Preston North End winger Danny Mayor didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after his match-winning cameo appearance against Tranmere.
The 20-year-old netted within seven minutes of coming on as a substitute in the 2-1 victory in front of a bumper 17,281 crowd at Deepdale.
But he was himself substituted shortly afterwards when Paul Parry was sent off, Mayor sacrificed in order to get David Gray into the defence.
His first ever league goal came against Tranmere – a side he played three games for during a loan spell in 2009.
Mayor told the Evening Post: “My substitution was a tactical one after Paul got sent off. The gaffer had to take someone off and unfortunately it was me.
“It was a surprise, to be honest I looked down at the number on my shorts when the board went up just to check. I wasn’t happy, but straight away the gaffer explained why and I sort of understood.
“It was great to score, that was my first at Deepdale and it came in front of a big crowd which was good.
“One of my mates ran on the pitch when I scored – the last I saw of him was getting taken out of the ground!
“He’s in the army and is just back for a couple of weeks – he’s not a Preston supporter but I think he got caught up in it all.
“I was pleased with the finish, it was always my intention to aim for where it went – open up my body and bring it back into that corner.
“That said, I was glad when the goalkeeper went down because I could have looked a bit silly had he stayed on his feet and put his cap on it.
“Adding goals to my game is something I need to do. To go all of last season without scoring was poor for a winger, I thought.
“Now I’ve got this one to add to my goal at Charlton in the Carling Cup the other week.”
Graham Alexander had given Preston a 36th-minute lead from the penalty spot, before Jose Baxter equalised for Rovers after an hour.
North End boss Phil Brown had some sympathy for Mayor, but said he had to put the interests of the team first. Brown said: “Danny will still have got the benefit from this.
“He’s got a little bit of a winning mentality now and we are demanding he shows more of that.
“When I first came to the club, Danny and Conor McLaughlin were in the team, and that right-hand side looked quite boxed off – they both looked exciting.
“Conor then got that horrendous injury and Danny also suffered because of it.
“So Danny has been out of the team and only a bit-part player.
“It’s now up to him to grab the shirt and put pressure on me to change the system because he’s a winger.”