Michael Woods is claiming Hartlepool United’s winner at York City – and insists no-one is going to take it from him.
Whether his 81st-minute shot at Bootham Crescent would have got anywhere the net but for a helping deflection from home defender Dave Winfield is very much open to question.
But Woods is not concerned. Far from it.
“The lads have given me a bit of stick, but I’m claiming it,” said the midfielder, from Pocklington, just outside York. “I wrongfooted the keeper at the end. It was my goal, no doubt.
“It was extra special personally after what I’ve been through.”
Woods was seconds away from being substituted, with Brad Walker ready to come on for his first appearance of the season after recovering from a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula.
Tired after three games in eight days following his return from injury, the 25-year-old summoned one last gasp of energy to gallop forward to support the attack.
When Rakish Bingham received the ball, Woods was the proverbial mile back.
The striker showed intelligence to hold play up nicely to wait for reinforcements and when he squared it, Woods was there and while his shot was not cleanly-struck it proved good enough.
“I’ve been told to get in the box,” he explained.
“I got there from our box for the goal. It’s something we do.
“The shape we worked on in pre-season, 3-5-2, the gaffer and Sam said a lot of our play might come through the middle with us having no natural widemen.
“That’s good for me – I like to get forward and hopefully I will contribute a few goals this year.”
Pools’ victory made it two wins out of two in League Two, to go along with the Capital One Cup victory at Fleetwood, going into tomorrow’s home clash with Terry Butcher’s Newport County.
Assistant boss Sam Collins hopes manager Ronnie Moore will be back tomorrow night.
Moore flew out to Spain last week to be with daughter, Charlotte, who was taken ill on a family holiday.
The eight-year-old is getting better and the Moores are now just waiting on a flight home, giving hope that Ronnie will be back in the technical area against Newport.
“We hope Ronnie is back,” explained Collins. “We’ve spoken a lot and Charlotte is feeling much better. She is tired and sleeping a lot but that is helping her recovery.
“We’ve just carried on and done things as we normally do.
“Even though he’s been away, we speak all the time.
“There’s been nothing to change here, it’s just been about making sure things run smoothly and the players know what is expected.”
Moore will regain control of a side who are one of just five League Two sides with a 100 per cent record.
Confidence is bubbling, especially give the way they fought back to win 2-1 at York.
Roared on by 1,834 fans in the away end, goals in the last 19 minutes by skipper Billy Paynter – his third in three games – and Woods made it two wins out of two.
Such a start, in the aftermath of last season’s great escape, has raised expectations and Collins has no complaints about that. “That comes with the territory if you keep winning games,” said the 36-year-old.
“People will expect it the way we have started.
“We knew we would have a good following again and to go there and bring such a good following is a great feeling.
“We’ve not won here in 27 years so it is good for them.
“That’s the reward for them for sticking with us.”
York City: Flinders, Lowe, Winfield, Zubar, McCoy, Summerfield, Penn, Berrett, Tutonda, Oliver, Thompson (Hyde 76). Subs not used: McCombe, Nolan, Carson, Straker, Ingham, Godfrey. Booked: Berrett. Goals: Thompson 57.
Hartlepool: Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley (Bates 9), Carroll, Magnay, Woods (Walker 84), Featherstone, Fenwick (Oates 62), Paynter, Bingham. Subs not used: Oyenuga, Jones, Smith, Denton. Booked: Bates, Carroll, Woods. Goals: Paynter 71, Woods 81.
Att: 4,890. Ref: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).