Only six goalkeepers have ever scored a Premier League goal. It rarely happens, but when it does, it’s usually in the most dramatic of circumstances. Here, we look back at each of those goalkeepers to score in the Premier League.
Aston Villa vs Everton: 20 October 2001
Peter Schmeichel became the first goalkeeper to score in the Premier League in October 2001 with his goal at Goodison Park.
Schmeichel was just eight Premier League games into his Aston Villa stay, having returned to the competition after a two-season spell in Portugal with Sporting CP. Although he never scored across his 252 Premier League appearances at Manchester United before his time at Villa Park, Schmeichel wasn’t averse to heading into the opposition’s box.
Schmeichel scored a header for Man Utd in their 1995 UEFA Cup first-round meeting with Russian club Rotor Volgograd at Old Trafford. United were 2-0 down in the match and their 39-year unbeaten run in European matches at Old Trafford was under threat before Paul Scholes and Schmeichel saved the day. He nearly scored another for United two years later, but his overhead-kick at Wimbledon was ruled offside and we were robbed of another rare goalkeeper goal.
Before this strike for Villa, Schmeichel had also scored a penalty in an international friendly for Denmark versus Belgium in 2000 and ‘allegedly’ netted eight top-flight league goals in Denmark before he signed for Man Utd in 1991.
Schmeichel’s Premier League goal came with Aston Villa 3-1 down in stoppage time at Goodison Park. It’s rare to see a goalkeeper make the journey up the pitch for a corner a) with his side two goals down so late in the game, and b) so early in the season, with little at stake – but Schmeichel doesn’t play by the rules.
His back-post volley was smashed past Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal and led to Everton fans applauding the goal. They knew it counted for very little at the end of the day, but you’ve got to show #respect.
Blackburn Rovers vs Charlton Athletic: 21 February 2004
Of the six goalkeeper goals in the Premier League, Brad Friedel’s certainly wins the ‘why did I bother’ award.
Charlton Athletic hosted Blackburn Rovers at the Valley in February 2004 and found themselves 2-0 up with 16 minutes remaining, before Andrew Cole halved the deficit. Heading into the final minute of the game, Blackburn won a corner and Friedel made his way into the opposition’s penalty area to try to rescue a point for the away side.
The corner was hit too long, but the ball was returned into the box with power before pinballing between players, eventually falling to the feet of the American keeper. Freidel reacted by sticking his foot out and diverting the ball past Dean Kiely in the Charlton net. Cue pandemonium, with Blackburn players launching themselves on Friedel in celebration, who himself looked on in disbelief with his hands aloft.
It was all for nothing, though.
Two minutes into stoppage time, a ball was lofted into the Blackburn box and Charlton midfielder Claus Jensen swivelled to hit a volley into the back of the net, despite a despairing Friedel hand getting a touch on the ball. Charlton won 3-2; Friedel had his goal, but not a point.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford: 17 March 2007
Nobody at White Hart Lane on 17 March 2007, including Paul Robinson, expected a free-kick from deep inside the Tottenham half to fly into the Watford net past Ben Foster.
England international Robinson’s launch upfield was left by Watford defender Danny Shittu, confusing Foster and allowing the ball to bounce over his head and into the net.
His goal put Spurs 2-0 up in a 3-1 win in a season that saw Tottenham finish fifth and Watford end rock bottom.
Everton vs Bolton Wanderers: 4 January 2012
Goal: Howard. Assist: The Wind.
Tim Howard became the second American goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal with his 92-yard strike in January 2012 against Bolton Wanderers. It was also the second goalkeeper goal to be scored at Goodison Park in the Premier League.
Howard’s punt upfield caught the wind after bouncing nearly 30 yards from Adam Bogdan’s goal and flew over the Bolton keeper’s head.
That goal arrived in the 63rd minute of the match, but Bolton had the last laugh. Strikes from David N’Gog and Gary Cahill turned the game around in their favour, as they took all three points. The win was in vain come the end of the season, though, as Bolton were relegated in 18th place and just a point away from safety.
Stoke City vs Southampton: 2 November 2013
This goal was strange for two reasons. One – yes – it was just the fifth scored by a goalkeeper in the Premier League. Two, it was scored after only 13.64 seconds and is among the fastest goals in Premier League history.
Begovic’s long clearance upfield deceived Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc and is the furthest goal scored since 2003-04, when Opta started recording such data (95.7 yards).
Liverpool vs West Brom Albion: 16 May 2021
Alisson Becker scored a 95th-minute winner for Liverpool in their 2-1 victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns in May 2021.
Alisson’s goal (94:18) was their latest Premier League winner since Christian Benteke versus Crystal Palace in March 2016 (95:10), while the Brazilian netted the very first header scored by a goalkeeper since the formation of the competition in 1992. It’s just a shame it was scored in front of nobody during a Covid-hit Premier League campaign.
His goal was a crucial moment in Liverpool’s season. With two games left in the 2020-21 campaign, it took them within a point of the top-four places and UEFA Champions League qualification – something they eventually achieved at the end of the season, with a third-place finish. Without Alisson’s goal and this win, that would have been very unlikely.
It is still the only goal ever scored by a Liverpool goalkeeper in a competitive game since 1892, and to this day, it was Alisson’s only touch in the opposition box within a Premier League game.