Luke James says Pools boss John Hughes forecast his late winner against Orient

Goal scorers Luke James and Peter Hartley at the end of the game against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID
Goal scorers Luke James and Peter Hartley at the end of the game against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID
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SUPERSUB Luke James has revealed that John Hughes forecast his dramatic winner against Leyton Orient.

The 18-year-old was thrown into the action with 10 minutes remaining with Pools trailing 1-0.

Hughes had told him he’d get chances by gambling on the knock-downs of Steve Howard.

And, with Peter Hartley having moments earlier headed an equaliser, James stole a last-gasp winner when firing home from 12 yards, Howard, as predicted by Hughes, the supplier.

“Before I went on the gaffer basically told me to play off Stevie,” James told SportMail.

“A couple of times it worked but my first touch let me down.

“But for the goal everything went for me.

“Evan (Horwood) put a good ball in for Stevie and it was set up for me, it took a slight deflection but it’s mine.

“I hit it well and thought it was going through the keeper’s legs, but there was a defender in the way and it’s clipped off him.

“But, to be honest, you don’t see much of the goal, you just feel it hitting the back of the net.

“It’s a whirlwind and your mind goes blank for a second.

“But it doesn’t matter if it’s a scrappy goal or a 35-yarder, the feeling is brilliant.

“To score so late makes it special.

“We all got stuck in, got the reward and everyone was buzzing.”

James and his fellow substitutes – Howard and Andy Monkhouse – proved instrumental in swinging the contest in Pools’ favour.

And the teenage striker says he always believed his side would salvage something from the game.

“The way we have been playing, even at 1-0 down, I always felt we could come at it,” he went on.

“Pete scoring a bullet header set us right up for one last push.

“We made changes to get back into the game and we went to 4-4-2 in the second-half.

“We have players to come on and change a game and thankfully it worked out that way.”