Monday, August 29, 2016

29 August 1987 - The Football League's Mystery Milestone

On 29 August 1987, somebody scored the English Football League's 400,000th goal. But nobody knows who it was. 

Established in 1888, the Football League governed the top four tiers of English football until 1992, when the uppermost division broke away to form the Premier League. Due to imprecise starting times and match reports, there have been many contenders for the league's first goal, including Aston Villa full back Gershom Cox's own goal against Wolves and Preston North End's Fred Dewhurst against Burnley. Recent evidence, however, suggests it was scored by Bolton's Kenny Davenport against Derby County.  

Similarly, lack of details in match timing makes it impossible to say who scored the 400,000th goal. The records only make clear that it came on 29 August 1987. The day's 43 matches provided a total of 110 goals, with only four scoreless draws among them. 

The day's highest score came from Division Three's Gillingham, who beat Southend United 8-1, while the highest tally in the top flight was Arsenal's 6-0 victory over Portsmouth. Darlington came close to that in Division Four, beating Hartlepool United 2-5. Sheffield United delivered the top score of the Second Division with a relatively modest 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers. 

It took almost nine years for the league to reach 500,000 goals, with Huddersfield's Gary Taylor-Fletcher collecting the honor with a strike against Rotherham United. 

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