Watford: Southampton striker Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history on Tuesday after netting just 7.69 seconds into his side’s 1-1 draw at Watford, who snatched a point thanks to Andre Gray’s late equaliser.
Long’s record-breaking goal came immediately after the kick-off when he blocked a clearance from Watford defender Craig Cathcart, allowing the Republic of Ireland international to dink a cool finish over Ben Foster.
The 32-year-old’s effort surpassed the previous fastest Premier League goal, scored by Tottenham defender Ledley King in 9.9 seconds against Bradford in December 2000.
“It’s a record, is it?” Long told Sky Sports News with a grin after the game.
“Straight from the kick-off we wanted to put them under pressure. 99 times out of a hundred you block it and it doesn’t work but this time it did.”
Long’s historic goal, just his fourth this season, didn’t prove to be the winner at Vicarage Road after Gray’s 90th minute equaliser for the FA Cup finalists but nonetheless moved them six points from the relegation zone with three matches remaining.
“It’s nice to have a record like that, but it would have been nicer if it was the winning goal,” Long added.
King was watching Tottenham’s game against Brighton on Tuesday when he discovered that his 19-year record had been broken.
After King’s goal, the next fastest strike in Premier League history was scored by Alan Shearer after 10.52 seconds for Newcastle against Manchester City in 2003.
Christian Eriksen scored after 10.54 seconds for Tottenham against Manchester United last season.
The strains of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ had barely finished booming over the loudspeakers when Long gave Southampton lift-off.
The goal actually came from Watford’s kick-off as Roberto Pereyra played the ball from the centre-circle back to Cathcart some 40 yards from his own goal.
As the centre-back attempted to clear up field, Long charged it down and raced through before lifting in his landmark goal.
The Saints could have scored more with Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand both hitting the woodwork.
Redmond was also denied by a good save from Foster and Long headed two other presentable chances off target.
Watford dominated after the break and Abdoulaye Doucoure attempted to convert a cross from Kiko Femenia but could only bundle the ball into Angus Gunn’s arms.
Christian Kabasele felt he should have been awarded a penalty after a shove by Long in the area, but referee Mike Dean thought otherwise.
Southampton could not hang on and Gray swept home from close range to lift Watford up to seventh and keep Hasenhuttl’s men looking over their shoulders a little longer.