Usain Bolt scores twice on first start for Australia’s Central Coast Mariners
It appears that lightning can strike twice. Having failed to find the net in his previous outing for Central Coast Mariners, on a rainy Friday night in the South West Sydney suburb of Campbelltown celebrity trialist Usain Bolt scored the first two goals of his fledgling football career.
In his maiden start for the Mariners, the Olympic legend looked nervous early on and, by his own admission, panicked when his first goal-scoring opportunity arrived in the opening minutes.
Since his underwhelming first appearance in late August, Bolt has undertaken intensive training sessions in a bid to work on both skills and fitness, yet for the first 45 minutes the improvement looked to be minimal.
Despite having the experience of Tommy Oar and Ross McCormack alongside him in attack, heavy first touches saw Bolt give up possession easily as he struggled to make any real impact. A first-half header was wide of the mark and poor timing continued to plague the eight-time Olympic sprint champion as he battled to keep his football dream alive.
Manager Mike Mulvey had indicated Bolt would have at least 70 minutes to prove his worth and just short of the hour mark the Jamaican finally gave the fans something to cheer about.
Taking the ball on the left and shrugging off his defender, his low strike beat the goalkeeper at the near post. Cue hysteria in Campbelltown as the trademark “Lightning Bolt” celebration was beamed around the world.
“You’ve got to be happy for him,” Mulvey told FOX Sports. “It’s one of those moments he’ll treasure forever but it was just good football, he shielded the ball well and hit the target.”
In the 69th minute, a defensive mix up from the home side presented Bolt with a second and all he had to do this time was simply tap the ball into the net for his brace.
Showing that he is not just any trialist, Bolt signalled to the bench that he wanted five more minutes, but his hat trick was not forthcoming and he left the field to a standing ovation.
The headlines will naturally be all about the goals and he should certainly be given credit where it’s due -- the first one was a tidy finish that any footballer would be proud of. However, it should not be forgotten that the opposition in this match was not the same standard as Bolt will face should he secure a contract to play in the A-League.