Football: Hot-shot building surveyor sets two-second goal record

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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL record books are being adjusted around the world after it was revealed yesterday that the fastest goal in history has been scored in the unlikely setting of the Coventry Alliance League. Above the names of Bryan Robson and Roberto di Matteo must now be placed... Ronan McKinlay.

The 21-year-old Irishman, a building surveyor, took advantage of a recently amended football law to score a goal two seconds after the referee's opening whistle. "I saw the keeper off his line and just smacked it," McKinlay, who plays for the hitherto unrenowned Coundon Court, said. "I remembered the new ruling, which has just come in this season, which says you can score from the kick-off, so I thought: Why not?

"It flew straight into the top corner and the referee recorded it at two seconds."

The previous record was held by an Australian, Damian Mori, who scored for Adelaide against Sydney in four seconds in 1995 - although his feat occurred under the old ruling where two players had to touch the ball for a goal to stand. The new legislation was brought in at the start of the 1997-98 season.

"I'm not the least bit surprised," Coundon Court's chairman, Richard Hoare, said. "McKinlay is an unorthodox player who does things spontaneously. Quite unique. He's got a great future."

McKinlay's record sheds a different light on other goals which have seemed rapid at the time. The fastest in English professional football is six seconds, a mark shared by three players - Aldershot's Albert Mundy (1958), Notts County's Barrie Jones (1962) and Crystal Palace's Keith Smith (1964) - while the quickest strike in World Cup football was completed in 27 seconds by England's Bryan Robson against France in 1986.

Only last year another record tumbled when Jackie Milburn's goal after 45 seconds in the 1956 FA Cup final was surpassed by Di Matteo, the Italian whose goal for Chelsea against Middlesbrough became the swiftest in an FA Cup final at two seconds faster.

Unlike Robson and Di Matteo, McKinlay's goal was not enough to secure victory for his side, however. After the bravura opening came the anti- climax and the game against Radford Semele ended as a 1-1 draw.

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