Pondeljak records another milestone

There is not much Melbourne Victory's remarkable 34-year-old veteran Tom Pondeljak has not achieved during his illustrious career.

There is not much Melbourne Victory's remarkable 34-year-old veteran Tom Pondeljak has not achieved during his illustrious career.

But the man who scored the Victory's winning goal in last season's grand final win over Adelaide and who has been a member of four championship winning teams (three in the old National Soccer League as well as last year's triumph with Melbourne) came up with yet another milestone on Saturday night.

And that was the fastest goal in a career which has seen him play more than 400 senior matches.

Pondeljak scored after just 22 seconds during Saturday night's 1-0 win over Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium, a win which took Melbourne back to the top of the Hyundai A-League table.

It was not the fastest goal in Hyundai A-League history - that was scored by Adelaide's Louis Brain after just 10 seconds against Melbourne in 2005/06 - but it was still one for Pondeljak to savour after the game.

When asked if he had ever scored a quicker goal, the Victory veteran replied: "Not from memory."

The goal, which came about after a fine pass from Carlos Hernandez which put Archie Thompson in space down the left hand side, came at the second attempt after Pondeljak's initial shot had been blocked after he ghosted in at the far post to meet Thompson's perfect cross.

"It all happened pretty quick," Pondeljak said.

"It was obviously a really well-worked goal again from the boys and I tried to get something behind it (the initial shot)."

"But it came off my studs and (Adelaide keeper) Eugene (Galekovic) actually did well to get back across (and save it) but it came back out to me and I had a second bite of the cherry."

"It's then gone in off the inside of his (Galekovic's) leg and it was a good thing for us tonight that it did go in."

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick paid tribute to Pondeljak after the game, particularly as the attacking midfielder was forced to play as a defensive wing-back due to injuries to Matthew Kemp, Evan Berger and Surat Sukha.

"Tommy did a great job as a wing-back and he scored a goal from being a wing-back, which is a terrific effort, and I thought Tommy and Leigh (Broxham) were outstanding on the flanks."