Town defender wants to be on the scoresheet again after ending his lengthy goal drought against Derby
Town defender Donervon Daniels wants to experience that scoring feeling once more after finally ending his lengthy goal drought when popping up as an unlikely scorer for the Hatters during their 3-2 win over Derby County last night.
With 73 minutes on the clock and the scores level at 1-1, Daniels rose highest to power home a header from James Bree’s corner to put Town in front.
It was the first time the 26-year-old had found the net since way back in October 2015, when he managed a double for Wigan Athletic in their 5-0 League One thrashing of Colchester United.
Daniels, who revealed afterwards that it was only the second headed goal of his career, his only other one coming for Aberdeen in their 2-1 Scottish League Cup semi-final defeat to Dundee United at Hampden Park in January 2015, said: “Before that drought, goals were part of my game, I used to think that.
“That is my first one in a little while, hopefully that gives me a bit of confidence to stick my head where it hurts sometimes, to get those rewards.
“I like to chuck myself in there, but sometimes it just doesn’t land.
"Some people are just magnets to the ball, and I like to think I’m a magnet to the ball in the other box, where I get my head on it, but I’m going to try my hardest to keep adding to the tally.”
The centre half was quite right in his recent struggles in front of goal as prior to scoring for the Latics almost five years ago, he had bagged seven strikes in his first 59 matches as a professional.
Town’s match was the 101st he has played since, but despite starting on the bench, replacing Matty Pearson on the hour mark, boss Graeme Jones revealed that the whole squad being involved in set-pieces during training had paid handsome dividends.
He said: "It was planned, we’ve been rewarded tonight for working hard, for not dropping standards, for treating all players the same.
“When we’re doing set-pieces for and set-pieces against, Donervon was part of that group.
“So if he came on the pitch, if he had to play, he knows his role.
"Everybody gets treated the same at Luton Town, everybody gets the same experience, it’s not the 11 playing and everything’s great and the other 12 or whatever it is are not involved, so we benefited from that work yesterday.
“James has got really good delivery.
"I think it was a bit of a mixed bag tonight, against (Nottingham) Forest it was better.
"He’s new to that role, but no (Izzy) Brown, no (Andrew) Shinnie, no (Jacob) Butterfield, no (Luke) Berry on the pitch, that duty has to go to somebody.
"James has got really, really good technique, so it’s just something that we’ve had to evolve.”
Daniels confirmed that the pre-match planning had worked wonders, saying: “I’ve been there analysing the set-plays, so I knew exactly what I needed to do if needed.
"The ball was a really good one by James, he’s been putting in some really good balls, I just watched it all the way, timed my jump really well and luckily I got a good contact on it.
“All the boys are saying run to the corner, but I was so filled with emotion and happiness, I didn't know where to run.
"I was just so happy to contribute in a positive way to getting three points that was desperately needed.
"But even before I came on, I was really proud of the boys as they worked really hard.”.
Team-mate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu who had scored the opening goal, was pleased to see the summer signing off the mark in only his third game for the club.
He added: “He’s a big boy, he can go in the box and score.
"It's great for him to come on and have a big impact for the team, hopefully he can continue doing that.
"Hopefully Matty’s all right, but if Donny needs to fill in, like he was, he’s ready to come off the bench and score a vital goal for us.”