Madejski Stadium, Behind East Stand

Millwall Programme Notes

Today we hear from Kevin Lenton – STAR Board member

Goalscoring goalkeepers and Reading’s part in the legend
Arthur Wilkie played 188 times for Reading in goal between 1959 and 1968 and would have played more had it not been that for the fact that he had stiff competition from Mike Dixon for 7 years.  Arthur is best remembered for home match versus Halifax Town on 31 August 1962. After 12 minutes he injured his back and Maurice Evans had to take over in goal. Denis Allen gave Reading a first half lead but with no substitutes in those days, Wilkie returned after the interval to play on the wing. Following an equaliser, Bill Lacy put Reading back in front and then Wilkie scored. Again, Halifax pulled a goal back but then Wilkie scored with a spectacular diving header. Other goalkeepers have scored twice in a game but they have been penalties.

Roger Titford, STAR historian, tells me that the legendary Reading goalkeeper Stanley Hayward, who played over 200 amateur appearances also scored two goals in a game against Basingstoke in 1881 and a grand total of five as a roving, of not attacking, keeper in his long career. And Wilkie played upfront in several Reserve games in a forlorn bid to get his first team place back.

Fast forward to 26 December 2008 for the last Reading goalkeeper to score, Australian Adam Federici.  Reading was losing 1-0 to Cardiff City at the Mad Stad and in the last minute he went forward for a corner and scored a header in front a crowd of 22,770, most of which went berserk. Here is a picture of the team celebrating that goal.

Incredibly the next season it was 0-1 to Cardiff again at the MadStad and Adam went up for a corner again – and almost scored again.

There have been eight goals via kicks from a goalkeeper’s own half in the past two decades but there was only one such case between the start of the Football League in 1888 and Peter Shilton finding the net with a clearance for Leicester City away to Southampton in 1967.

The 12 goals by injured goalkeepers who had moved outfield were all scored between 1931 and 1964. A year later substitutes were introduced into the league, which meant fewer ailing goalkeepers needed to stay on the pitch.

The most famous and important goal by a goalkeeper is by Jimmy Glass for Carlisle United against Plymouth Argyle in the final moments on the last day of the 1998-99 season, which prevented his team dropping out of the league and relegated Scarborough instead.

Although we often see goalkeepers go forward at a stoppage-time corner to try and get an equaliser the five-year wait for a league goal by a goalkeeper continued until 11 January this year when Newport County goalkeeper Tom King scored against Cheltenham Town. His goal-kick was picked up in the wind, catching out Robins keeper Josh Griffiths before sailing into the net. Guinness World Records confirmed that King “officially broke the record for the longest goal scored in a competitive football match, which covered an incredible distance of 96.01m”.

League goals by goalkeepers since 1888:

Total: 93

Penalties: 46

Kick from own half: 18 (16 clearances, 2 free kicks)

Injured, moved to outfield: 12

Forward for a corner: 9

Selected as outfielder: 8