CALLUM O’Dowda hailed one of the best moments of his career after coming off the bench to score a hugely important late goal in Oxford United’s stunning comeback to win 4-2 at Notts County.
The U’s had played superbly at Meadow Lane, but with 15 minutes remaining found themselves 2-1 down.
O’Dowda, on as a substitute, took the corner from which Alex MacDonald equalised, but heading into the 90th minute the scores were level.
The 20-year-old came up trumps, though, when he picked out the top corner from 20 yards, before Kemar Roofe added a fourth 60 seconds later.
- Josh Ruffels signs new contract at Oxford United
- Oxford United upbeat about Rob Hall's hamstring injury
- 'We were not ruthless enough', says Oxford United boss Michael Appleton, 'but it's difficult to say that after a 4-0 win'
- Clean sheet is just like a hat-trick for Oxford United's defenders, says Joe Skarz
- Hat-trick hero Conor McAleny takes centre stage as Oxford United close in on play-off places
O’Dowda said: “I probably showed what it meant it in my celebration.
“I should have really gone over there (to the away fans), but it was a massive goal for me, I was so overwhelmed by it.
“When you’re on the bench you’re eager to get on and make an impact.
“Their goals came out of nothing so it was more frustration with how they went ahead.
“To get the goal and then Roofey scoring, it’s up there with one of the best feelings of my career.”
Although he ended up running away from the 1,350-strong travelling contingent after his goal, O’Dowda loved celebrating in front of them after the final whistle.
He said: “That was an unbelievable feeling, it’s what football is all about.
“I’ve been at this club for ages and I was a part of that (in the stands) in the past.
"It’s just the best feeling ever.”
- Watch Callum O'Dowda's goal in the match highlights, via Oxford United's official Youtube channel
The impact was made all the sweeter for the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international by the fact he had missed a similar chance in the previous game.
O’Dowda blazed a shot over in the goalless draw at Yeovil Town, so it was a timely moment to make amends.
He said: “The Yeovil one when you look at the footage you think ‘I should’ve taken a touch there’.
“I was just delighted I made up for it, to be honest."
“Roy Carroll came out for the first one and when it got played across my first thought was to go in the opposite corner.
“There were a few people on the line so I was happy to see it go over their heads.”
He added: “It was similar circumstances to the Yeovil game.
“(Converting chances) is something we need to work on and if we can add more of that to our game we’ll be unstoppable this season.”