Left-footer Will Hayhurst will probably never hit a sweeter strike with his right foot than the one he produced to score his first-ever goal for Preston North End in professional football.
The Longridge lad, who turned 19 yesterday, blasted an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net past Wes Fotheringham on Saturday to help North End earn a point in a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Swindon Town at the County Ground.
The goal was all the sweeter for Hayhurst as it was witnessed by his proud mum and dad, who had travelled south to watch the game, and came at the end of the ground where all the Preston fans were gathered.
It sent them into delirium and they were quick to salute the local lad by singing, ‘He’s one of our own’.
Afterwards Hayhurst said it was a dream come true to score a goal wearing the colours of the team he supported as a boy.
“It means everything to me,” Hayhurst said.
“Since coming to watch Preston as a young boy to now playing in the first team – it’s a dream come true. I am absolutely delighted.
“It was a great feeling when I made my debut for the club and all I’ve wanted to do is score goals for the team.
“It’s about time I got one. I’ve been waiting a while for one to come.
“Jacky King won the header – he did one like that last week against Bournemouth but I didn’t get there.
“This time I judged the flight of the ball, chested it inside and hit it with my right foot.
“It was a great strike and obviously on my right foot as well – so really pleased with it.
“Now the first goal has come, I’m hoping I can build on it and keep scoring for the club.
“My mum and dad came down in the car to watch and it’s nice to think that I’ve done them proud.
“It was good that it was at the end where our fans were.
“I want to get one in front of them at Deepdale now.”
Hayhurst had appeared several times under previous boss Graham Westley, but had not figured too much in the first team in recent weeks.
He was brought back into the side by John Dreyer for the match against the Cherries last weekend and Hayhurst said he is looking to earn an extended run in the side now Simon Grayson has been installed as North End’s new manager.
He said: “I think I needed to come out of the side – I needed a rest. I needed to learn how to keep the ball better and I have a lot to learn but I will learn these things as I get older.
“Obviously, I was given a chance last week by John.
“He gave me a chance against Bournemouth and I like to think I proved him right and we got a great result last week.
“The new gaffer gave me a chance on Saturday and he just told me to be confident.
“He told me not to worry if I gave the ball away, just go again, and I think I did that.”
Hayhurst was slightly disappointed that his goal was not enough to earn all three points, especially as Swindon’s goal came from a defensive mistake.
He said: “We have defended brilliantly and worked well as a team. We are a little bit disappointed to concede the goal, but Swindon is a tough place to come.”