Crawley defender Joe McNerney reflected on a bittersweet moment as he scored his first-ever Football League goal.
The former non-league player joined Reds from Conference National side Woking at the start of the season.
The 26-year-old’s first-ever league season has been plagued by a knee injury which was kept him out for five months and limited him to just seven appearances.
Although he was pleased to get off the mark, the fact his goal it came in Saturday’s 5-1 hammering at home to Oxford United took some of the gloss off the achievement.
McNerney said: “It’s tainted really. It was a dream start for us and obviously a great moment for me, but it pales into insignificance with the result.
“It just fell to me and that’s the dream one. You can’t miss it, or you hope you don’t, but it was ideal for me.
“It was a proper scramble, but nice and easy and I am delighted to get my first one.
“We are very disappointed with that second-half performance. We had a great start and were doing everything right, bar one or two chances.
“They got the goal just at the right time before half-time, but there are no real excuses for the second half.
“I think they have got some good players and I think perhaps some of the goals they scored in the second half were down to good play as well as bad defending. They have had a good season and are up there for a reason, but there are no excuses for our performance.
“We did create a few chances, but it didn’t seem to quite fall for us and they defended well and we did the opposite.”
The centre-back is also relieved that he has another year to run on his contract due to his injury this year.
He added: “It’s been a long time, it’s been a frustrating time for me. It took a little while to work out what it was and when I had the operation it took a little while to get back, but I am just delighted to be running about and playing football again.
“I have said before, they do come in football, it’s part of the game and you have to deal with it in the right way.
“I have been fighting away and am pleased to be back.
“Signing two years was a big part of me coming here, looking back it on it now it’s been great for me, because one year would have been disasastrous with the injury I have had.”
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