Teenager aims to build on his match-winner

Luke James scores the winning goal against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID
Luke James scores the winning goal against Leyton Orient. Picture by FRANK REID

Super-sub Luke James scored Hartlepool United’s late winner on Saturday and admitted it was the best feeling ever.

And he is desperate to turn his ‘nightmare’ season into a dream ending, even if it means making his impact from the bench.

The 18-year-old was the last-gasp hero at the weekend after his 94th-minute strike sealed a 2-1 victory over Leyton Orient in npower League One.

James, from Amble, had been on the pitch for less than a quarter-of-an-hour but played his part in winning the corner which led to Peter Hartley’s late equaliser before stealing the headlines in stoppage-time.

He is yet to start a game under manager John Hughes and the Scot insists he will ‘protect’ the injury-plagued academy graduate between now and the end of the campaign.

And James is willing to bow to his boss’s better judgement when it comes to his appearance.

He said: “If I get 10-to-20 minutes to come on and try to make an impact then I’m happy with that.

“I’ve had injuries and it’s been a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I had a hernia, got over that, and then had tonsillitis.

“Touch wood, I’m over my injuries now and they are in the past. I’ve set my targets for the rest of the season and they are to get on the pitch, get my game time and then score some goals.”

His weekend heroics helped Pools climb off the bottom of the table for the first time in nearly four months.

“I’m was delighted to play my part on Saturday – it could be an important goal and hopefully there are a few more like it to come,” he said.