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The Oxford United goals that meant so much to James Constable

I fire home Oxford’s second goal at Wembley as we beat York to win promotion back into the Football League

I fire home Oxford’s second goal at Wembley as we beat York to win promotion back into the Football League

First published in U's News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

WHITTLING the list down to a top five proved a difficult task for James Constable.

After all, what makes a goal special? Is a tap-in to win a big game better than a thumping volley which is just a mere consolation?

Memorable efforts against Luton Town and Crawley Town, both of which came after missed penalties, were close to making the list, as was the spectacular strike against Torquay United last August.

Instead, he opted to begin with a goal which isn’t on the list at all.

Goal 1 v Oxford City (pre-season friendly) Marsh Lane, August, 2008

“It was probably one of the most nervous times I have had leading into any game.

It was my first game and I was desperate to try and show what I was capable of doing.

I put a lot of pressure on myself and I had literally only signed that day. I managed to get a goal and it gave me that confidence to think I could hopefully have a long time here.

The ball came across and I just managed to get my right foot on it. It was bending away and got out of reach of the keeper.

The second it went in the pressure was off.”

And here are the top four of his 106-goal tally for the U’s.

Goal 2 v York City (Blue Square Premier play-off final) Wembley, May 16, 2010

“I had been at Wembley before with Kidderminster in the FA Trophy final three years earlier. We lost 3-2 against Stevenage, having been 2-0 up at half-time.

I scored two, but I’d had that feeling at the final whistle where the bottom of your world has fallen out.

With Oxford, we started well and Matt Green scored one of the best goals I’ve seen him get.

For my strike, Greeny flicked it on and I ran onto it. The goal looked tiny and I wanted to get a really good first touch, which took me on to my left.

I remember thinking ‘this isn’t ideal’ because I’d have rather had it on my right.

I could see a couple of defenders coming, so I had to hit it.

I managed to keep it low and I knew it was a clean strike. I just remember it going under the keeper and rolling up the back of the net.

I think I’ll struggle to relive that rush of emotion. That made it 2-0 and I thought to myself there was no way they were going to come back and score three.

I didn’t have a voice by the end of the game and I was on the verge of bursting into tears.”

Goal 3 v Swindon Town (League Two) County Ground, August 21, 2011

“Having grown up in and around that area I knew about the rivalry between the teams.

There was all the stuff leading up to it about the fact I was a Swindon fan, even though I’d been supporting Tottenham for years.

It all built towards the game and gave us that little bit of added incentive.

There was so much flying around, but we went there full of confidence, although we knew it was going to be a difficult game.

All I remember was it being absolutely boiling. It felt like 100 degrees out there and with all the noise it drained your energy.

I don’t think I can really claim the second one as a great goal, but I’ve picked the first one from the corner.

Levs (Peter Leven) put a great ball in, we had worked on spinning and getting to the near post it worked an absolute treat, I managed to block my marker and get a free header six yards out.

Oxford Mail:

  • Celebrating scoring in the derby in front of the away end

We rode our luck at times in the second half and just managed to get over the line.

We came off the pitch and everyone was sat in the changing room with absolutely nothing left.

The whole day was draining, it was an amazing experience with the fans turning up in massive numbers.

It almost felt like we had won something.

There was so much build-up that it felt like a cup final. It felt like more than three points.”

Goal 4 v Rochdale (League Two) Kassam Stadium, August 31, 2013

“My daughter Amelia was born on the Thursday, so to have my girlfriend Laura there with my daughter was special.

It had been a rollercoaster couple of days being a new dad, so to score and for her to be there is something I’ll never forget.

By the time she’s grown up, my career will probably not be where it is now.

It’s a shame, but I’ve got plenty of pictures and DVDs that I’m looking forward to being able to tell her all about it.

Goal 5 v Mansfield Town (League Two) Field Mill, November 16, 2013

“I was on the bench that day but Deano (Deane Smalley) went off injured.

I hadn’t touched the ball when Kits (Dave Kitson) played it to Ryan (Williams) and he did brilliantly to get to the byline and cut it back.

I can remember it coming to me almost in slow motion. I knew I was on 99 goals and I thought ‘I’ve just got to get it on target’.

I thought it was bobbling wide, but at the last second it came back, hit the post and went in.

All I could think about were the times at Kidderminster when we’d lost and being at Chippenham, working and being dropped.

It was strange that all I could think about were all the disappointments I’d had that led to this point.

I couldn’t have been happier, we were in a great position in the game and I was just over the moon that I’d finally got the 100th goal.”

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