Some fans leave the game early to “avoid the traffic”, whilst others head down the tunnels to be first in line for a pie and a pint, missing the end of the first half. Others tend to take their seat for the beginning of the game at the very last minute, either because they have been slow finishing their pre-match drink, traffic on the way to the ground was bad, their bus was late or perhaps just because they are very bad with time!
On Tuesday the 30th of January 2024, any supporters who were merely seconds late to their seats at either Luton versus Brighton or Crystal Palace versus Sheffield United, would have regretted that decision. That is because, for the first time in the Premier League, there were two games on the same day that witnessed near-instant goals, both inside 20 seconds!
On the night, the battle for the quickest goal was just about won by Luton’s Elijah Adebayo. He notched after just 18 seconds, a feat all the more impressive as his team began the game without the ball, a much-vaunted (yet slightly struggling) Brighton having kicked off. Supporting the idea that in the Premier League anyone really can beat anyone, Luton’s fellow strugglers Sheffield United also took an early lead. Ben Brereton Diaz fired in for the Blades after a pedestrian 20 seconds, opponents Crystal Palace not even managing to touch the ball before the Chile international scored.
It was an incredible night of football, not least because Luton were 2-0 up on the Seagulls after just 137 seconds and then went on to win 4-0. But where do these rapid-fire strikes stand in the all-time list of quickest Premier League goals?
Well, amazingly, Adebayo’s 18-second goal for the Hatters doesn’t even make the top 10! In fact, he only just scrapes into the fastest 20, in 19th place, with Brereton Diaz down in 24th. Moreover, we have actually seen a quicker goal already this season, with Jay Rodrguez giving Burnley the lead against Sheffield United after a mere 15 seconds back at the start of December.
5 Fastest Goals in Premier League History
10th on the list of the quickest Premier League goals ever is James Beattie. The former Everton and England striker opened the scoring for Southampton after just 13.52 seconds against Chelsea back in the 2004/05 campaign. It was a truly delightful goal too, scored after the Blues had kicked off! Cracking goal, shocking haircut!
However, as the table below shows, Beattie would need to have scored almost three seconds quicker to make the Premier League’s top five.
|Time in Seconds
Shane Long – Fastest Goal in Premier League History
For many years the earliest goal to be scored in a Premier League game came from an unlikely source: Ledley King. King was a cultured defender and very talented on the ball but whilst he played in midfield for some of his career, he is best known for being a centre back.
He held the record for not far shy of two decades until the Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long took the glory. Long scored well inside eight seconds, smashing King’s record. His Southampton team were playing away and perhaps surprisingly, eight of the 10 fastest goals have been registered by the visiting side. Even more surprising is the fact that it was the Hornets who kicked off in the game.
The goal, along with the other fastest strikes in PL history, can be seen here. However, Long charged down an attempted long ball after the kick-off had gone back to the Watford central defender. It bounced kindly for the forward, who then ran through on goal, producing a delightful, dinked finish over Ben Foster to earn his place in the record books.
The striker commented, “Ninety-nine times out of 100 you don’t block them clearances, but I did and took a touch across him”. However, the 88-capped international was ultimately disappointed as his side did not claim the three points. A goal at the opposite end of the match, in the very last minute of normal time in fact, from Andre Gray, made it 1-1.
Can We Have the Billing Please?
Asking for a bill in the restaurant and then having to wait ages for it is rather annoying, especially when you have no food or drink left! There was no wait for Billing though in the 2022/23 campaign, as Bournemouth’s Philip Billing stunned the Emirates; we would say into silence but we suspect it was probably pretty quiet to start with!
Billing is a Danish international, although he has not exactly been a regular scorer in English football. That said, his return is not all that bad for a central midfielder and he will certainly remember the goal he scored against Arsenal on the 4th of March 2023.
By all accounts, it was a bit of a pre-planned routine and from kick-off, the Cherries attacked down their right. Billing and his teammates charged forward and when the cross came in the Arsenal defending was poor, to say the least. The ball found its way to Billing just seven yards out and he slotted home with ease.
However, as with Long, Billing failed to get the result he wanted, despite his side leading 2-0 with just 28 minutes to go. The Gunners struck back to make it 2-2 with 20 minutes to go before finding the winner in the 97th minute to break Bournemouth’s hearts.
The King No More But Still Third Quickest
Ledley King can now boast just the third earliest strike in a Premier League match. It was a little fortuitous too, his poorly hit strike from range deflecting past the Bradford keeper. Even so, for many years, King had his place as a record holder until he was usurped by Long.
In common with the two goals now faster than King’s, the Spurs man’s strike came away from home. What’s more, like the other two it was not enough to help his side on the way to three points. Bradford hit back to draw 3-3, Benito Carbone grabbing the equaliser in the 89th minute. Perhaps scoring early isn’t such a good thing after all?