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Which outfield players impressed most as emergency goalkeepers? | Soccer


“In light of Lewis Dunk’s second appearance as an emergency goalkeeper for Brighton: what’s the best record of an outfield player going in goal?” asks Lee Hopkinson.

It’s not easy to define what constitutes a good record: a string of saves, a clean sheet, penalty heroics, a long stint or multiple appearances could all count. There are many examples, too, so we’ll pick some of the best and a few that are less well known. Let’s start with the legendary England and Bolton striker Nat Lofthouse, who twice went in goal for Wanderers – both times, oddly enough at Wolves. On the second occasion he saved a penalty from Eddie Clamp.

Another England legend, Bobby Moore, saved a penalty at Stoke in a madcap League Cup semi-final second replay (yeah, different times). Niall Quinn is another member of the penalty-saving club; in April 1991, he memorably denied Derby’s Dean Saunders when he was thrown into action after Tony Coton was sent off in the 34th minute. City, who led 1-0 through a goal from Quinn at the time, went on to win 2-1.

Eight years later Quinn replaced Thomas Sorensen in goal for Sunderland for the last 15 minutes and kept a clean sheet to secure a 1-0 win against Bradford. Quinn had scored that goal earlier in the game, too.

James Walker remembers an outfield player who spent almost an entire match between the sticks. “Jack Sampson, who is a striker, lasted 86 minutes in goal for Macclesfield Town against Dover Athletic in 2016 when the keeper Ritchie Branagan was sent off. He managed to keep a clean sheet with it ending 0-0 at full-time. Here is a picture of him claiming his man of the match award.”

Damon Maddison nominates Chelsea’s Dave Webb, a story told in this Joy of Six. “The same feature mentions that Glenn Hoddle filled in three times without losing a match,” writes Damon, “but Webb’s 100 minutes between the sticks may just trump that (depending on how we’re defining ‘best record’).”

Phil Jagielka filled in for Sheffield United’s Paddy Kenny twice. The first was in a 2-1 win at Millwall, when Kenny was sent off after a half-time tunnel brawl. The 10-man Blades came from 1-0 down to win 2-1. The second stint came against Arsenal in 2006, when Kenny went off injured with 30 minutes to go. Jagielka denied Robin van Persie a late equaliser as United won 1-0. The United manager Neil Warnock’s faith in Jagielka was such that he rarely bothered naming a sub goalkeeper.

Gent’s Eric Viscaal saved a penalty in the 89th minute and scored one in the 90th while playing at Cercle Brugge in 1993. And finally, earlier this year, the former Republic of Ireland midfielder Michael Doyle starred in goal for 72 minutes when Notts County’s first-choice keeper was sent off. He psyched out a penalty-taker, made a number of saves and shrugged off taunts that he “can’t even reach the crossbar” as 10-man County beat Dagenham and Redbridge 3-1.

Overworked international teams

“Italy played their 19th international of 2021 when they faced Northern Ireland,” begins George Jones. “What’s the record for internationals played in a calendar year by a nation?”

“In 1993 the USA men’s team played 34 full international matches,” writes Jason Maxwell. “Most of the team were contracted directly to the US Soccer Federation in preparation for hosting the 1994 World Cup. So instead of playing for a club team the USSF arranged for as many games as possible for the national team to get playing time. All but eight of the matches took place in the Unites States.” The USA did manage to make it into the last 16, so perhaps it was worthwhile.

Alexi Lalas celebrates after scoring during USA’s 2-0 victory over England in June 1993.
Alexi Lalas celebrates after scoring during USA’s 2-0 victory over England in June 1993. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Sons scoring for their dads (2)

In last week’s Knowledge we looked at sons who had scored for teams managed by their fathers. And – you guessed it – there are more. “Kevin Bond must have bagged a few for his Dad John back in the tiny-shorted early 80s,” writes Dave Scott. “He played for him at Norwich and Manchester City.” He did indeed bag a few, including this cracker against Everton in 1981-82.

Bond also scored in City’s famous 3-1 win at Anfield on Boxing Day 1981. A ramshackle Liverpool were 12th in the table after that game; they still won the league.

David Achenbach has a couple more examples. Michael Bradley scored nine of his 17 goals for the USA men’s team while they were managed by his father, Bob, and Gavin Strachan scored once while playing under Gordon at Coventry. And then there’s this gem.

Never mind a Knowledge answer; that match should be a Forgotten Story.

Knowledge archive

“When I were a lad, many moons ago, I remember the days of one substitute per side,” sniffed Darran Jalland in 2006. “The sub was usually only used in the event of an injury, and very occasionally as a tactical switch. With subs being so commonplace now, when was the last time an English top-flight match featured no changes at all?”

Jonny Cooper at Opta supplied the answer to this question. There have, to our surprise, been 48 Premier League matches with no substitutions on either side, though only three have happened since the turn of the century. The most recent was Manchester United 3-0 Fulham in 2002-03. Before that there was West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United in the same season, and Leeds United 1-2 Ipswich Town in 2000-01.

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

“Currently only five Premier League teams have a positive goal difference (and one of those is a very minimal +1),” notes Richard Hirst. “But what is the lowest number of positives in a league at the end of the season?”

“At present, at the end of Brazil’s 20 team Serie A season, the top six qualify for the Copa Libertadores, the next six qualify for the Copa Sudamericana and the bottom four are relegated. This leaves only four positions with little significance for the following season. Can any league offer fewer meaningless places in their final table?” asks Eugene Francis.

“What are the most seasons a club has gone without anything noteworthy happening?” wonders John Ruddock. “I’ll define noteworthy as a trophy, a promotion, a relegation, or a cup final.”

“Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa all had new managers on Saturday,” writes Richard Farmer. “Each of their captains, who all happen to be centre-halves, scored. Is this a unique treble for the new manager bounce?”

“I noticed while watching Spain that Raúl de Tomás had ‘R.D.T.’ on the back of his jersey,” notices Dean Whearty. “Any other instances of players using initials on the back of their jerseys?”

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