Defender Jack Armer opened his professional goal scoring account at Holker Street on Saturday afternoon with a bullet of a header from a whipped Callum Guy corner that ultimately helped United on their way to extending their unbeaten run to four games.
The 19-year-old, who turns 20 at the end of the week, has shown a level of versatility through his first season of regular first-team football having slotted in on the left and right of the defence with some notable performances.
We caught up with him – and yes, he was still smiling – after the game against Barrow to get his thoughts on his goal, and on the season so far.
“With the way we started it was important for us to get something out of the game at Barrow,” he said. “I think after we scored in the first half we sat back a bit, but we came out in the second half and we dominated.
“Omari had a chance at the back post, and we had a few others as well, so we could probably have nicked it, to be honest. Getting a point from a losing position is better than picking up none.
“Our away form hasn’t been the best and we haven’t taken many points from losing positions, so getting back into this one is good for us.”
And, of course, it had all started so well when he popped that header into the net with just three minutes on the clock.
“I was buzzing,” he admitted. “But I didn’t know what to do or where to celebrate, or anything like that. I’ve missed a couple of chances in the last few games, but Callum’s deliveries have been excellent all season.
“It just seemed to open up and I thought to myself that there was no way I could miss. I knew I had to get a clean contact and it went in.
“I could hear the gaffer behind me telling me to come wider, and I started my run from near enough on the corner of the box. I just seemed to be in so much space and it was a free header. It felt like I couldn’t miss.
“For the celebration, I didn’t have a clue. I ran at Callum because he put the ball on the penalty spot for me, and it’s up to us to go and meet it when he does something like that.
“I was just totally buzzing and it’s a massive adrenalin rush. For people who score every week it must be brilliant. I probably should have scored from the chances I’ve had over the past few games but that’s the first one, so hopefully I’ll get a few more before the end of the season.”
With him being given what appears to be a free licence to get forward, there’s a distinct possibility that will be the case.
“The way the gaffer wants us to play really suits me,” he confirmed. “I try to run up and down all day and I wasn’t really marked against Barrow.
“They played a 3-5-2 but I didn’t really have anyone up against me. I probably could have done a bit more going forward, but I got as many crosses into the box as I could because I do enjoy creating chances for the strikers.
“You always feel a bit down if you’re not playing, but everyone is always supportive of the team. The lads who aren’t playing are really good with those who are because we all want the same outcome for the club. It’s the same for us all, if you get your chance you’ve just got to take it.
“That’s why I’m totally not bothered where I play, to be honest. It’s a lot easier for me to defend at left back but going forward at right back seems to work well. I’m just happy to play.”
And speaking more about the draw at Barrow, he told us: “They got two goals out of nothing. They were both really sloppy goals from our point of view.
“It sort of knocked us back because in the last few games we’ve scored one, then we’ve got the second and it’s been really comfortable. That didn’t happen this time, so for us to make sure we got something from the game was important.
“Our unbeaten run carries on and we’re picking up momentum at the right time, which is also important. Everyone tries as hard as possible and you can see the lads are tired at the end of games.
We’re all trying to cover as much ground as we can, and we’re looking to win the second balls because at the end of it all we want to be winning games.”
The current run he mentioned comes after a lot of hard work has been put in, following one of the strangest months the club has ever seen.
“January was totally weird,” he agreed. “We were flying at the top of the table and everyone was buzzing every single day. Then the weather was bad, and then there was Covid.
“I had it, and 14 of the other lads did as well, and a couple of us were really ill. I know we beat Exeter in that first game back, but I still felt miles off it. It was sort of like going into the first game of the season without having had a pre-season, if you know what I mean.
“As far as Covid goes, it’s more like fatigue that you have to get over. I think it was made worse because we weren’t able to train outside. I know we couldn’t do anything about that, but it meant match prep was difficult when being right at full fitness is a massive part of the game.
“We’re through that now and hopefully with a bit of momentum we can get back up there. We have three out of the top seven still to play and anyone can beat anyone in this league. We’re going into these last games with a load of momentum, so it definitely is all to play for.
“It would be brilliant if we could get into the play-offs so we’ll keep trying our hardest to do it. There’s a good feeling in the changing room and we want to be playing these games as fast as possible. We want to try to achieve something.”
With him being one of the younger players in the group, we wondered if it had sunk in as to how well his first season is going.
“It’s been good for me personally, but it’s a bit different when there are no fans in the stadiums,” he commented. “Hopefully they’ll be back next season. I just want to play as many games as I can and show people what I can do.
“I’ve had a lot of advice from the manager and from the lads as well, which has been great. A lot of the older lads have been brilliant, especially Dean Furman.
“I travel in with him pretty much every day and the way he’s been with me has been superb. Playing next to Rod McDonald is great, he’s another, and Aaron is speaking to me all the time as well.
“The thing is that whoever plays, we all want the team to do well and win the game. That’ll be the same at Newport.
“They drew on Friday night but we’re unbeaten in four and we’ve had three clean sheets in that. We can’t wait to play games because it’s another chance to go and get three more points.”
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