Striker Isaac Vassell’s long, long wait to celebrate a first goal in professional football was finally ended during Luton’s 2-0 win at Morecambe yesterday afternoon.
The 23-year-old came through the ranks at Plymouth Argyle, making his debut in the 1-1 League Two draw with Shrewsbury in August 2011.
I think it was the other week that I said I’ll take any goal and it feels like it came at the right time.Isaac Vassell
A further nine appearances for the Pilgrims followed, in which Vassell failed to find the net, eventually released and joining non-league Truro City.
Vassell caught the eye of chief recruitment officer Mick Harford during his time in Cornwall, as he was brought in by Luton in the summer, but hadn’t scored in his 16 appearances for the Hatters, albeit only starting once in the league at Crawley.
However, he was named in the team at Morecambe yesterday after impressing against Accrington last week and his big moment came on the hour mark, nodding in from just a yard out after home keeper Barry Roche failed to hold James Justin’s shot.
Speaking afterwards, Vassell said: “I’m delighted to get my first goal for the club and hopefully there’ll be more to come.
“I think it was the other week that I said I’ll take any goal and it feels like it came at the right time.
“I know Cam was sniffing around just behind me, I think he almost pushed me in the goal, but I got it.
“He fired it at the keeper and it was too hot to handle. As you’ve seen, he pushed it on to the crossbar and it was just a tap-in from there.
“I didn’t really think about it all that much, I just reacted to the ball. I couldn’t quite believe that it bounced off the crossbar, it looked like it was going over the crossbar but it came this side and I just nodded it in.
“I couldn’t actually get up, to be fair. I wanted to do a little celebration but I was pinned in the goal.
“I think they were all delighted for me and happy as well.”
Strike partner Danny Hylton, who was also on target, planting a wonderful shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards, said of Vassell’s debut goal: “They’re the best ones. It’s nice to score a shot from outside the area, but it doesn’t mean any more than a one-yard tap-in.
“Sometimes they’re the better ones. It’s striker’s instinct to react to the goalie’s save and he got his reward with a tap-in.”
Meanwhile, Hatters boss Nathan Jones, who brought Vassell into the team ahead of Jack Marriott, added: “His performance merited something today and I’m glad he’s got off the mark because it will give him a little lift, but he was excellent.
“He’s a bit of an animal up there, as we’ve said with his pace, his power, how he leads the line.
“I’m delighted for him because he’s been patient. He came in and made an initial impact, a real impact and then he plateaued, which we knew he would because it catches up with him a little bit, and then he’s come again.
“We saw something in him. Mick Harford flagged him up. It’s a credit to Mick but now the kid has got to keep going because who knows where he can end up?
“With the tools he has, who knows where he can end up?”