CHARLIE Wyke admitted scoring on his second Hartlepool United return was “unbelievable” – even if it was one of the scrappiest goals he has ever scored.
The 21-year-old striker only signed from parent club Middlesbrough on Thursday but was thrown straight into face Wimbledon after Luke James went AWOL.
It was ironic that his first game back for Pools, where he enjoyed a long spell two years ago, was against the Dons who he played for on loan last term.
Wyke – who looks physically stronger – started well too, chancing his arm with a shot in the opening minute followed by a header later in the first half.
But his moment of glory came in the 46th minute – just 60 seconds after the re-start when he headed home from inside the six-yard box to level the score.
Strike partner Marlon Harewood then bagged the second in the 68th minute to send the 170 travelling Pools fans into raptures.
Afterwards Wyke said it was a dream return.
“My goal was one of the scrappiest I have scored,” admitted Wyke.
“But I will take a goal against any team and it was an unbelievable start for me.
“I was really keen to start with a goal so to do that was perfect and I am looking to kick-on from now.
“The ball bounced up nicely and I got there first, I guess it was a bit of anticipation from me but it seemed like it was in the air for ages.
“It was a bit of a muted celebration from me.
“I enjoyed my time at Wimbledon and everybody treated me really well so in respect to them I wanted to keep my celebrations to a minimum.”
Wyke’s goal levelled the scores but it was his strike partner, former Premier League forward Harewood who secured the three points.
The young Boro forward was full of praise for Harewood afterwards and he is looking forward to working alongside him.
“As soon as I scored, Marlon said ‘It’s my turn now’,” revealed Wyke.
“He was excellent, especially when I went off and it was great to see him score.
“Marlon is a good player – he is big player, strong, has pace and everything you want from a striker.
“I am enjoying working alongside him and he is going to help me with all of his experience.
“I just feel as though I am in a win-win situation.
“Everyone knows we have had a bad start but we are a good team and hopefully we can kick-on from here.
“We were under a lot of pressure in the second half and [Adebayo] Akinfenwa was winning a lot of headers at the back.
“But Matty [Bates] and Sam [Collins] were unbelievable at the back – as was Scott Flinders who came up with a fantastic double save.
“It wasn’t a perfect performance, we all know that but if we can perform even better then we know we are going to get the results we need.”
– RICHARD MENNEAR