Bolt bags a brace in first Mariners start
WHERE were you when Usain Bolt scored his first goal for a professional football side?
A little fewer than 6000 were at Campbelltown Stadium last night to witness the moment live.
Another few thousand sat on the couch at home watching on TV, some undoubtedly cheering, some in disbelief that the Jamaican track great they were sure was definitely not a footballer could do something so football-like.
Because Bolt’s maiden goal for Central Coast was a ripper — a deft finish that will unlikely prove enough on its own to warrant an A-League contract — it might temporarily quieten some critics.
Fifty-five minutes into his Mariners starting debut, the Jamaican sprint legend broke into space and dashed on to a through-ball from Ross McCormack. With that loping stride that so breezily broke the 100m and 200m world records multiple times, he took it on the angle with his left foot — his only foot — and struck it low and hard past the goalkeeper at the near post.
If ever an effort required a “Lightning Bolt” celebration this was it, and the world’s fastest man duly obliged.
“It was a big deal,” Bolt said after the game. “First start and scoring two goals was a good feeling. This is what I worked towards, I tried to improve myself and get better.”
Admittedly, it was a snapshot amid a still-rudimentary personal display against a Macarthur South West United XI comprised of a handful of the region’s NPL players.
And though lightning did strike twice, the 32-year-old’s second goal came by virtue of a defensive mix-up that left him free to tap the ball into an empty net.
But a brace is how the Mariners’ most famous triallist’s 75 minutes on the park will be remembered, two months after he arrived in Gosford devoid of enough fitness to last five minutes of training drills.
The shift revealed real improvement, yet also showed signs his ambitious sport switch remains a long-term project.
“I’ve been learning a lot and personally feel I’ve been improving quickly,” Bolt said.
“I’m just happy I could show the world I’m improving.”