Like in life, making a good first impression in football is nice. Every player dreams of making a big impact on their debut.
Some National League debutants have made a significant impact on their debuts. Unfortunately for them, it was on an opposition player, and they were dismissed from the field on their bow. Here are the National League players who were dismissed in the quickest time on their debuts:
Angus MacDonald (sent off after three minutes in Salisbury City vs Chester)
The defender had two spells at Salisbury City, one on loan early in his career and a second spell with the club later. It was in the latter spell in 2013 that the centre-back saw red after just three minutes in a 3-1 win over Chester.
The defender went on to make 28 more appearances for City before moving to a plethora of EFL clubs and Aberdeen in the SPL.
Lee Minshull (sent off after six minutes in Southport vs AFC Wimbledon)
The midfielder saw red after just six minutes in AFC Wimbledon’s 1-0 win at Southport in 2010. In two years with the club, Minshull only made 19 more appearances for AFC Wimbledon.
The most successful period of his career came at Newport County, where he made 116 appearances in three seasons between 2012 and 2015.
Daniel Udoh (sent off after eight minutes in Bromley vs Solihull Moors)
The Nigerian forward is the only player on our list who was dismissed for two bookable offences rather than given a straight red card. His red card came during a loan spell at Solihull Moors in 2017 in a 1-0 win over Bromley.
It is fair to say the rest of his loan spell didn’t go that well, as he made just three further appearances for the club without finding the net. He had a nomadic career until 2019 when he joined his current club, Shrewsbury, where he scored 24 goals in 135 appearances. While with the Shrews, he scored a goal at Anfield against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Charlie Allen (Sent off after eight minutes in Tamworth vs Braintree Town)
Charlie, the son of ex-Gillingham boss Martin Allen, made his mark on loan at Tamworth. The midfielder lasted just eight minutes in a 0-0 draw. His spell with Tamworth turned out to be a short one, as the game was his only appearance for the club.
Allen has since played for various EFL and National League clubs, including Gillingham and Notts County.
Danny Lowe (Sent off after 12 minutes in Cambridge United vs Halifax Town)
The left-back lasted just 12 minutes in Halifax Town’s 5-1 defeat at Cambridge United in August 2013. Lowe went on to make 24 more appearances for the Yorkshire club.
Overall, the full-back made 111 appearances in the National League, with 87 of them coming for Guiseley.
Matt Paterson (Sent off after 12 minutes in Mansfield vs Forest Green Rovers)
Like Lowe, the Scottish forward lasted 12 minutes on his National League bow. Paterson saw red in a 1-0 defeat playing for Forest Green Rovers against Mansfield. It turned out to be Paterson’s only appearance for Rovers.
Paterson has since had a long career in football, including playing in the Championship, League One and League Two. He made 38 appearances in the fifth tier.
Aaron Cunningham (Sent off after 16 minutes in Hartlepool United vs Torquay United)
The centre-back was dismissed during Hartlepool’s 1-1 home draw with Torquay in April 2018.
Cunningham went on to make 16 more appearances for the north east team. He also played for Blyth Spartans in the National League north.
Ben Middleton (Sent off after 23 minutes in North Ferriby United vs Lincoln City)
The centre-back lasted just 23 minutes on his debut, as his North Ferriby United team suffered a 6-1 battering at Lincoln City in August 2016.
Middleton made 40 appearances for North Ferriby in the National League while also featuring for Boston on eight occasions in the National League North.
Shaquille McDonald (Sent off after 24 minutes in Salisbury City vs Chester)
The former Birmingham youth player saw red after just 24 minutes in Chester’s 3-1 defeat against Salisbury City in September 2013. The game was his only appearance for the north west club on loan from Peterborough.
McDonald has since done a tour of non-league football, with the highlight of his career so far coming in a prolific spell with Coventry United, when he scored 22 goals in 29 appearances in the Midland Football League Premier Division.
Harvey Gilmour (Sent off after 32 minutes in Eastleigh FC vs Stockport County)
The central midfielder’s debut lasted just 32 minutes, as he was dismissed in Stockport County’s 1-0 defeat at Eastleigh in February 2021. He went on to make just two further appearances for County.
However, he had more success at Halifax Town, where he made 76 appearances in two seasons before a move to Rochdale in the summer of 2023.