LUKE James said it was no surprise to see Marlon Harewood finish with such aplomb for his first Hartlepool United goal – because he does it every day on the training ground.
But the 19-year-old Pools top scorer admits it will still be a huge weight off the shoulders of Harewood, who scored the third in last weekend’s victory over Torquay United at Victoria Park.
Harewood, a former Nottingham Forest and West Ham United striker, was making his ninth appearance and ran half the length of the pitch before finishing between the legs of Gulls keeper Mike Poke.
Relief and passion oozed out of the 34-year-old once the ball hit the back of the net.
And his strike-partner James, who scored his 14th goal of the season in the same match, said the feeling of netting your first after a barren spell is an “incredible” one.
Amble-born James said: “When he celebrated you could see it was a big weight off his shoulders.
“I know what it is like to go a few games without scoring – to get your first one is an incredible feeling.
“He’s a very good finisher, he can hit the ball so sweetly and can rocket it into the corners, I’d hate to be a keeper.
“They say the first goal is always the hardest.
“I think he’ll push on from here and get a few.”
Harewood, with 122 league goals to his name, joined Pools in the January transfer window and his work rate and endeavour since then was rewarded with his first goal for the club against Torquay.
James said the victory, which came seven days after the disappointing 2-0 away defeat to Northampton Town, was the “perfect reaction” and said he doesn’t mind who is scoring as long as the team goes on to win.
But he hopes Harewood’s first for the club kicks him on for the rest of the Sky Bet League Two campaign, starting with the double header of away games against Wycombe Wanderers this Saturday and Accrington Stanley on Tuesday.
“Torquay was the perfect reaction, the three points and the clean sheet,” said James.
“Hopefully it will roll onto Wycombe Wanderers.
“It would be great but, for me, it’s not about who scores it is as long as the team scores and we are winning games.
“We want to finish as high up in the league as we can and if someone’s scoring a few that’s good for the team.
“If Marlon goes on a good run that will be brilliant.”