Lincoln City FC




One of the rarest sights in our Football League history has been a goalkeeper being replaced, either through injury or dismissal, by an outfield player and throughout the Club's 4376 Football League games only 10 occasions have been found of an outfield player having to take over from the goalkeeper (this excludes occasions when a goalkeeper has left the field for treatment but returned shortly afterwards).

In addition two recognised outfield players have played the whole 90 minutes in goal whilst one goalkeeper has played as an outfield player - namely Stuart Naylor who played 90 minutes as centre forward at Newport County in October 1982. We lost 1-0!

Our second League season in 1893/94 saw Fred Jones play the first four games in goal. He then played two games at right back before a final appearance in goal. The previous season Jones had played full back for Small Heath (now Birmingham City) in the Second Division and represented Wales versus Scotland also at full back so goalkeeper wasn't his normal position. He shared goalkeeping duties in the early part of the season with W. Tice who was a Lincoln based soldier and presumably not always available for selection.

The following season saw John Broadbent become the first Imps' keeper to leave the field with a serious injury as he broke a small bone in his shoulder in only his second match for us. The match was at Darwen and the injury occurred after about 20 minutes' play with City losing 1-0. Centre half Joe Simpson, himself making his debut, took over and we eventually lost the game 6-0.

New Year's Day 1895 saw our first goalkeeper to be sent off when Evan Roberts was dismissed for foul and abusive language near the end of the game at Newcastle United. Again it was the centre half who took over as Mick Richardson went in goal and let one goal in as we lost 4-2.

Despite the rough treatment goalkeepers undoubtedly got it wasn't until January 2nd 1922 that a non-specialist next found himself between the posts. Jack Bryan played the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 defeat at Durham City after Robert Bainbridge had missed his train to the north east.

The record books say we lost 9-1 at Wigan Borough on March 3rd 1923 but the fact that Jack Kendall had to be carried off in the 13th minute after being hit in the face by the ball and knocked out didn't help. We were already two down but right back George Greaves let a further seven in.

Dan McPhail is the next goalkeeper on the list to fail to complete 90 minutes and he had a Christmas to forget in 1933. Away at Port Vale on Boxing Day, City were trailing 1-0 with 83 minutes gone when McPhail was sent off for an off the ball incident with Nolan of the home side. As McPhail was standing over the Port Vale player the referee assumed he had hit him so sent the City keeper off. It was revealed much later that City centre half Alf Young had been the culprit, punching Nolan whilst City had a corner. McPhail was just checking to see if the Port Vale player was okay. No record has been found as to who went in goal for the final seven minutes but the score remained the same.

McPhail's festive period got worse four days later at Millwall as he got injured after 27 minutes and had to leave the field. There were no goals at the time and this time it is reported that forward Tom Feeney took over in goal. As he also played in the Port Vale match it is probable he took over then as well. On this occasion he conceded four in a 4-1 defeat. It was Feeney's last game for City.

Andy Graver is better known for his goalscoring rather than goalkeeping but he replaced Bill Heath when Heath suffered a badly cut head at Charlton in November 1959. A 2-1 lead for us at the time finished as 2-2 draw, Graver conceding once in his 30 minutes in goal.

Colin Boulton had only started four League games for us before a broken leg at Crewe in August 1980 ended his career. Steve Thompson took over in the 22nd minute, kept a clean sheet and we won 3-0 despite also having David Hughes sent off.

John Schofield managed 12 minutes in the Imps' goal at Cardiff City in April 1993 after Mike Pollitt was sent off for conceding a penalty. The penalty was duly dispatched past Schofield to complete the scoring in a 3-1 defeat. Word has it that Schofield produced a superb tip over the bar in the closing stages but we seem to be having trouble finding video evidence to back up this claim!

Barry Richardson's dismissal at Macclesfield Town in April 1998 saw Jon Whitney don the keeper's jersey and it was a poor kick by Whitney that resulted in Macclesfield scoring the only goal of the game. Finally, and to complete the list, Colin Cryan played the final two minutes at Torquay United in the 2005/06 season after Alan Marriott's dismissal in a 2-1 defeat.

Away from the League and second generation City player Jim Grummett not only has the rare distintcion of having played in every outfield position for City but he also played in goal when he replaced the John Kennedy who suffered a fractured elbow in a 2-1 FA Cup Second Round Replay win over Chester on December 11th 1968.

Colin Cryan dons the keeper's shirt following Alan Marriott's sending off at Torquay in September 2005

If anybody knows of any more instances or can confirm the goalkeeper at Port Vale please let us know by emailing or by calling the Club's media office on 01522 563790.

Imps In Action DVD


Clive Ford
Clive Ford













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