reading in 2013

Adam Le Fondre scored twice late on against Chelsea to rescue a point for Reading in 2013

The English forward produced a stunning comeback from the bench to snatch a draw

The English forward produced a stunning comeback from the bench to snatch a draw

His task of getting Reading back into the game was made doubley difficult when Frank Lampard headed in the Blues’ second, as Le Fondre warmed up on the touchline.

With 24 minutes on the clock, Le Fondre was sent on and Reading fans hoped and prayed he could pull off another miracle – but this time, against the European champions.

Le Fondre halved the deficit in the 87th minute with a well-taken goal before grabbing a miraculous equaliser deep into stoppage time to send the Madejski into hysteria.

Robert Earnshaw vs Charlton, 2005

This entry is personally memorable given how it was the first Premier League game I had ever attended in person. And what a game it was.

An eventful first half saw Charlton’s Jonatan Johansson cancel out an early Geoff Horsfield opener before Tal El Karkouri was sent off for a rash two-footed challenge on the half-hour mark, handing the Baggies the advantage in what was a relegation scrap at the time.

Baggies boss Bryan Robson then decided to throw Robert Earnshaw into the mix mid-way through the second half in hope of separating the two sides.

Robert Earnshaw (centre right) hit a hat-trick against Charlton at the Valley in 2005

Robert Earnshaw (centre right) hit a hat-trick against Charlton at the Valley in 2005

The Welshman's (centre right) treble from the bench helped the Baggies stay up that season

The Welshman’s (centre right) treble from the bench helped the Baggies stay up that season

Not only did the Welshman do that, but he scored a superb hat-trick, complete with his trademark acrobatic and gun celebration.

It ended 4-1 to the Baggies and the result proved to be vital to helping West Brom beat the drop that season, which they did on the last day of the season by just one point.

Earnshaw earned himself the reputation of hitting hat-tricks for fun throughout his career but that was most likely his biggest in the grand scheme of things. 

Steven Naismith vs Chelsea, 2015

While most of the other entries on this list were down to a tactical decision to change the game, Roberto Martinez was forced to send Steven Naismith on against Chelsea in 2015.

Naismith was yet to score for Everton that season and replaced Muhamed Besic who had picked up an injury after just nine minutes.

With the deadlock yet to be broken, Naismith took less than 10 minutes to get the opener, finishing off a smart move with a header in front of a packed out Goodison Park.

Steven Naismith came off the bench to grab a hat-trick against Chelsea in 2015

Steven Naismith came off the bench to grab a hat-trick against Chelsea in 2015

It was the first hat-trick of his career and only goals for Everton during the 2015-16 campaign

It was the first hat-trick of his career and only goals for Everton during the 2015-16 campaign

Five minutes later, Naismith struck again, this time firing a low driven shot from outside the box into Asmir Begovic’s right corner.

Chelsea did manage to pull one back through Nemanja Matic but Everton’s Scottish forward beat the offside trap before scoring a third from an acute angle, completing a perfect hat-trick in a sensational win for the Toffees. 

It was the first hat-trick of his career and final goals for Everton before he was promptly sold to Norwich in the following January window. 

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink vs Wolves, 2004

Chelsea have been on the end of two memorable substitute performances over the years but they’ve also experienced a superb cameo performance of their own back in 2004.  

On what was his 32nd birthday, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was sent on with half an hour left to turn around a 2-1 deficit at home to Wolves.

While it was Frank Lampard that grabbed Chelsea’s second equaliser, Hasselbaink stole the headlines with a 13-minute hat-trick in emphatic fashion.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (middle) scored a hat-trick on his 32rd birthday for Chelsea

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (middle) scored a hat-trick on his 32rd birthday for Chelsea

He came off the bench and scored his 100th, 101st and 102nd goals in the Premier League

He came off the bench and scored his 100th, 101st and 102nd goals in the Premier League

His first saw him drive at the Wolves defence before firing a fierce shot from outside the box that Paul Jones struggled to keep out in the 77th minute. It was also his 100th goal in the Premier League.

Ten minutes later, the Dutchman struck again, making the points safe and getting his 101st after making a smart run in behind before sliding the ball under Jones.

Then 101 became 102 Premier League goals just a few minutes later, after curling the ball round Jones to make it 5-2 to Claudio Ranieri’s side at Stamford Bridge. 

Romelu Lukaku vs Manchester United, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson was treated to an absolute goalfest in what was his final Premier League game as Manchester United manager.

With eyes firmly on the legendary Scotsman, they would soon turn to Romelu Lukaku as he put in a storming performance for the West Brom from the bench.

United looked to have given Sir Alex the perfect parting gift when they took a commanding 3-1 half-time lead at the Hawthorns.

Baggies boss Steve Clarke decided to go all in and brought on Lukaku in place of defender Liam Ridgewell in a bid to go for broke having already secured their best finish to a Premier League season, claiming eighth in the table.

Romelu Lukaku spoiled Sir Alex Ferguson's leaving party with a hat-trick for West Brom

Romelu Lukaku spoiled Sir Alex Ferguson’s leaving party with a hat-trick for West Brom

The Belgian forward scored a hat-trick in a spectacular 5-5 draw with Manchester United

The Belgian forward scored a hat-trick in a spectacular 5-5 draw with Manchester United

But after just five minutes of coming on, Lukaku announced himself with a well-placed shot from outside the box, beating Anders Lindegaard in the United goal.

Robin Van Persie would respond almost immediately, making it 4-2 to United before Javier Hernandez scored a fifth for the visitors putting the game beyond reach.

Or so they thought. Ten minutes from time, Lukaku grabbed his second before Youssouf Mulumbu made it 5-4 moments later.

Lukaku then smashed in his third goal four minutes from time, putting a dampener on Sir Alex’s leaving parade while also putting himself on United’s radar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vs Nottingham Forest, 1999

Arguably one of the most memorable substitute performances of all time, it was Mr Supersub himself Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that stole the show before the turn of the millennium.

The baby-faced assassin made history against Nottingham Forest by becoming the first substitute to score four goals in a top-flight match – a record he still holds to this day.

While Forest managed to cancel out Dwight Yorke’s opener in the opening stafes, they couldn’t prevent United – or Solskjaer – from absolutely steamrolling them at the City Ground.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only substitute in Premier League history to score four goals

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only substitute in Premier League history to score four goals

Andy Cole regained the lead for United immediately after Forest’s equaliser before Yorke and his strike partner both got themselves their braces to wrap up the points in the second half.

But with the game sealed, Ferguson decided to send on Solskjaer to given the Norwegian some needed gametime off the bench in the 71st minute.

The first of his four game 10 minutes from time, where he easily tapped in a Gary Neville cross to display some of his best qualities as a striker.

The Norwegian came off the bench against Nottingham Forest to hit four goals in an 8-1 victory

The Norwegian came off the bench against Nottingham Forest to hit four goals in an 8-1 victory

He then showed great persistence to beat Dave Beasant for his second three minutes from time before grabbing his hat-trick with a volley in the 90th minute.

Solskjaer got his fourth less than a minute later, capitalising on some dreadful defending to finish past Beasant and spectacularly net four times in the 12 minutes, completing a 8-1 victory.

And somehow, there was another cameo performance from Solskjaer later that season that overshadowed this one…

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