Match winner Jayden Stockley described his best moment in football so far with a beaming smile on his face to iFollowPNE.
The towering forward spoke to the club’s media channel after grabbing the winner ten minutes from time to give North End a first ever win at the Riverside Stadium.
“It took me 20 minutes from when I first was told I was coming on!” said Jayden as his introduction to the fray was initially delayed. “There’s been a few times this season where I’ve came on and maybe helped out at the back like last week, but I’m desperate to score goals and prove to people I can score goals at this level and contribute to the team. As a footballer you’re desperate to be part of it.
“It was the best feeling I’ve ever had on a football pitch and right in front of our fans, it was magical.
“The boys were equally as chuffed! I didn’t know what to do there was part of me that wanted to get right in amongst the fans so I just gave it a knee slide. You lose yourself for a few minutes and that’s what football is all about. I’m on cloud nine and it’s such a great feeling to keep this run alive, anything is possible at the moment.”
Jayden’s self labelled career highlight ensures North End are in touching distance of the Play-Offs, but acknowledged that three points wasn’t always on the cards tonight.
“It was a difficult start for us but credit to the boys for digging in” continued Stockley after the final whistle. “It’s such a cliche thing to say but when things aren’t going that well, we’ve got that much of a close knit squad here we stick together and get through the hard times and difficult parts of a game and stay in the game.
“They had a couple of chances and Dec made a couple of brilliant saves in the first half to keep us in the game. It was difficult to get our creative players on the ball and they were the better team in that first half. When you’re playing against the bigger teams away from home you’ve got to stay in the game and thankfully thanks to Gally’s right foot, we did. It was a fantastic feeling seeing that one going in.”
The catalyst for the memorable win came straight after Daniel Ayala’s sending off with Gallagher putting the resulting free kick into the net, and Stockley reiterated the equaliser was an important part of the game.
“You see so many examples of players going down to ten men and then rallying round but Gally’s goal was almost a double whammy for them which gave us a real boost - but credit to the gaffer he made an attacking change by bringing me on and we could sense there was three points up for grabs straight away. We were always in control once we went ahead, and it was a magical feeling those last ten minutes.
“They always say there’s a team that goes on that run and we’ve started that run early and we want to be the form team come the end of the season, to push on and get into them Play-Offs.
"The gaffer said early doors that the Play-Offs are the target and it’s something we’ve been striving for these last few months and it’s a pleasure to play for this team at the moment and I’m ecstatic to contribute to this team.”