Hartlepool United winner at York City was my goal says Michael Woods

Michael Woods has a first-half shot against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY
Michael Woods has a first-half shot against York. Picture by CHRIS HORSLEY

Michael Woods is claiming Hartlepool United’s winner – and insists no one is going to take it from him.

Whether his 81st-minute shot at Bootham Crescent would have got anywhere near the net but for a helping deflection from defender Dave Winfield is very much open to question.

But Woods, playing at his home club, is not concerned. Far from it. It’s his goal.

“The lads have given me a bit of stick, but I’m claiming it,” said the midfielder, from Pocklington, just outside York. “I wrongfooted the keeper at the end, it was my goal, no doubt.

“It was extra special personally after what I’ve been through to do it in front of 2,000 tremendous Poolies and family and friends in the away end.”

The fact he got there is remarkable in itself.

Woods was seconds away from being substituted with Brad Walker ready to come on for his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury.

Tired after three games in eight days following his return from injury, the 25-year-old summoned one last gap of energy to gallop forward to support the attack.

When Rakish Bingham received the ball, Woods was the proverbial mile back.

The striker showed intelligence to hold play up nicely to wait for reinforcements and when he squared it, Woods was there and while his shot was not cleanly-struck it proved good enough.

“I’ve been told to get in the box,” he explained.

“I got there from our box for the goal. It’s something we do.

“The shape we worked on in pre-season, 3-5-2, the gaffer and Sam said a lot of our play might come through the middle with us having no natural widemen.

“That’s good for me – I like to get forward and hopefully I will contribute a few goals this year. Just don’t mention [the chance at Fleetwood] – that’s gone now.”

Woods wore a smile the width of Yorkshire as he spoke to the press in the away dug-out at Bootham Crescent.

He comes from Pocklington, just outside York, so this a moment to savour.

“It was a great feeling, personally and from a team perspective,” said the midfielder.

“The first half we had to dig in, something we’ve shown this season – last year we could have been two or three behind.

“On a personal level it has been a tough few months so to come to my local club and nick the winning goal in front of family and friends was something special.”

He was quick to go and celebrate with the club’s head physio Ian ‘Buster’ Gallagher, who worked tirelessly alongside Woods during the summer as he worked his way back to fitness after his dislocated ankle and fractured fibula.

“I owe Buster a lot,” he said. “I can’t put into words what he’s done for me.

“Things like three-hour car journeys to pick up a scan result for me, people don’t see that. Being at hospital with me all hours and I can’t thank him and all the backroom staff enough.

“Even last season when we were fighting they all kept morale and spirit up. They were a massive part in survival last year.

“Buster, for him, this is more than a job – and it’s the same for all the backroom staff, they are all Pools fans.

“Days like this are a reward for them. It all helps spirit and we hope it gives a lift to the gaffer.”