Young O’s striker Sam Dalby admitted it was an ‘amazing feeling’ to score his first senior goal and hopes it is the first of many.
The 17-year-old netted four minutes into his first senior start in the 3-2 win over Crawley Town on Boxing Day as he got on the end of Nigel Atangana’s delivery to spark wild scenes of celebration for both the youngster, his team-mates and the O’s crowd.
It is something the youngster will never forget, telling leytonorient.com: “It was an amazing feeling when the ball went in the back of the net.
“I tried to go and celebrate with Josh Koroma and Sam Sargeant on the bench but ‘P-Mac’ (Paul McCallum) took me down before I was able to get there!”
“As soon as Gavin put the pass into Nigel I saw the defender make the move. I was free in the box and thought this could be the moment and thankfully it was.
Dalby found out the news two days before the game, and admitted to feeling nervous beforehand, though the goal soon settled any worries for the striker who has recently signed a three-year professional contract with the club.
“I found out on Christmas Eve that I was going to be starting as the manager put in the starting shape for the session,” he added.
“I was nervous in the morning of the game, but as soon as I stepped foot on the pitch I felt calmer and tried to play my natural game. The goal certainly helped ease any nerves I did have.
“I have been training with the first team for a number of weeks now and first of all it was tough. but I have already learned a lot, especially with on the physical side of the game.”
The striker was pleased with his first start for the club, and couldn’t quite believe the reception he received when being substituted just short of the hour mark.
“The first half went well but the second was a lot tougher but overall I thought I did okay,” he remarked.
“It was great to play alongside Paul because he is brilliant in the air and it made it easy for me to gamble and try to get in behind and get on the end of his flick ons.
“Andy and Danny just told me to go out there and play without fear, do as best as you can and the fans will get behind you.
“When I was substituted the atmosphere was surreal and I was just thankful for all the fans that came and supported the team.”
It wasn’t just a special day for Dalby, but for all his family who were in attendance at the Matchroom Stadium for the Boxing Day clash.
“My mum and dad, plus my grandparents were in the crowd as well so it was nice to score the first goal in front of them and I know they were really pleased and proud for me,” said Dalby.
“Hopefully it is the first of many goals and I want to keep scoring and playing as well as I can.”