Ex-Chelsea star happy to score first goal since August

Michael Woods
Michael Woods
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Were it not for that Luke James penalty, the most popular goal of the day at Morecambe may well have gone to Michael Woods.

Granted, the Hartlepool United midfielder has not had to wait as long as James to see his name on the scoresheet, but it was still a sweet moment.

The former Chelsea youngster marked his 26th birthday in the week by scoring a well-taken fourth-minute opener after Nathan Thomas’s deflected shot had been superbly saved by Barry Roche.

It was his first goal since being slightly fortunate to be credited with a goal in the 2-1 win at York City back in August.

But for the player, he was happier to be back in the side and playing his part in a thrilling 5-2 victory at the Globe Arena.

“It’s the only true goal of the season!” he smiled.

“York was a bit of a shank but they all count I am told.

“I was hoping to play at Carlisle on Tuesday, but there is competition for places now, so when you do get a chance you have to try to take it.

“It was obviously nice to get a goal but it’s just nice to be part of a winning team.

“We struggled in the early part of the season, but it’s one defeat in eight now and there’s a really good vibe about the place.”

There certainly is a good vibe – and the football is not bad either.

Thomas was in brilliant form again, his first goal of the afternoon made it 2-0 inside six incredible minutes.

He was a whisker away from making it three before the unmarked Alex Kenyon pulled a goal back for the Shrimps.

After a bit of a half-time dressing down by boss Craig Hignett, Pools regained their form with Thomas cutting in from the left and scoring with his right foot in 50 minutes.

After that Pools never looked back, adding two more, through that James spot-kick and Rhys Oates’ late goal.

“There was a 15-20 minute period in the first half when we stepped off a bit, caused our own problems by giving the ball away,” said Woods.

“The gaffer got into us at half-time to be honest – he wasn’t over the moon! He thought there was more to come from us.

“We did, we started the second half as we’d started the first, got the goal and then played some really good stuff.

“We were a threat going forward and nice we got some goals.

“I’ve not scored nearly enough goals, got into a lot of positions, shanked a few that the lads have given me a bit of stick for.

“But the most important thing was we bounced back from Carlisle, so that’s one defeat in eight now, hopefully we’ll kick on and get a run going.”

Woods was not bitter to lose the most popular goal of the day accolade to James.

“Luke grafts and grafts for the team,” he said.

“He’s done a job for the team, played wide right, wide left, but he got his chance through the middle.

“It took him 30 seconds to get the ball from Brad Walker for the penalty!

“Brad did brilliantly to win it in the first place, it was a great run from the middle of the park but it was great Luke got on it in the end.

“I never doubted him and it’s nice his hard work has been rewarded with a goal.

“He more than anyone deserved to score.The lads were so happy for him.”

Woods saved the last word for the fans – a mammoth 727 made up more than a third of the crowd of 2,005 by the Lanacashire coast.

“The supporters have been fantastic all season, following us all over the country,” he said. “They deserved a good day like that.

“Even when we came off after warming up, it felt like a home game.”