James Gale says he is ‘over the moon’ after netting Mansfield’s match-winning goal in Stags’ crucial 2-1 away victory over Newport County.
The 21-year-old forward came off the bench before rifling home a venomous right-footed strike on 73 minutes.
The Stags had taken a first-half lead through Hiram Boateng’s third goal in four game on 24 minutes. Aaron Wilding converted an 86th minute consolation goal for the hosts, but Nigel Clough’s men defended their one-goal lead resolutely.
Gale’s notch secured all three points for Mansfield in south Wales, and the 21-year-old was delighted when speaking to iFollow Stags post-match.
“[I’m] over the moon [and] really pleased,” he said. “I need to watch it back. It’s something I’m very proud of.
“[I] just want to keep getting more [goals] and [to] help the team out where I can.”
On his feeling immediately after netting Stags’ winner, Gale said: “It was just shock. I didn’t know what to do. The lads composed me and got me started again.
“[Manager Nigel Clough] said ‘well done’. The lads have applauded me at the end and made me feel really good about it.”
The Mansfield number-21 made an instant impact from the substitutes’ bench, having netted just five minutes after replacing Jordan Bowery.
Gale said: “Bowery came off and I stepped up and came on. Hiram [Boateng] played the ball out wide. I ran at my guy, got past him, cut inside and stuck it in the corner.
“I think it was just the sprinting to get ahead of the man [that made the opportunity]. I felt like after that, I was flying. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence to keep working hard and keep running.
“I backed out [of taking the shot on my left foot] at the last minute, seeing that he [the defender] was going to block it. So, I quickly shuffled it to my right and put it into the corner.”
The former Long Eaton United striker was heartened by the Stags’ performance in a tough fixture at a crucial stage of the season.
“I thought we were in control for a lot of it [the game],” he said.
“The last 10 or 15 minutes we were on the back foot a bit but it’s an away game. We just worked hard and stuck on it to get it over the line.
“They’ve got a very good home support. It’s quite pressuring when you come on. But we delivered and got the three points.
“It was well deserved. The lads have worked really hard today. We just gave it our all and left everything on the pitch.
“The next four games we’re just going to keep it going and keep rolling. [I] just [want] to be available as much as I can [and] to work hard. If I’m called upon I’ll be ready for the opportunity.”