Sublime to ridiculous: the Hyundai A-League's quickest-ever goals off the bench

Mitchell Duke had been absent from the Hyundai A-League stage for nearly four years.

But it took the striker just 21 seconds to mark his return to Australian soil and open his goal account for Western Sydney Wanderers.

His first touch in a Red and Black jersey - a bullet header in last Friday's 5-1 loss to Newcastle Jets - would have been exactly how he had dreamt it, result aside.

However, it wasn’t the fastest ever goal scored by a substitute in Hyundai A-League history.

That is an honour former Perth Glory man and Serbian set-piece specialist Nebojsa Marinkovic will feel he is due.

Marinkovic famously dispatched a trademark free-kick against Melbourne City in 2017 – just 18 seconds after he was substituted on by coach Kenny Lowe.

“When we won the free-kick, I just grabbed my shirt and got ready to come on,” Marinkovic revealed.

“Diego (Castro - who was preparing to take the kick) saw me. I told him that I could score, and he said ok, no problem.”

RE-LIVE MARINKOVIC'S FREE KICK IN THE VIDEO BELOW


However, unfortunately for Marinkovic, his sublime claim for the quickest ever goal scored off the bench is trumped by the ridiculous.

That’s because the dubious honour belongs to former Newcastle Jets man Allan Welsh.

Welsh was brought on to defend a late Thomas Broich free-kick in the 93rd minute of Newcastle's clash with Brisbane Roar back in 2015, but the young defender could only deflect the German’s strike into the net – a mere 16 seconds after coming on.

Welsh now plays for Adelaide Comets in the National Premier Leagues South Australia.

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Duke's amazing first-touch cameo for the Wanderers will undoubtedly have been soured by a miserable occasion overall for the Western Sydney club.

Indeed, it is an impressive enough feat for a player to crown their debut with a club with a goal - let alone on one of the biggest stages of all.

That's what made Riley McGree's Round 1 goal for Melbourne City so remarkable. The 20-year-old incredibly arrived into the fray midway through the second half to settle the Melbourne Derby with his first touch.


And how about Ivan Franjic's unforgettable goal against the Wanderers in December 2017?

In just his second match back in Roar colours following his stint in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic showed Roar what they had been missing with this sensational curling effort.

The fullback came off the bench and fired in this unstoppable effort with his very first introduction.