Barnsley: Fletcher’s delight at dream debut

On loan Ashley Fletcher celebrates his debut goal for Barnsley
On loan Ashley Fletcher celebrates his debut goal for Barnsley
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Barnsley new boy Ashley Fletcher could not contain his delight after a dream debut at Oakwell.

The Keighley-born loanee bagged his first professional goal on Saturday to bring the Reds level in the first leg of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area final clash with Fleetwood.

And with his family and friends watching on, Fletcher admitted his joy at being able to celebrate with them.

“I’m ecstatic,” beamed the Manchester United academy star. “It’s what I’ve been working my whole life for scoring a professional goal, so I’m buzzing.

“Everyone was here, my mum, dad, brother, girlfriend. They were all here so just seeing their faces at the end of the game was good for me.

“A couple of lads from Man United have texted me. It’s unbelievable, I’m on cloud nine.”

Fletcher headed home his equaliser just six minutes after coming off the bench midway through the second half.

It was a goal that drew the Reds deservedly level, and one that had been worked at on the training ground despite the 20-year-old only joining on Thursday.

“It’s what we’ve been practicing the last couple of days,” he added.

“I know the quality that Adam Hammill has, so the gaffer said ‘when he cuts back on his right you go for the back post’ and that’s what I did.

“I saw the ball go over the line and I was off celebrating.

“I thought overall we played well. In the second half we dominated the game although they had a couple of chances, so just to get the goal and get us back in the tie was good.

“The lads have been great since I’ve come. I feel at home here and hopefully I’ve staked a claim for the game on Saturday against Shrewsbury.”

Fletcher’s current loan deal will see him stay at Oakwell for the next month.

But having had his first taste of first-team football, and with the lure of a potential trip to Wembley later in the season, the powerful striker can’t help but have one eye on a slightly longer stay.

He said: “We’ll be looking forward to the tie at Fleetwood and hopefully we can get to Wembley.

“I think any footballer dreams of playing at Wembley so I’m not going to say that’s going to determine how long I stay.

“But hopefully it is what I’m here to do, I’m here to help the team improve and get to Wembley.”