CALLUM O’Dowda was thrilled to take his opportunity with both hands as a disappointing week for the teenager ended on a high.
The 18-year-old was among the Oxford United side which lost on penalties to Hellenic League side Kidlington in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup.
But four days later, O’Dowda was thrust into first-team duty and played his part as the U’s won 2-0 at Plymouth Argyle to boost their play-off hopes.
The winger was beaming afterwards and reflected on a week of contrasting emotions.
“I loved every second of it,” he said.
“As soon as the second goal went in I was so happy because Plymouth were getting in now and then.
“I was really feeling the effects of playing 120 minutes (on Tuesday night), but I was so happy to be starting and I gave it my all.
“I’m from Kidlington as well, I wouldn’t say it was embarrassing, but I really wanted to win that game.
“But this game at Plymouth was massive compared to that, so getting the win has really helped.”
It was only O’Dowda’s second league start, but he made an impact.
His pace drew a foul in the first half and from the resulting free-kick United opened the scoring through Dave Kitson.
The youngster also broke forward and supplied the pass which allowed James Constable, known as Beano, to score a spectacular second goal after the break.
It all came after O’Dowda had missed a close-range header in the fifth minute and he admitted there was some relief it had not proved costly.
He said: “I really should’ve scored.
“I can’t really remember it, I think I glanced back on it. To get an assist as well, I was really happy with that.
“Beano’s finish was really good. I had the perfect angle, I was dead centre and I was so pleased when it went in.”
He added: “I think the result is massive because now we can go on a run and just build from this.”