'To hell and back' - Nelson getting back to best after lengthy injury layoff
Arnett Gardens made a major statement on Sunday night in their Red Stripe Premier League win over Mount Pleasant Football Academy, and the euphoric reaction of their spectators in the jam-packed Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex said it all.
The above emotion pales in comparison to that expressed by goalscorer Lamar 'Wanka' Nelson, who secured the late 1-0 win.
'It is so great to be back. I had a disastrous injury, and I would say I am coming back from hell, that is how terrible is was for me," said an emotional Nelson, whose strike in the 89th minute, three minutes after entering the field, gave Arnett Gardens the hard-fought victory.
The nightmare of which Nelson spoke began five years ago when he suffered a knee injury.
'LONG ROAD BACK'
"I got a PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) injury in 2013, and it has been a long road back.
"I have been out for a while, and I am trying to get myself back fully fit and do what I do best.
"It was not just the physical injury that took this long to get better. There was a time span to get the energy going. It is a mind thing, but the greatest thing is that I am back ready to work," the 27 year-old said.
He added:"It so good to be back, and I am in it to win it"
Nelson's strike from just outside the 18-yard box resulted from an interchange of passes between himself and captain Marvin Morgan on the right flank. Morgan's cross was cleared into the path of Nelson, who, sensing that the goalkeeper was expecting a cross and positioning himself for it, blasted past him at the near post.
"Once it left my foot, I saw that it was a goal. The keeper cheated a bit by drifting to his right, and I saw that he did not handle the flight of the ball well, and I started celebrating," was how Nelson described his strike.
That strike, Nelson indicated, has convinced him that he is getting to where he once was and where he wants to be.
"It is my first goal for the season. So far, I have been coming from the bench and have been working hard for a while to try to pull of something like this, and tonight is the night. I am really grateful for it.
"It is a great feeling, and I am over it now, so I am ready to connect with the people," said the man whose dream of stardom was deferred.
He can now dream again.
"I am 27 now and still have time on my side, not a lot, but I still have some time. With the energy behind this team, I think I can lift myself right back to the top.
"My plan is really to cement myself in this team, but the main objective is to get back a national call. Coach (Jerome Waite) has been working with me, and I see things shaping up," the attacking midfielder offered.