GUY HODGSON AND LIZ SEARL
The statisticians will no doubt continue to disagree among themselves, but an Australian international by the name of Damian Mori has staked what could prove the best claim yet to the fastest goal in senior football history.
As Mori's team, Adelaide City, lined up for the start of Wednesday night's Australian National League match against Sydney United, the striker spotted the opposition goalkeeper, John Perosh, off his line. From the kick-off Bradley Hasell passed to Mori, who promptly lobbed the ball over Perosh and into the net. The goal was timed at four seconds.
Other goals have been recorded at four seconds (and indeed one at 3.5sec), but Mori may have the most legitimate claim as his goal was filmed, unlike most of those in the record books.
Adelaide City officials said they would send a copy of the film to the Guinness Book of Records, which currently lists four goals, all scored in six seconds, as the fastest in history: Albert Mundy (Aldershot v Hartlepool, 1958), Barrie Jones (Newport v Torquay, 1962), Keith Smith (Crystal Palace v Derby, 1964) and Tommy Langley (Queen's Park Rangers v Bolton, 1980).
One other notable goal was recorded at six seconds, but the scorer is probably glad that his name does not appear in most record books: Pat Kruse's strike after six seconds while playing for Torquay against Cambridge in 1977 is believed to be the fastest own goal in history.
In fact most statisticians agree that the fastest goal of all time was scored by Colin Cowperthwaite, who found the net after 3.5sec playing for Barrow against Kettering Town in 1979.
There are also two instances in professional football of goals said to have been scored after only four seconds. The match referee confirmed that time for Jim Fryatt's goal for Bradford Park Avenue against Tranmere in 1964, while off-pitch observers also recorded four seconds for Malcolm Macdonald's lob for Newcastle United in a friendly against St Johnstone in 1972.
At international level Bryan Robson has the rare distinction of holding two records for the fastest goal. His strike after 27 seconds for England against France in 1982 was the fastest goal recorded in the World Cup finals, while his 38-second effort against Yugoslavia in 1989 is the fastest recorded at Wembley.
Ray Spiller, of the Association of Football Statisticians, said that Cowperthwaite's goal was generally recognised as the fastest in history. However, he said the arguments were likely to rage on because the football authorities have no system for officially recognising the time of goals.
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