JACK Baldwin was today reflecting on a bittersweet first-ever senior goal – not least because of the boot in the face he took in scoring it.
The 19-year-old put his head on the line in forcing home from close range to make it 1-1 against Bournemouth at Victoria Park last night.
Having nudged the ball into the back of the net he soon felt the full force of a defender’s foot, leaving him stricken in the goalmouth.
But it was the subsequent defeat which left a bad taste for Baldwin as Pools conceded a penalty – their sixth on the spin at home – soon after and Lewis Grabban scored the decisive goal.
“It was great to get that first goal but it would have been better had we got something out of the game,” Baldwin told SportMail.
“The goal means a lot to me but without the win or a draw it’s not as important as it should be.”
And, of his brave effort, he reflected: “It came back off the bar and I was in the right place at the right time.
“I put my head in where it hurts just to get it over the line and I got a right whack in the nose - it’s still sore now.
“I wish I could have got up and celebrated but it was so painful.
“I think I had Peter Hartley jump on me and that squashed my face into the floor – which wasn’t what I needed.
“So it was mixed emotions because I was in pain but all of the fans started singing and it felt pretty good.”
The goal should have set up Pools for a grandstand push towards a first home win in nearly five months.
That wasn’t to be, although Baldwin felt the second-half performance was much improved.
“We didn’t really get near them at times in the first half,” he said.
“Our second-half gameplan was to match them up in the midfield and try to push on the full-backs and that worked better for us.
“They kept the ball but didn’t really penetrate us.
“Our own passing could have been better at times and I hold my own hands up to that.
“But the gaffer has come and wants us to try to play the game the right way and we’ve got to work towards that.”