If a player fails to make the starting line-up and has to settle for a place on the bench, his aim must surely be an introduction to the game at some point before making a lasting impression with the coaching staff and supporters.
The theory was put into practice last season with several of our substitutes making their mark after getting the call from the manager. No fewer than nine different players scored goals in matches they didn’t start.
Nathan Waterston did so on three occasions as did loan signing Millenic Alli, Dav Symington netted two ‘goal-of-the-season’ contenders when he wore the number 12 shirt and Ash Kelly scored two of his goals via the bench, the two Brads, Carroll and Hubbold, also made scoring impacts and Mwiya Malumo did likewise on his debut.
Even some of the youngsters got in on the act with Cam Harker (2) and Owen Durham getting a taste of the glory in the Cumberland Cup.
Millenic’s feat of scoring in three successive league games (Brighouse Town, Mossley and Tadcaster Albion) was unusual but not unique. Gareth Arnison once bagged four league goals in three successive league appearances as a substitute while Steve Archibald also scored three in three consecutive sub outings although one of his goals came in a cup match.
Although quite a few players have grabbed hat-tricks after being introduced as a substitute in pre-season friendly matches, the only individual to have done so in a competitive game is Grant Holt.
He netted three in a North West Counties League fixture against Cheadle Town during the ’98-99 season, just days after his eighteenth birthday!
Jack Ryan went one better, scoring four as a second half substitute three years ago but no glory, as such, with the feat recorded in a friendly at Whitehaven.
Scoring substitutes only started making their mark in the mid-sixties with Brian Tinnion becoming the first ‘number 12’ to score for Workington in a Football League fixture, a home match against Darlington during the 1966-67 campaign.
Tony Geidmintis was the first Reds substitute to score in the FA Cup, doing so at Rochdale in 1975 – sadly to no avail.
And Paul Handley was credited with our first Northern Premier League goal via the bench in 1980-81with Dav Symington’s wonder goal (his second) v. Prescot Cables last season our 100th in NPL matches.
But who is/was Reds’ Super Sub of all time?
Glenn Murray, like Holt, scored as a raw teenager via the bench but the contenders for the title would have to include Kevin Rowntree (8), Garry Wright and Barry Irving (7 each) and Holt (6).
Even they pale into insignificance compared to Graham Goulding (inset) who became the first twelfth man to score a Conference goal and, eventually, reach double figures (14) – hence the shout, ‘Get Goulding On’!
But our two modern day centurions – Scott Allison and Gareth Arnison – are the undisputed masters as both can claim to have scored 15 goals via the bench.
Scott’s tally is made up of ten competitive goals and five in friendlies whilst Arni’s haul includes thirteen in matches of a competitive nature and two in pre-season games.
- Substitutes have scored 329 goals for Reds since Dave Butler got the first in a friendly back in 1966