Last week the national press picked up on the story of a very quick goal scored in a non-League match in Hampshire.
Marc Burrows’ effort for Cowes Sports Reserves against Eastleigh Reserves in a Wessex League Combination match at Eastleigh, near Southampton, on 3rd April was said to have timed by the referee at two seconds.
That would constitute a world record.
The FA requested a report from referee John Sorrell, who lives in Eastleigh, and this has now been received.
John says: "The Cowes Sports centre-forward (Marc Burrows) told me he thought it would be worth having a shot from the kick-off due to the strong wind at his back.
"Conscious of his intentions I blew the whistle for the game to start and started my watch as the ball was played. Marc’s striking partner touched the ball to him and he hit it sweetly towards the Eastleigh goal. It flew over the goalkeeper’s head and straight into the net.
"I checked my watch immediately the ball entered the goal, as I thought someone would probably ask me the time of the goal. The time on my watch indicated that 2.5 seconds had passed".
On the basis of this report The FA can now say this:
The fastest goal that The FA is aware of is one scored after 2.5 seconds, claimed by Marc Burrows, playing for Cowes Sports Reserves against Eastleigh Reserves at Eastleigh on 3rd April 2004. This claim is supported by the referee, John Sorrell.
It is normal to use the word "claimed" when there is no filmed evidence. The FA knows of two goals scored after four seconds that were captured on film.
2.5 seconds may not seem long enough to complete the manoeuvre described by the referee in his report – but we appreciate that there was an exceptionally strong wind.
A goal after two seconds
Wednesday, 07 April 2004.
Marc Burrows, who plays for Cowes Sports Reserves, is celebrating scoring what could be the fastest goal in football history - after just two seconds!
Marc, 25, decided to take advantage of a strong wind from the kick-off to aim a speculative punt at the opposing goalmouth. To his astonishment the ball sailed over the head of the Eastleigh Reserves goalkeeper and into the net.
The Football Association says that it will be in a position to acknowledge it as the fastest goal when confirmation is received from the referee.
Burrows, a former Portsmouth trialist, went on to score a hat-trick in the Sydenhams Wessex League Combination match at Eastleigh, near Southampton, on Saturday. His team won 5-3.
The player, who works as a sales consultant, said: "The wind was so strong I just thought it was worth a go. Michael Pointer rolled the ball forward a couple of inches and I took a mighty swing at it. The wind was strong and the ball just sailed over their poor ‘keeper. I was so stunned I didn’t really celebrate. I just put my arms in the air and burst out laughing".
He revealed that it wasn’t the first attempt of his career to notch a quick goal. "I have tried something similar once or twice", he said, "but it normally goes out for a throw-in and I feel like a right prat. The goal took everyone by surprise - not just the goalkeeper. People in the crowd wondered what was going on and the managers hadn’t even made it to the bench."
Referee John Sorrell, astounded by the freakish goal, said after the match: "Just before kick-off I heard the Cowes centre-forward tell his team-mate he would have a go. I thought it was a bit cheeky. He had spotted the goalkeeper was standing on his penalty spot and obviously fancied trying his luck. His mate touched the ball to him and he just hit it".
A Football Association spokesman at Soho Square commented: "A time of 3.5 seconds was claimed for a goal scored in an Alliance Premier League (now ‘Conference’) match at Barrow in 1979 and we know of a goal scored in the Uruguayan League after 2.8 seconds in 1998. You would think that two seconds wouldn't be long enough to complete such a manoeuvre but, with the referee’s confirmation, we’d be happy to put Marc Burrows’ strike into the record books".