It is not often we see a goalkeeper getting on the scoresheet, but when we do it is usually in spectacular and dramatic fashion, with some of the most important goals in English football history having been scored by the player more accustomed to keeping the ball out of the back of the net.
We have looked back through the history books and picked out the five best goalkeeper goals ever scored in English football, some earn their place because of the quality of the strike, while others are included for the sheer importance of the goal.
Schmeichel’s Finishing on Point
When compiling a list of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, former Manchester United star Peter Schmeichel is never far from the top, although he may not even be the best shot stopper in his own family following the heroics of son Kasper is Leicester’s FA Cup final triumph earlier this month.
Schmeichel senior enjoyed a trophy-laden eight years with United and even scored for the Red Devils in the UEFA Cup against Rotor Volgograd, but he never netted for the club in the Premier League.
However, the former Denmark international did score in the competition for Aston Villa against Everton in 2001, squeezing home a volley from the corner of the six-yard box that emphasised both technical quality and a striker’s instinct.
The goal was certainly impressive, but it ultimately meant nothing in terms of the result, as Villa were already trailing 3-1 when Schmeichel struck, although it did enable the goalkeeper to celebrate the 11th and final goal of his career.
Friedel’s Joy was Short-Lived
Former United States international goalkeeper Brad Friedel enjoyed a 20-year professional career, amassing nearly 700 appearances for his seven different clubs, as well as winning 82 caps for his country.
However, the only goal of Friedel’s professional career ended up meaning very little, as his then Blackburn side were beaten 3-2 by Charlton during their Premier League clash at The Valley in February 2004.
Friedel instinctively diverted Paul Gallagher’s deflected effort into the back of the net during second-half stoppage time to level the scores at 2-2 and seemingly hand Rovers a share of the points.
It was not to be though, as minutes later Claus Jensen thundered a half volley beyond the outstretched dive of Friedel and into the back of the net to snatch the victory for the Addicks.
Barrett’s Goal Sends Colchester on Their Way
Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United were battling at the top of the Conference when they met at Adams Park in September 1991, with both teams dreaming of promotion to the Football League.
The match appeared to be heading towards a 1-1 draw when Colchester goalkeeper Scott Barrett punted the ball upfield, only to see his clearance bounce once before flying over Wycombe counterpart Paul Hyde and into the back of the net.
Barrett’s goal not only won the match for Colchester, but it ultimately proved pivotal come the end of the campaign, as the U’s won the Conference title and promotion to the Football League on goal difference from, you guessed it, Wycombe.
Alisson Sends Liverpool Towards Champions League
Alisson’s last-minute winner for Liverpool against West Brom earlier this month is arguably not only the most important Premier League goal scored by a goalkeeper, but also technically the best.
Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four would have faded potentially beyond repair had they not won at The Hawthorns and it was 1-1 heading deep into second-half stoppage time.
Jurgen Klopp’s side won a late corner and Alisson made his way forward from the back to expertly guide Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint corner into the back of the net with a header that any centre-forward would have been proud of.
Alisson’s goal not only won the match for the Reds, but it gave them the springboard to ultimately finish third in the standings and secure Champions League football – a feat that had appeared highly improbable just a few weeks earlier.
Glass Saves Carlisle and Breaks Scarborough Hearts
Arguably the most important goal to ever be scored by a goalkeeper came on May 8th 1999 when Jimmy Glass struck a stoppage-time winner for Carlisle United against Plymouth Argyle to preserve the Cumbrians’ Football League status and relegate rivals Scarborough with just about the last kick of the season.
Carlisle needed to better Scarborough’s result on the final day to survive, but they were being held 1-1 at home to Plymouth as the match went into second-half stoppage time, while Scarborough’s clash with Peterborough had already finished 1-1.
That meant Carlisle knew a late winner would see them survive and up popped keeper Glass, an emergency loan signing from Swindon, who was making just his third appearance for the club.
Glass smashed the ball home after opposite number James Dungey had saved from the initial corner and that led to scenes of joy across Cumbria, while Scarborough supporters, who had been tentatively celebrating survival, were left heartbroken.
St Jimmy’s Day is now celebrated every year in Carlisle, even though the man himself never played for the club again, while relegation for Scarborough proved catastrophic, with the club folding in 2007 before being reformed as Scarborough Athletic, who currently play in the seventh tier of English football.