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What is the earliest goal scored in a football match that finished 1-0?

·8-min read
<span>Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images</span>
Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images

“What’s the earliest goal scored in a game that finished 1-0?” tweets AgaTieFan.

This is a cracking question, and thanks to everyone who wrote in with suggestions and answers. In the spirit of Countdown, or possibly Richard Osman’s House of Games, we’ll go through the list in reverse order:

20 seconds Theo Walcott (QPR 0-1 Arsenal, Premier League, 2012-13). “It was especially sweet because already-relegated QPR had four ex-Spurs players in the team,” writes Rael Roberts, “and a couple of weeks later we ended up pipping Spurs to fourth place by just a point.”

19 seconds Joey Sleegers (FC Eindhoven 1-0 Jong AZ, Eerste Divisie, 2021-22).

15 seconds Steve Bould own goal (Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Arsenal, Division One, 1989-90).

15 seconds: Scott Murray (Bristol City 1-0 Millwall, League One, 2006-07).

12 seconds: Ian Bogie (Port Vale 1-0 Stoke, Division One, 1995-96).

12 seconds: Bryan Hughes (Birmingham 1-0 Huddersfield, Division One, 1999-2000).

11 seconds: Byron Moore (AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Bristol Rovers, League One, 2016-17).

9.6 seconds: John Hewitt (Motherwell 0-1 Aberdeen, Scottish Cup, 1981-82).

9 seconds: Muhammet Demir (Gaziantep v Basaksehir, Turkish Super Lig 2021-22). “A couple of weeks ago, the striker scored against his former club,” reports Emre Ozturk.

9 seconds: Peter Lorimer (Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Malmo, Spring Cup, 1982). Lorimer’s goal, from inside his own half, would have been a worthy winner. But he was pipped by a more prosaic, if still well-taken, goal in Slovenia a few years ago …

8 seconds: Marcos Tavares (Maribor 1-0 Domzale, Slovenian PrvaLiga, 2016-17).

Goalkeepers sent off in shootouts (redux)

“In last season’s (Northern) Irish Cup semi-final between Crusaders and Larne, the Crusaders goalkeeper was sent off during the penalty shootout,” recalls William Hanna. “He was warned about encroaching, then yellow-carded for a second offence and then red-carded on the third. Have any other keepers suffer a similar fate?”

Indeed they have, William. We first visited this subject way back in 2005 to remember the story of Botswana’s Modiri Marumo, who was dismissed during the Castle Cup clash against Malawi in 2003 after collecting two bookings during the shootout. Famously …

Having been booked for time-wasting before Malawi scored their third spot-kick, Marumo reacted to a pat on the shoulder from opposite number Philip Nyasulu by punching him in the face and got a red card. Malawi went on to win 4-1 and reach the semi-finals. “I over-reacted in an exchange of words between myself and my counterpart,” admitted Marumo.

More recently – in 2018 – the Republic of Ireland’s Under-17 European Championship quarter-final shootout against the Netherlands ended in acrimony when James Corcoran was sent off. As our report at the time explained:

Referee Zbynek Proske issued Corcoran with a yellow card after he was penalised for coming off his line while saving Daishawn Redan’s penalty. The save would have levelled the scores at 4-4 and sent the shootout into sudden death. The yellow card was Corcoran’s second, and the 16-year-old was duly sent off. Teammate Oisin McEntee put his shirt and gloves on and went in goal to face the re-take, which Redan scored to send the Dutch through.

But for sheer chaos, Orlando City’s MLS play-off win over New York City FC in 2019 takes the cake. Their keeper Pedro Gallese was shown a second yellow for encroachment during the shootout before replacement goalie Brian Rowe was deemed an illegal substitution and blocked from coming on. There was still time for a premature victory celebration and Orlando defender Rodrigo Schlegel saving the decisive penalty. Here’s the full MLS site rundown and highlights of it all.

An Icelandic history lesson

Last week, we asked if you had any more local, historical peculiarities to report. Kári Tulinius does …

“The first Icelandic football championship was held in 1912, in what was meant to be a three-team single-match round robin, but ÍBV had to withdraw after suffering too many injuries, reportedly because the tournament was held on a gravel pitch, and ÍBV were used to playing on grass,” begins Kári. Since KR and Fram had drawn their match, they contested a final, with KR the victor (incidentally, the trophy was handed to the captain by my great-great-grandfather, Axel Tulinius, who was the chairman of the Icelandic Sports Associations). However, after a dispute over when to hold the 1913 tournament, only Fram registered for the competition. The same thing happened in 1914, so Fram were awarded the title both years. As far as I know, these are the only national football championships won by default in the world.

”Fram went on to successfully defend the title in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918, by which point it was a four-team tournament. Every game in the Icelandic championship was played on that same gravel pitch, Melavöllurinn, until 1958, when they played one game on grass in the newly-built Laugardalsvöllur, which they liked enough to gradually phase out Melavöllurinn from all competitions. The last cup final played there was in 1972, and the last time it was used in the league was the year after.”

Do you have any more random stories of local footballing peculiarity? Or the use of gravel pitches at high levels? You know where to mail.

Knowledge archive

“Has a physio ever been sent off?” wondered Dave Griffiths in 2006.

In 1989, the mild-mannered Gary Lewin managed to attract the ire of the ref during a pre-season friendly between Arsenal and Independiente in Miami. When Gus Caesar went down injured, Lewin – thinking he’d been given permission by the ref Paul Dominguez – ran on to treat him. Unfortunately, Dominguez saw this as a threat to his authority and banished Lewin to the bench. As it turned out, Lewin needn’t have bothered: Caesar was sent off shortly afterwards, but Arsenal still managed to win 2-1 and lift the coveted Zenith Challenge Trophy.

Knowledge archive

Can you help?

“Sort of a Christmassy question … has there ever been a game called off because of snow earlier in the season than the Burnley v Spurs game?” muses Alan Rogers.

“Reading the obituary of Colin Flatt in the latest issue of Backpass reminded me that, back in 1967, he paid his own transfer fee (£200) to join Romford from Wisbech,” writes Chris Grant. “Unusual, but does anyone know of any others who’ve done that?”

“Lazio and Udinese played out a 4-4 cracker recently,” notes Joe Holt. “Udinese made five substitutions, and another two of their starters were sent off, meaning only four of their starting XI finished the match. I’m wondering has a team ever finished a match (without it being abandoned) with fewer of its starting XI still on the field?”

“Doncaster Rovers play at the Keepmoat Stadium, and have scored eight league goals there this season (plus two in the EFL Trophy),” reports Joe Reaney. “Last Tuesday, England Women scored 20 in the same venue. Has it ever happened that a season’s top scorers in a stadium were not the home team?”

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