Goodison's First Game

There are few sporting stadiums in the world that boast more history and theatre than Goodison Park.

The ‘Grand Old Lady’ - the first purpose-built football venue on the globe - has hosted more top-flight league matches than any other ground in England.

Goodison is steeped in tradition, with hundreds upon hundreds of fixtures - including a World Cup semi-final - having taken place since the first 90–minute match was played on the hallowed turf in 1892.

The story behind George Mahon’s landmark decision to relocate Everton from Anfield at the end of the nineteenth century can be found here - but in this feature we rewind the clock to look back at the first actual match to be played at Goodison.

On 2 September 1892, Bolton Wanderers were the first side to be welcomed to the Club’s new base for a friendly game.

An estimated crowd of 12,000 had attended the ground’s official opening ceremony a week earlier - and almost as many people turned out to see the Blues run out 4-2 winners against the Trotters.

An attendance of that size had looked doubtful thanks to some pretty unfavourable weather pre-match - but those who did brave the conditions saw a fantastic comeback from the home side.

Everton, wearing their new Club colours of salmon and dark blue stripes, had started on the back-foot amid an air of expectancy from the local support. Indeed, the Toffees trailed 2-0 through an early brace from Scottish striker Jim Cassidy.

But the Blues XI, selected by Dick Molyneux, then put on an exhibition, with Fred Geary (pictured below) pulling a goal back and, in the process, earning the title of the first Everton player to score a goal at Goodison.

Fred Geary 470

Alex Latta then equalised and the contest was turned on its head before the half-time break thanks to Edgar Chadwick.

The win was rubber-stamped in the second half thanks to an effort from Dickie Boyle.

The friendly had acted as a dress rehearsal to the first competitive fixture at Goodison - which took place against Nottingham Forest only 24 hours later!

Over 14,000 supporters this time battled against the wind and rain to watch Everton kick-off the new league season with a 2-2 draw.

The Toffees crushed Manchester United 6-0 later that September to register their first competitive win at Goodison and at the end of their debut season at the stadium, a third-place finish was secured.

Take a history lesson with our interactive timeline, detailing key dates and milestones throughout Everton’s glorious past.

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