Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was relieved to finally be celebrating his first goal of the season after slamming home a netbuster against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
The 24-year-old had been waiting almost 12 months in fact, with his previous goal coming in the 2-1 win over Notts County on April 22, 2017.
I had to control it, the gaffer was like ‘no blazing squad, no blazing squad,’ so I’ve hit it and hit it very sweetly.Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu
Mpanzu said: “I had to get a goal, I was having good shots, so I thought ‘hit this.’
“Thankfully I got the goal and the win as three points was all we needed.
“Glen (Rea) scored last week, so he was getting on my back, and I was like, ‘yes, I need to hit this’ and thankfully it went in.”
It wasn’t just any old goal for Mpanzu either as when a clearance fell to him 30 yards out, he took a touch before rifling his effort past keeper Ben Garratt and in.
He continued: “I tried my best, you can only hit and hope.
“I had to control it, the gaffer was like ‘no blazing squad, no blazing squad,’ so I’ve hit it and hit it very sweetly.
“I was thinking if this goes in, it’s a good strike. The keeper saw it late, but I’m delighted I got my first goal of the season, it’s been a while.”
Although not many were expecting such an outcome when Mpanzu pulled his right foot back, he does have previous, scoring a stunner at Dartford back in April 2014 and also against Dagenham during the 2015-16 campaign.
Striker Danny Hylton, himself also on the scoresheet, feels it should be more of a regular occurrence too as when asked if Mpanzu did it in practice, he said: “Do you know what he does, and I get on him a bit every day in training as he’s such a good finisher.
“He’s got the hardest shot, he should score more goals than he does and I tell him all the time.
“I was delighted to see it go in for him, he has done fantastic since unfortunately Bez (Luke Berry) got injured.
“He’s come into the team and taken his chance, he’s been amazing for us, as long as he’s playing like that, he’ll help us get over the line.”
Mpanzu tried his luck again shortly afterwards, sending an effort way, way over the bar, as boss Nathan Jones added: “I think you saw both sides of the Pelly-Ruddock coin.
“One ended up top corner and the other ended up by that Solyd sign there.
“That’s what you get with him, that’s what he has to tweak a little bit, that inconsistency, that power.
“Power’s no good if he hasn’t got control and at times, he hasn’t got that control.
“He gets in great positions and if you remember the Dagenham goal he scored here, the bar’s only stopped rattling a year later.
“So it’s about harnessing that power, harnessing that quality as he has so much going for him, it’s just how do we harness it?”