Shearer joined Southampton's youth academy in 1986 and was called up to the first team two years later, making his first professional appearance on 26 March 1988 as a substitute in Southampton's 1-0 win over Chelsea. Around noon on 9 April, he was informed that he would receive his first start that evening at home against Arsenal because the scheduled starter, winger Danny Wallace, failed a late fitness test.
Shearer made the most of the opportunity, heading in his first goal after five minutes. Arsenal drew level five minutes later thanks to an own goal from Southampton's Kevin Bond, but the hosts took a 3-1 lead into the break after another goal from Shearer (33') and one from Mark Blake (44'). Shearer's historic moment came early in the second half, as he scored his third of the day in the 49th minute.
The Gunners mounted a late challenge and finally found the back of the net when Paul Davis scored in the 82nd minute, but it was too late and Southampton finished with the 4-2 victory.
Shearer would go on to have a prolific career with Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, and Newcastle, scoring a total of 379 career club goals in all competitions. 260 of those were in the Premier League, making him the League's all-time leading goalscorer.