Every footballer cherishes the day they get their first professional goal, and things were no different for on-loan Hammer Joe Powell as he bagged his maiden senior strike.
The midfielder, currently at Northampton Town in EFL League Two on a temporary basis, scored the opener in the Cobblers’ 2-1 victory at Stevenage Town on 23 February.
Striking low under the hosts’ goalkeeper from inside the box inside 20 minutes at the Lamex Stadium, Powell’s goal looked to have given Northampton the win until, ten minutes from the end, the hosts equalised.
But one minute into injury time, Town grabbed a winner through Andy Williams and Powell was delighted his goal helped the side earn all three points.
I’ve obviously scored plenty of goals in youth football for West Ham, but to get my first one in senior football is special so I’ll always remember it, definitely
Reflecting on what was a day to remember, the 20-year-old said: “It was an unbelievable feeling for me. I’ve definitely been thinking about that moment for ages.
“I was happy to put us in the lead and then, more importantly, in the end it helped us to a massive three points so that was a big bonus to take home.
“When running on to the ball I always knew I needed to take a touch to compose myself. Then the finish was just instinct – I was delighted to see it hit the back of the net.
“I’ve obviously scored plenty of goals in youth football for West Ham, but to get my first one in senior football is special so I’ll always remember it, definitely.”
Powell has embraced life in League Two, starting four matches so far in which his team are yet to lose.
He continued: “I have really enjoyed the challenges that come with playing in League Two and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience that I am gaining here at Northampton.
“I’m learning a lot. When you step up to this level, you learn a lot about the roles and responsibilities of playing week after week.
“League football is physically demanding and demanding in other aspects too; mentally and in other areas. Sometimes it’s about knowing you have the technical ability but knowing you have to show and prove that.
“You have to give everything and be willing to do that in every game.”
Not only is Powell facing new challenges every day on the training pitch and in competitive matches, but the youngster is out of his comfort zone in other ways, too.
Away from east London, where he has grown up and lived for all his life, the midfielder is living in Northampton for the duration of his loan, and that brings new tests as well.
“I’m staying up here and as and when I can, I do come home. It’s tough because that’s new for me. I don’t know the area or anybody living here.
“But of course, when you agree to a loan which is good for your development as a player, you accept these things and see them as positive challenges rather than negative.
“I accepted that and was willing for the very beginning and I’m enjoying the experience as a whole. Hopefully now I can kick on and maybe a second goal will come before the end of the season!”