Moving the Goalposts: Last and First Stadium Goalscorers

Belle Vue - Doncaster Rovers former groundTheo Streete played just ten matches as a professional footballer. His is the sort of blink and you miss it pro career that in most instances would fade away everywhere but a listing in a tattered Rothmans Annual. Not Streete however, instead he has an eternal residency as a footnote in South Yorkshire sporting history. That is because one hour into a match in late December 2006 he took an ambitious pot shot on goal from out on the right wing, and through doing so became that last ever goalscorer at Doncaster Rovers’ Belle Vue ground.

A lot of club honours in football can be surpassed; trophies are only held for a year whilst players can score more goals, make more appearances, be younger on debut or older on retirement, be bought or sold for more money. Yet being the last goalscorer at an old ground, or indeed the first goalscorer at a new one is a very finite honour; one of few in football from which you can never be displaced.

This notion, of bringing the curtain down on an old home, or ushering in a new era has long fascinated me; possibly due to the trajectory of Theo Streete’s career. The idea that such an honour can potentially fall on someone, anyone by chance, or by circumstance has an element of romance. It’s an honour that can befall everyday people; there was a lad called Jamie Green lived down my dad’s road, he played in midfield for the village team Rossington Main a couple of seasons back, but three years earlier he arrived in the penalty area at just the right time to score the last goal at Millmoor.

It only takes a second to score a goal we’re told, and so in such a brief moment in time you can change your entire placing in the game, in the same way Streete did. Mark McCammon scored Doncaster’s first goal at the Keepmoat Stadium, but for the agility of Matt Glennon or the width of the crossbar at the South Stand end, that honour could just as easily have gone to Paul Heffernan or Pawel Abbott respectively.

In the 25 years since the Taylor Report a lot of teams have moved on from tired old tumble-down homes to modern concrete bowls; grounds and parks have become stadiums and arenas. But despite all the Football League sides who had moved on I could find no comprehensive record of who had scored their last goal at their former home, or the first goal at their sleek new one. To me that seemed something of a tragedy, that these impromptu stars had not been recognised. So I made one and you can find that below complete with links to the goals themselves wherever I have been able to find them.

Theo Streete has gone on to forge a decent semi-pro career at the top level of non-league. Four years after his defining moment, I stood at Worcester City’s St George’s Lane (also now sadly defunct) and watched him take a similarly optimistic punt at goal for Alfreton Town; that one ended in the Birmingham canal. His shot at Belle Vue could just as easily have ended up on the roof of Asda – it certainly should’ve been saved by Forest’s Paul Smith. Such is fate. Instead a player that would have been forgotten now has an honour that can’t be taken from him, ensuring that when housing finally is built on the site of Belle Vue, there will be an inevitable campaign for a Theo Street among the roads constructed.

Arsenal Grounds ARSENAL
LAST GOAL: Thierry Henry; 4-2 vs Wigan Athletic (May 2006)
Emirates Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa); 1-1 vs Aston Villa (August 2006)
Barnet crest BARNET
LAST GOAL: Jake Hyde; 1-0 vs Wycombe Wanderers (April 2013)
The Hive
FIRST GOAL: Luke Gambin; 3-0 vs Chester (August 2013)
Bolton Wanderers Ground BOLTON WANDERERS
Burnden Park
LAST GOAL: John McGinley; 4-1 vs Charlton Athletic (April 1997)
Reebok Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Alan Thompson; 1-1 vs Tottenham Hotspur (September 1997)
Brighton & Hove Albion Ground BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Goldstone Ground
LAST GOAL: Stuart Storer; 1-0 vs Doncaster Rovers (April 1997)
Withdean Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Darren Freeman; 6-0 vs Mansfield (August 1999)
LAST GOAL: Danny Ward (Huddersfield Town); 2-3 vs Huddersfield Town (April 2011)
AmEx Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Billy Sharp (Doncaster Rovers); 2-1 vs Doncaster Rovers (August 2011)
Bristol Rovers  grounds BRISTOL ROVERS
LAST GOAL: Brian Scrimegeour (Chesterfield); 1-1 vs Chesterfield (April 1986)
Memorial Ground
FIRST GOAL: Andy Gurney; 1-0 vs Peterborough United (August 1996)
Burton Albion crest BURTON ALBION
Eton Park
LAST GOAL: Jon Shaw; 1-0 vs Northwich Victoria (April 2005)
Pirelli Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Aaron Webster; 1-1 vs Grays Athletic (August 2005)
Cardiff City grounds CARDIFF CITY
Ninian Park
LAST GOAL: Jon Stead (Ipswich Town); 0-3 vs Ipswich Town (April 2009)
Cardiff City Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Michael Chopra; 4-0 vs Scunthorpe United (August 2009)
Chester City crest CHESTER CITY
Sealand Road
LAST GOAL: Graham Abel; 2-0 vs Rotherham United (April 1990)
Deva Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Chris Beaumont (Stockport County); 1-2 vs Stockport County (August 1992)
Chesterfield grounds CHESTERFIELD
LAST GOAL: Derek Niven; 2-1 vs Bournemouth (May 2010)
Proact Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Dwayne Mattis; 2-1 vs Barnet (August 2010)
Colchester United grounds COLCHESTER UNITED
Layer Road
LAST GOAL: Richard Creswell (Stoke City); 0-1 vs Stoke City (April 2008)
Community Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Mark Yeates; 2-2 vs Oldham Athletic (August 2008)
Coventry City grounds COVENTRY CITY
Highfield Road
LAST GOAL: Andrew Whing; 6-2 vs Derby County (April 2005)
Ricoh Arena
FIRST GOAL: Claus Bech Jorgensen; 3-0 vs Queens Park Rangers (August 2005)
LAST GOAL: Dean Cox (Leyton Orient); 0-1 vs Leyton Orient (April 2013)
Darlington grounds DARLINGTON
LAST GOAL: Neil Wainwright; 2-2 vs Leyton Orient (May 2003)
Reynolds Arena
FIRST GOAL: Danny Williams (Kidderminster Harriers); 0-2 vs Kidderminster Harriers (August 2003)
LAST GOAL: Ben Ford (own goal); 3-1 vs Kettering Town (April 2012)
Derby County grounds DERBY COUNTY
Baseball Ground
LAST GOAL: Ian Wright (Arsenal); 1-3 vs Arsenal (May 1997)
iPro Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Stefano Eranio; 1-0 v Barnsley (August 1997)
Doncaster Rovers grounds DONCASTER ROVERS
Belle Vue
FIRST GOAL: Arthur Charlesworth; 1-0 vs Gainsborough Trinity (August 1922)
LAST GOAL: Theo Streete; 1-0 vs Nottingham Forest (December 2006)
Keepmoat Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Mark McCammon; 3-0 vs Huddersfield Town(January 2007)
Huddersfield Town grounds HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
Leeds Road
LAST GOAL: Phil Starbuck; 2-1 vs Blackpool (April 1994)
John Smiths Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Simon Garner (Wycombe Wanderers); 0-1 vs Wycombe Wanderers (August 1994)
Hull City grounds HULL CITY
Boothferry Park
LAST GOAL: Simon Betts (Darlington); 0-1 vs Darlington (December 2002)
KC Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Dean Keates; 2-0 vs Hartlepool United (December 2002)
Leicester City grounds LEICESTER CITY
Filbert Street
LAST GOAL: Matt Piper; 2-1 vs Tottenham Hotspur (May 2002)
Walkers Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Brian Deane; 2-0 vs Watford (August 2002)
Manchester City grounds MANCHESTER CITY
Maine Road
LAST GOAL: Michael Svensson (Southampton); 0-1 vs Southampton (May 2003)
City of Manchester Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Trevor Sinclair; 5-0 vs The New Saints (August 2003)
Middlesbrough grounds MIDDLESBROUGH
Ayresome Park
LAST GOAL: John Hendrie; 2-1 vs Luton Town (April 1995)
Riverside Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Craig Hignett; 2-0 vs Chelsea (August 1995)
Millwall Ground MILLWALL
The Den
LAST GOAL: Mike Davies (Bristol Rovers); 0-3 vs Bristol Rovers (May 1993)
The New Den
FIRST GOAL: John Kerr; 1-4 vs Southend United (August 1993)
Morecambe crest MORECAMBE
Christie Park
LAST GOAL: David Artell; 2-1 vs Dagenham & Redbridge (May 2010)
Globe Arena
FIRST GOAL: Andy Fleming; 2-0 vs Coventry City (August 2010)
Newport County grounds NEWPORT COUNTY
Somerton Park
LAST GOAL: J. Prew; 1-0 vs Barry Town (April 1992)
Newport Stadium
FIRST GOAL: L. Jones; 4-0 vs Redditch United (August 1994)
LAST GOAL: Adrian Cieslewicz (Wrexham); 0-1 v Wrexham (April 2012)
Rodney Parade
FIRST GOAL: Aaron O’Connor; 4-0 vs Nuneaton Town (August 2012)
Northampton Town grounds NORTHAMPTON TOWN
County Ground
LAST GOAL: Steve Wilkinson (Mansfield Town); 0-1 vs Mansfield Town (October 1994)
Sixfields Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Martin Aldridge; 1-1 vs Barnet (October 1994)
Oxford United  grounds OXFORD UNITED
Manor Ground
LAST GOAL: Tony Naylor (Port Vale); 1-1 vs Port Vale (May 2001)
Kassam Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Matt Doughty (Rochdale); 1-2 vs Rochdale (August 2001)
Reading grounds READING
Elm Park
LAST GOAL: Craig Bellamy (Norwich City); 0-1 vs Norwich City (May 1998)
Madejski Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Grant Brebner; 3-0 vs Luton Town (August 1998)
Rotherham United  grounds ROTHERHAM UNITED
LAST GOAL: Jamie Green; 1-0 vs Barnet (May 2008)
Don Valley Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Reuban Reid; 1-0 vs Lincoln City (August 2008)
LAST GOAL: Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton Town); 1-1 vs Northampton Town (May 2012)
New York Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Daniel Nardiello; 3-0 vs Burton Albion (August 2012)
Scarborough FC crest SCARBOROUGH
McCain Stadium
LAST GOAL: Kevin Rapley (Leigh Genesis); 1-1 vs Leigh Genesis (April 2007)
Scunthorpe United  grounds SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Old Showground
LAST GOAL: Steve Lister; 1-1 vs Torquay United (May 1988)
Glanford Park
FIRST GOAL: Dave Cowling; 3-1 vs Hereford United (August 1988)
Shrewsbury Town  grounds SHREWSBURY TOWN
Gay Meadow
LAST GOAL: Nick Fenton (Grimsby Town); 2-2 vs Grimsby Town (May 2007)
The New Meadow
FIRST GOAL: Dave Hibbert; 1-0 vs Bradford City (August 2007)
Southampton  grounds SOUTHAMPTON
The Dell
LAST GOAL: Matt Le Tissier; 3-2 vs Arsenal (May 2001)
St Mary’s Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea); 0-2 vs Chelsea (August 2001)
Stoke City grounds STOKE CITY
Victoria Ground
LAST GOAL: Andy Hunt (West Bromwich Albion); 2-1 vs West Bromwich Albion (May 1997)
Britannia Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Graham Kavanagh; 1-1 vs Rochdale (August 1997)
Sunderland grouns SUNDERLAND
Roker Park
LAST GOAL: Allan Johnston; 3-0 vs Everton (May 1997)
Stadium of Light
FIRST GOAL: Niall Quinn; 3-1 vs Manchester City (August 1997)
Swansea City grounds SWANSEA CITY
Vetch Field
LAST GOAL: Andy Robinson; 2-1 vs Wrexham (May 2005)
Liberty Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Adebayo Akinfenwa; 1-0 vs Tranmere Rovers (August 2005)
Walsall Grouns WALSALL
Fellows Park
LAST GOAL: Andy Dornan; 1-1 vs Rotherham United (May 1990)
Bescot Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Matty Bryant (own goal for Torquay United); 2-2 vs Torwuay United (August 1990)
Wigan Athletic Ground WIGAN ATHLETIC
Springfield Park
LAST GOAL: Paul Dickov (Manchester City); 1-1 vs Manchester City (May 1999)
DW Stadium
FIRST GOAL: Simon Haworth; 3-0 vs Scunthorpe United (August 1999)
Wimbledon FC Ground WIMBLEDON
Plough Lane
LAST GOAL: Ian Wright (Crystal Palace); 0-3 vs Crystal Palace (May 1991)
Selhurst Park
FIRST GOAL: Robbie Earle; 2-0 vs West Ham United (August 1991)
LAST GOAL: David Connolly; 2-1 vs Burnley (May 2003)
Wycombe Wanderers Ground WYCOMBE WANDERERS
Loakes Park
LAST GOAL: Dave Carroll; 2-1 vs Stafford Rangers (May 1990)
Adams Park
FIRST GOAL: Gary Smith; 4-1 vs Welling United (August 1990)
Yeovil Town crest YEOVIL TOWN
The Huish
LAST GOAL: Neil Cordice; 1-0 vs Telford United (May 1990)
Huish Park
FIRST GOAL: Mickey Spencer; 2-0 vs Colchester United (August 1990)

Some things stand out from that list; notably Ian Wright’s existence as some sort of football ground grim reaper; not content with scoring a hat-trick for Crystal Palace in the last game at Plough Lane, he also scored the death knell at the Baseball Ground too. Adebayo Akinfenwa also appears twice; bringing the curtain down on Don Valley’s football existence and drawing a ball into his orbit long enough to christen the Liberty Stadium in 2005 as well.

There are some big names on that list; It’s hard to imagine a player so much of the modern era like Craig Bellamy ever playing at such a relic as Elm Park never mind scoring there, whilst there will be few more fitting scorers than Matt Le Tissier curling in the final goal at The Dell.

Interestingly, but for Andy Hunt’s consolation goal for West Brom in the final game of the 1996-97 season Graham Kavanagh would have the unique distinction of scoring the last goal at Stoke’s former ground and the first one at their new ground. And spare a thought for Walsall’s Matty Bryant whose honour of scoring the first goal at the Bescot Stadium, is somewhat tempered by the fact that he did so into his own net. On a similar vein however there is something gloriously fitting given how much of a millstone the Reynolds Arena was that the last goal scored there should be an own goal.

For Rovers fans there are plenty of familiar names among the above from Billy Sharp christening the AmEx Stadium, to current manager Paul Dickov scoring the last goal at Wigan’s Springfield Park. In addition to the aforementioned Adebayo Akinfenwa there is Nick Fenton scoring the last goal at Gay Meadow, Brian Deane opening the Walkers Stadium and Scunthorpe’s two milestone goals both came from ex-Rovers Steve Lister and Dave Cowling.

Glen Wilson

Footnote: The table lists goals in competitive games. Ground-shares with other football teams have been omitted, this includes Bristol Rovers’ years in Bath and Brighton’s exile at Priestfield as well as Newport County’s time away from Somerton Park.  The exception is Wimbledon owing to the 12 years they spent at Selhurst Park. Wimbledon is a complex case I know, though some may (rightly) feel Wimbledon FC ceased to be in 2002 when AFC Wimbledon were created, they did play the 2002-03 seasons as Wimbledon FC therefore the last goal at Selhurst Park scored by the club is the final one from the 2002-03 season. If anyone spots any mistakes please do let me know, likewise if you have any videos of the goals listed.