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Palace Pioneers: Keith Smith

September 7 2010

Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Keith Smith may not be regarded as a Crystal Palace great but he does hold two unique club records.

Smith is the fastest scorer in Palace's history with a goal after just six seconds to help his side claim a 3-3 draw away to Derby County on December 12, 1964.

The former striker also has the honour of being Palace's first-ever substitute when he came on for Ian Lawson at home to Leyton Orient on August 28, 1965.

At the start of the 1965/66 campaign, the FA allowed each club to have a 12th man who could only be used in the event of an injury. And when Lawson broke down, Smith hauled himself off the bench to become one of the game's first-ever subs.

Rewind back to 1964 and Smith's landmark lightning goal began with Peter Burridge kicking off to Cliff Holton who fed Brian Whitehouse and he sent a long ball that found its way through the Derby defence to Smith and the forward slotted past goalkeeper Reg Matthews.

Despite getting off to the perfect start, Second Division Palace needed two more goals from Burridge to earn an away point.

Only Jim Fryatt, who struck after just four seconds for Bradford Park Avenue against Tranmere in 1964, has scored a quicker goal in English football.

Smith shares his six-second goal record with Albert Munday (Aldershot vs Hartlepool in 1958) and Barrie Jones (Notts County vs Torquay in 1962).

Palace manager Dick Graham brought Smith from Peterborough just a month before his famous strike after the pair had worked together at West Brom.

Smith's 11-goal haul helped the newly-promoted Glaziers to a seventh-place finish in the Second Division and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Derbyshire-born player left for Darlington in 1966 after failing to match the excellent scoring records he had at his previous clubs. He had further outings for Leyton Orient and Notts County before returning to the West Midlands and the West Bromwich Police Force until retirement.

Although Smith only scored 15 times in 56 appearances for Palace, he holds the honour of having his place on every football statistician's chart.

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