After ending his 11-game goal drought, Marcus Barnes expressed his relief as his last minute header earned Southampton their win over Norwich City on Saturday.
The 12-goal forward hadn’t netted since the 1-0 win at Leicester City before Christmas, but he managed to nod home a 90th-minute clincher against the Canaries at Staplewood.
And the 17 year-old admitted that bagging the winner has taken a weight off his mind.
“I’ve been a bit down, but it’s just good knowing that if I keep performing well, I’ll get my reward at the end of it. The hard work that I’m putting in, eventually it’s going to come through,” he told saintsfc.co.uk.
“I’ve had a couple of good performances recently, and it’s nice to finally get my reward at the end of it.
“It just shows – you work hard, you get your results, and sometimes recently it hasn’t really been my day in front of goal, but I thought if I get another chance today – I missed one earlier – I thought ‘right, I’ll refocus’ and hopefully get another one, and I’m glad I put it away.”
Saturday’s strike was Barnes’ first of 2015, though he did manage to rack up an impressive 11 goals in the first half of the campaign.
With four games still remaining in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League play-offs, Barnes – the younger brother of former Derby County and West Bromwich Albion playmaker Giles – hopes that the victory over Norwich will prove to be the catalyst for further success before the end of the season.
“I’ve been lucky to get my goals quite early in the season which set me up, so this is my first goal of 2015 and hopefully I can just push on and get some more in the play-offs now,” said the striker.
“It’s good competition for us as well, because me and Fela work hard together in training. We did a little combination that we worked on in training for last week’s goal, and then once again, movement – he’s gone as a striker and I’m more of a sitting role – and we’ve both got our goals.
“If I keep working hard, I know I’ll get my goals. Usually when I start to score, it just sort of has a ripple effect, and hopefully that carries on.
“There was a bit of relief for myself, but it’s more important to get the three points, because that’s two wins in a row and we haven’t done that for a while.
“Hopefully we can push on and get another win against Blackburn in a couple of weeks.”