MICHAEL Woods’ debut goal felt all the more sweeter after a “frustrating” start to his Hartlepool United career.
The former Leeds and Chelsea youth player scored the opening goal for Pools at Exeter on Saturday with a sublime volley from close range in the 49th minute.
Both feet were off the floor when he struck the shot from 10-yards out to put Sam Collins’ Pools side on the road to a 2-1 victory.
It was only his fourth start of the season but he has grabbed his chance with both hands since Collins took over as temporary boss.
The 24-year-old said: “It has been frustrating for me because everybody wants to play.
“But there is a great dressing room here and the lads are fully behind each other.
“We haven’t got the results we wanted recently but the lads are honest and hardworking and whoever comes into the team has to try and keep their shirt.
“Once you have the chance, it is then down to you.
“It has been difficult coming on for 20 to 25 minutes here and there but after being given a start, it was then down to me.”
Well, Woods looks certain to be enjoying an extended run in the side if his performance on Saturday was anything to go by.
Always on the attack, Woods was a constant thorn and could have added to his goal tally in the final few minutes but he was denied by a smart save by Christy Pym.
Instead he had to settle for just the one goal. Mind, it was some strike.
Michael Duckworth was released by Lewis Hawkins down the right-hand channel before the right-back produced a pin-point deep cross to Woods who volleyed the ball back across goal and into the net.
A fantastic finish.
Reflecting on the goal, a delighted Woods said: “I trust Ducky and knew he would get to the by-line, did I know he would find me? That is another thing!
“Full credit to him though, he gets up and down the pitch all day long and he found me at the back stick.
“The ball was coming across and my eyes lit up.
“I just wanted to put it back across the goal, thankfully it hit the net and hopefully there will be many more to come.
“I wouldn’t say it was spectacular but the lads were giving me stick for having a nose bleed because my feet were off the ground.”
The attacking midfielder put the three points down to the hard work the players had put in on the training ground at their base at Maiden Castle.
York-born Woods added: “The win felt brilliant.
“We had worked hard all week and full credit to the lads and Sam [Collins] because that was a fully deserved three points.
“It was a good performance and we started the game brightly.
“We kept our shape and made it difficult for them all match.”