Conor: That my one for the season

Conor McLaughlin celebrates his first Football League goal
Conor McLaughlin celebrates his first Football League goal

Full-back Conor McLaughlin is keen to find the net more often, even if his manager doesn’t agree.

The 23-year-old scored his first ever Football League goal to help Fleetwood to a superb comeback victory at Barnsley on Tuesday night.

The Northern Ireland international will make his 99th Fleetwood appearance at Crewe on Saturday but has only scored one other goal in his career – a winner against Rotherham in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season.

But having tried his luck for a second minutes later at Oakwell, McLaughlin admits he got a warning from the bench.

“After I thought I’d have a second go, the gaffer said to me, ‘That’s it now. You’ve had your one for the season.’

“But if I end up there again I’d love to get another. I’ll give it a go.”

McLaughlin has waited a long time for his first League goal, but when it came it was a real peach – an 18-yard drive into the top corner.

Not that the defender knew much about what was happening once he’d pulled the trigger.

“It just dropped to me on the edge of the box, and fortunately I just got a bit of time and hit it.

“It was great to see it fly in the top corner.

“It was just a blur. The first I knew was it hitting the back of the net.

“After the celebration last time (against Rotherham) and the stick I got, I just decided to do nothing.”

The goal was a vital one for Fleetwood, after they had fallen behind to an early Peter Ramage strike.

“We didn’t really come out,” said McLaughlin. “They put a bit of pressure on us and we couldn’t get out of our own half.

“Gradually we got the corner, got the equaliser and it opened up a but from there.

“Liam (McAlinden) got the second one, and after that it was just a case of sitting in and making sure we didn’t concede.”

Barnsley were limited to half-chances as Fleetwood took total control at Oakwell, McLaughlin hailing midfield wide men Josh Morris and Gareth Evans for the part they played in the most professional display of the season.

He said: “Our shape was brilliant. Josh and Gaz did a great job in midfield. They work their socks off every week.

“Them sending wingers down the sides makes it easy for me and Stephen Crainey.

“We kept Barnsley at bay really well. We were comfortable and the crowd got on top of them. “That’s what we want to see away from home – the crowd turning against their own team.”

Town are one tantalising point off the League One play-off spots and McLaughlin is keen to continue the strong away run – three wins from four – when Fleetwood travel to Crewe on Saturday.

“Every three points is massive for us,” he said. “If we want to head towards the play-offs, we need to pick up maximum points as often as possible.

“We’ve been disappointed with the ones we’ve dropped over the last few weeks but results like this will give us a lot of confidence.

“I think the experience of the last six months is starting to tell. The victory at Barnsley gives us a lot of belief. I know it’s something the lads have.

“There have been times when we probably should have got three points. Beating a team who have come down from the Championship on their own turf is big for us.”