Newport County AFC striker Mark Harris says the standing ovation he received when being substituted on his debut was one of the “best feelings” he’s ever experienced in football.
The 19-year old ran his heart into the ground for the hour that he played at Rodney Parade against Crewe Alexandra, causing the Railwaymen defence a whole host of problems with his dynamic play and determination to chase every cause.
He was involved in County’s matchwinner when drifting out to the left-hand side to become even more effective, combining well with Mickey Demetriou out wide on this occasion. That afforded the defender a chance to deliver a pinpoint cross into the area, Harris’ strike-partner Padraig Amond rising highest to power a header back across the goalkeeper.
Harris had been withdrawn for Antoine Semenyo by the time Crewe were awarded a penalty on 65 minutes, although he had a prime viewing spot to watch Joe Day repel the effort with a strong hand down to his right-side.
The Exiles held out from there to secure their first victory of the 2018/19 campaign and here, you can read what Harris exclusively told iFollow Exiles following the game.
On County’s first victory of the season against Crewe Alexandra…
“I thought we started off very strong, on the front foot and our pressing game was very good.
“We grew into the game even better I thought towards the end of the half, we were the stronger team by far and we deserved to be in the lead.
“Overall a 1-0 win is great because it’s three points for the team, maybe could have got one or two more goals but overall, very pleased.
“We didn’t take much notice of that to be honest [Crewe winning 6-0 last weekend], we just concentrated on ourselves because we have confidence in ourselves that we can beat anyone in this league.
“We just went out, did what we had to do to get the win, so it was a great result for the team.
“Getting the first win of the season in the first home game is everything for us. It can push us on now and give us confidence.”
On his performance individually against the Railwaymen…
“I really enjoyed the game. Obviously, I want to score, and I want to provide assists for the other players in the team but all that matters is the three points.
“Happy for myself in making my debut because I thought I played quite well, but the three points is what means the most to myself and the boys really.
“What I noticed on my debut was that the Crewe defence was very tall, and they were very tough defenders.
“I have to be honest and say that, but I just need to use my speed to my advantage and get around them. I was able to put balls into the box for Podge, we got the goal in the end and that’s all that matters.”
On how he hopes to use these kinds of performances to impress his parent club…
“Cardiff lost a few games last season and look where they finished. It doesn’t matter [about their result against Bournemouth] – we lost our first game of the season at Mansfield and we bounced back with a win.
“Neil Warnock has said that whenever I need anything, I can give him a ring or even pop down if I needed to. He’s told me that he’s there for me if I need anything which is really helpful for me.
“I’d like to think I have yes [put a marker down with his performance against Crewe.] I’ve got a long way to go yet and I know that, the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world. That’s my aim, that’s where I want to be, and I feel like if I keep performing and playing well in this team then hopefully one day, I can be playing in Neil’s starting eleven.
“I just need to gain the vital experience now and if I can do that alongside learning from the gaffer here then why not, I can play in the Premier League one day.”
On being substituted after an hour to a standing ovation from the Rodney Parade crowd…
“That’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in football to be honest. Coming off and seeing all the fans on their feet clapping me for my performance was a very good feeling.
“I felt a little bit leggy but still that I could do more for the team, but it was the gaffer’s call. As long as we got the three points in the end, I’m happy.
“I have to say - I really enjoyed playing alongside Padraig Amond to be fair, he helped me along with the game, gave me some tips before the game because he’s obviously very experienced in this league.
“He basically told me to work hard and make sure I use my body to the maximum. He told me it was going to be a tough league with tough defenders, so always make sure that you’re 100% focused and using your body well really.
“Yeah, got to be honest, he was very helpful with me on my debut for Newport County AFC.”
On going again at Cambridge United on Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup…
“There’s no easy game in any cup competition. Everyone wants to win it, so it will be a tough game, but if we go there with the same attitude as we had today then why not, we feel we can get the win easy.
“To be honest, they haven’t really mentioned that to me yet [County beating Cambridge on all three occasions last season.]
“All focus since I’ve joined has been firstly on the Mansfield game and then today’s game. I’m guessing they will mention it either Monday or Tuesday when we’re on the way there.
“I’m sure Cambridge will use that as motivation. Any team if they are beaten three times then they will want to go out and prove them wrong. We’ll be up for that fightback.”
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