David Connolly made a dream debut for Oxford United by scoring the winner on Saturday, but the striker admitted it almost didn’t happen after being crunched by Tom Newey in his first training session.
The front man came off the bench to inspire a 2-1 victory against AFC Wimbledon, taking his first chance in a yellow shirt by lobbing goalkeeper Ross Worner.
It completed a remarkable turnaround for Connolly, who was limping just 24 hours earlier.
Newey, who scored United’s other goal against Wimbledon, inflicted the damage accidentally in a session just after the ex-Republic of Ireland international had signed on loan from Portsmouth.
He said: “It blew up twice the size and I spent all day icing it.
“It’s black and blue, I got home and couldn’t walk.
“Tom Newey did it. He smashed my leg, it blew up and I thought it was going to explode.
“I got it down in time to manage 45 minutes.”
The goal carried on a happy knack for Connolly, who had also scored on debut for six of his previous ten clubs.
But he was quick to share the credit for the strike to Josh Ruffels, who provided the defence-splitting pass.
He said: “You need that person to supply you to get the goals.
“It was a great through ball from Josh, great weight of pass and you can’t score goals if you don’t have that quality.
“I went in behind and you could just see it as the keeper came out, which made my mind up about what to do.”
The game saw Connollly, 36, play up front with fellow substitute Dave Kitson, 34.
United’s newest player thinks the squad has a good variety of options in attacking areas and is looking forward to contributing for the rest of the season.
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of know-how,” he said.
“You need many things to do well in football and you need a real mix.
“If I’m called upon I’ll do my best.”
- Reaction from David Connolly, caretaker boss Mickey Lewis and Tom Newey