Stunning volleyed equaliser caps brilliant month for new dad Cullen

Cambridge United v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 11. PNL-141203-004136002
Cambridge United v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 11. PNL-141203-004136002

Supersub and new father Mark Cullen was beaming after the final whistle on Tuesday night as his last-gasp volley snatched the Hatters a point in their top-of-the-table clash at Cambridge United, writes Mark Wood.

He had barely been on the pitch 10 minutes when he pivoted to brilliantly volley home Cameron McGeehan’s knockback at the death and salvage the Hatters a 1-1 draw against their nearest rivals and keep their 15-point lead at the top of the Skrill Premier intact.

He said: “It’s always good to come on and get a goal. It wasn’t really working for us going forward and luckily I managed to get the goal at the end.

“I’m here to play, I’m here to score and to help the team maintain the run that we’re on, it’s brilliant.

“I didn’t really have a clue to be fair (where he was). I knew I was close enough to the goal and I thought if I just get a decent contact on it and get it towards the net you never know do you, so it was good.”

Boss John Still’s late triple change proved key on the night as he hailed his young striker.

He said “Great goal, great finish. It’s really tough you know. I’ve always said all the way along if there’s one player here that could look at being unfortunate it was Mark Cully because he was our leading scorer at one time and he had a slight ankle injury.

“Andre (Gray), who hadn’t started great came in, picked it up and it was hard to change and it’s been hard to change - of course he’s the league’s leading goalscorer and I think today we’ve used the full strength of our squad really and pleased for them.”

But Cullen has had no qualms about having to play second fiddle to Gray and Paul Benson this season who have 41 goals between them.

He said: “It’s hard and you can’t play everyone and to be fair to Andre and Benno they’ve both been scoring goals and you can’t really argue with it whatsoever.

“I’ve had to be patient and work hard in training and just wait for my chance.

“The squad’s fit. We’ve got so many good players in the squad and there’s a lot of players who aren’t even making the bench who are more than good enough to be playing in the team.

“So it’s good to have the competition and we never give up and it shows.

“It’s good to have different types of variety throughout the whole squad and throughout all the positions we’ve got a number who can change it up and I’m just a different piece of that.”

The goal capped a fantastic month for Cullen after becoming a father just a few weeks ago.

He said: “It’s been a good month, obviously with the birth of the little man and it’s really good and good to get back on the pitch now.

“I missed a couple of games, the missus gave birth and then I got a bit ill, so I had some time off, and the lads were flying so I missed out on a couple of games.

“I’m having a good time at the minute and hopefully long may it continue.”

It was the 21-year-old’s seventh goal of the season and came in front of Town’s masses of travelling fans.

He said: “I always seem to score in front of the fans so it’s good.

“It’s massive. Every goal for me is massive and that one’s just the latest one and it keeps us top of the league and we’ve got a decent little lead on points, so it helps us maintain that and we just now need to press on and get over the line.”

On whether it was his best goal, he added: “I score some unbelievable goals in training! It was a good goal, but they all count the same, it doesn’t matter if it goes in off your backside or a 40-yard volley they’ll all count the same.

“I’d say I base my game a lot on that (poaching close in), in and around the box, getting shots off and it’s paid off.

“We all work hard, everyone works hard in training on finishing for them times.

“You might only get one chance in the full game and you’ve got to be ready to take it and like I say I was there and I put it in.”