Last minute goals – who doesn’t love them?
Aside from the team conceding them, of course, they are the goals every footballer dreams of scoring and the goals that fans crave.
We look back on some of the most memorable, most dramatic and most controversial scored in the A-League.
Erik Paartalu 2011 Grand Final
You know how this one goes.
Perhaps the most replayed goal in A-League, this is a deserved first entrant on our list, for it became the catalyst to Brisbane Roar’s reign of dominance over the league.
Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane finished two points behind Graham Arnold’s Central Coast Mariners in the regular season – setting up a mouth-watering clash between two worthy contenders come Grand Final day.
Both sides were searching for their maiden Championship and the Mariners felt as though they were home when they found themselves two goals ahead deep into extra time.
Henrique would pull one back for the Roar in the 117th minute before Erik Paartalu would etch his name into Australian football folklore when his header shot past Matt Ryan in front of 50,000 people at Suncorp Stadium.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Archie Thompson Breaks Hearts (2012)
Every story needs a hero just as much as it needs a villain and on this December evening at AAMI Park, Archie Thompson played both roles.
Already adored by the Victory fans for his Grand Final heroics, Thompson once again stepped up to the big occasion to secure a famous derby win.
Finding space in behind the Melbourne Heart defence, Thompson received the ball from teammate Marco Rojas with nothing but the goals – and creating history – in sight.
A packed AAMI Park held its breath as the ball bounced off the crossbar and over the line, with Thompson hardly waiting to receive the all-clear before ardently celebrating in front of the home supporters.
Matt Simon Lands Knockout Blow (2020)
Everyone knew something was about to go down when Matt Simon was substituted on with 23 minutes left.
The Mariners captain would land the knock-out punch – both literally and figuratively – scoring twice from the penalty spot in stoppage time to record an enthralling win.
Simon’s afternoon would send sokkahtwitter into meltdown as fans were glued to their screens, watching a chaotic match unfold in Gosford – which turned out to be Marco Kurz’s last as Victory boss.
Revenge is a dish best served from Paartalu’s head.
The Victory were yet to taste defeat in season 2014/15 when the two sides met in the annual Christmas derby.
It looked like Victory would extend its unbeaten run as the clock ticked over into stoppage time with neither side able to find a breakthrough.
While the Victory would go on to win both the Premiership and Championship, City fans will remember this season for one thing and one thing only – Erik Paartalu’s head.
Like he did for the Roar, Paartalu rose like a salmon and stung like a bee to steal a memorable derby win for City and provide the perfect response to Thompson’s winner a few years prior.
Besart Berisha….Was It A Dive? (2012)
Dramatic? Yes. Memorable? Absolutely. Controversial? You better believe it.
Besart Berisha’s stoppage time Championship winning penalty ticked all the boxes, as the Roar became the first side to win consecutive A-League Grand Finals.
With the score locked at a goal apiece, Besart Berisha was – controversially some may say – awarded a penalty after being brought down in the penalty area.
To this day there is still uncertainty as to whether he was fouled or merely lost his balance and with no VAR at the time, it was something the protesting Glory players could do nothing about.
James Robinson’s Only Goal (2007)
After a dominant regular season, Melbourne Victory were minutes away from a shock defeat via away goals at home in the 2007 Major Semi-Final.
The winner of this tie between the Victory and Adelaide would earn the right to host that season’s Grand Final while a meeting with the Newcastle Jets in the preliminary final awaited the loser.
With the score locked at one-all after goals from Travis Dodd and Danny Alsopp, the Reds were in the box seat to progress to the Grand Final – until James Robinson spoiled the party.
Despite only making seven appearances for the Victory, Robinson became an instant cult hero with his one and only goal for the club coming at a crucial time in front of a massive 47,000 crowd at the Telstra Dome.
Ben Halloran In Extra Time (2019)
In an otherwise uneventful affair, Ben Halloran’s 119th minute goal broke the deadlock in this elimination final to send Adelaide United to what would be another gruelling tie against Perth Glory.
Halloran nearly opened the scoring seven minutes earlier when his shot went through the legs of City goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic before being smothered on the line.
Played across the box by Baba Diawarra, Halloran perfectly placed the ball into the bottom corner with his side footed attempt to give coach Marco Kurz the perfect send off in his last game at Coopers Stadium.
Chris Ikonomidis Steals The Victory (2019)
Expectations were certainly exceeded when Melbourne Victory hosted Perth Glory in Round 2 of the 2018/19 seasons.
With both sides coming off strong pre-seasons and favourites to lift silverware, it was the Glory who walked away with the three points – in what could be described as the catalyst towards their drought-breaking premiership.
The Glory shot out to a two-goal lead before Terry Antonis and Storm Roux appeared to have done enough to salvage a point for the Victory at home.
But despite this emphatic comeback, it was the Glory who would have the last laugh as Chris Ikonomidis stole the show with the first of several last-minute winners from that season to steal the three points.
Guilherme Finkler Becomes Victory Hero (2013)
With one dead ball strike, Guilherme Finkler became a Victory hero – rescuing a valuable point against the high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers.
Finkler stood over the set-piece with his side a goal down and no time left on the clock in front of a packed AAMI Park in the first-ever meeting between the two sides at this venue.
The Brazilian could not have placed the ball any further into the top corner – with Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic diving face first into the post – as the stadium erupted and Finkler was crowned the club’s newest hero.
Ufuk Talay From The Spot (2007)
This match had it all.
Nine goals, two red cards, 17,000 people and one stoppage time penalty – it’s no wonder this was described as the ‘best A-League game ever’ post-match.
Mile Jedinak, John Aloisi and Tony Popovic were some of the names who took the field that day but it was present-day Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay who would steal the headlines.
After Adam Kwasnik had scored the game’s eighth goal to level the score at four-all, the Sky Blues were awarded a penalty in stoppage time.
With tension and emotions running high, Talay slotted the penalty, capping off a crazy night in Gosford.