Five most important goals scored by goalkeepers…

Ian Watson

Prompted by that man Alisson, we’ve got a wind-assisted punt, a free-kick, a penalty, a header and, as he’s known on the North Yorkshire coast, Jimmy F***ing Glass… 

We don’t know yet where Alisson’s goal at The Hawthorns will rank for importance until next week. If Liverpool secure a Champions League berth, it would surely rank in the top three. But for now, here are five crucial goals scored by goalkeepers…


5) Scott Barrett – Wycombe 1-2 Colchester – 1991/92
The long, end-to-end, wind-assisted punts rarely rank high for significance but this one did. Like Alisson, Barrett had to wait until the end of the season to discover exactly how vital his strike would be. As it turned out, it was bloody massive.

Barrett was playing a Vauxhall Conference match for Colchester against Wycombe at Adams Park in September 1991. With the match drifting to a 1-1 draw, Barrett hoiked a punt skywards, catching the wind before it returned to earth. With the Wycombe defence retreating into its own box, the ball took one heavy bounce around the 18-yard line before sailing over Paul Hyde, who was hardly stranded off his line.

Colchester won 2-1, which turned out to be huge come the end of the season. The U’s pipped Wycombe to promotion to the Football League on goal difference. Without Barrett’s goal, it would have been Wycombe who went up.

Barrett also netted again that season, bundling home an equaliser in the last seconds against Kingstonian in the FA Trophy. Colchester won the replay and went on to lift the trophy at Wembley, securing the non-league double.


F365 Says: Alisson header a dizzying shot of pure undiluted Barclays


4) Alberto Brignoli – Benevento 2-2 AC Milan – 2017/18
Benevento endured a torrid start to their first ever Serie A season. They lost their first 14 matches and were heading for a 15th straight defeat to AC Milan in Gennaro Gattuso’s first match in charge of the Rossoneri.

Then Brignoli, on loan from Juventus, strolled into the Milan box for a last-gasp set-piece. The keeper, on loan from Juventus, launched himself at Danilo Cataldi’s free-kick to glance a header beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma.

“It’s difficult to describe,” said Brignoli after securing Benevento their first ever Serie A point. “I was thinking: ‘It’s 2-1, the 95th minute, we have nothing to lose.’ I went up there, closed my eyes and jumped. It would have been terrible to lose this, as we’ve lost so many at the last second that we really didn’t deserve to. Today we got some of that luck back. We’ve shown that we can play against anyone and just need the incidents to go our way.”

Did Benevento build on their lucky break? No. They picked up 20 more points but still finished bottom.


3) Ricardo – Portugal 2-2 (5-4 on pens) England -1 2004 
Goalkeepers scoring in penalty shootouts is nothing spectacularly out of the ordinary. Kevin Pressman took the most perfect penalty ever is just those circumstances in 1995, and Jordan Pickford netted for England in the Nations League in 2019.

But doing it in the European Championships quarter-final on home soil is another level. After a 2-2 draw with England, the shoot-out went into sudden death, with Darius Vassell next up for the Three Lions.

“I had watched some DVDs looking at where England players had taken their penalties,” Ricardo said in Ben Lyttleton’s book Twelve Yards. “But when I saw Darius Vassell coming toward me, I thought, ‘F*cking hell, hang on! I have seen every player score a penalty on this DVD but not this guy. Nothing! Has he even taken one before?’

“I looked at my hands. F*ck, I have to do something. I ripped off my gloves, just took them off. Vassell looked at me, and he looked at the referee, who said, ‘that’s fine.’ To this day I still don’t know why I did that. I have never done it before, or since, but I felt I needed to do something.”

It worked. Vassell’s wasn’t the worst penalty but Ricardo dropped to his left and parried the effort away with his bare hands. Still gloveless, Ricardo then stepped up to smash a perfect penalty past David James to send the hosts to the semi-finals.


2) Jose Chilavert – Argentina 1-1 Paraguay – 1996 
Scoring goals came as naturally to Chilavert as stopping them. The Paraguay keeper scored 67 throughout his career and held the record until Rogerio Ceni scored 131.

None of Ceni’s caused a diplomatic incident, though. Chilavert had already scored in a World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Buenos Aires, and he had also scored a 60-yard free-kick past German Burgos for Velez Sarsfield against River Plate. Chilavert, helpfully, advised Burgos to concentrate more and before they met in another World Cup match, the Paraguayan vowed to score again past Burgos.

Argentina took the lead from Gabriel Batistuta (Chilavert should have done better) but Paraguay then won a free-kick in Chilavert territory. Burgos reached the shot but failed to keep it out. He was subsequently dropped.

Chilavert too was made to feel the recriminations. Two days after the game, a three-month suspended prison sentence and a 13-month ban from football was imposed on him for his part in a brawl two years previous. The suspension was never recognised by Argentinian FA and the Paraguayan ambassador had to get involved but Chilavert hit back at the Argentine authorities: “They cannot forgive my success because I’m Paraguayan but I feel better than ever. These are the same people who think that Paraguayans belong on building sites or cleaning the houses of the rich.”


1) Jimmy Glass – Carlisle 2-1 Plymouth – 1998/99
“Never pick up the goalie, do they?” Alisson took his cue on Sunday from Glass but even if Liverpool go on to secure a Champions League spot, the Brazil No.1’s header will always be overshadowed by the on-loan Swindon stopper’s finish for Carlisle.

The Cumbrians were heading out of the Football League on the final day in 1999. Scarborough had drawn 1-1 with Peterborough – a point would have been enough if Carlisle also drew – and the Seadogs’ game was finished, with fans celebrating on the McCain Stadium pitch while waiting for confirmation of a draw at Brunton Park.

It never came as a result of Glass being sent forward by Carlisle boss Nigel Pearson for a 95th-minute corner. The keeper pounced on a loose ball after a save from his Argyle counterpart and suddenly Carlisle were safe amid limbs everywhere.

Scarborough never recovered. They were relegated and eight years later, they were out of business.