Sixteen-year-old Luke Matheson was in dreamland after scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night – but will return to reality on Thursday with a psychology test at school.
Twelve months ago, defender Matheson – aged 15 and entering his GCSE year at school – played his first match for Rochdale, becoming the club’s youngest ever debutant, in an EFL Trophy match against Bury.
Last night, Matheson’s 76th-minute equaliser against United Rochdale’s Carabao Cup third-round tie to penalties – although they went on to lose 5-3 on spot-kicks.
“Everything’s just happened so fast,” Matheson tells Sky Sports News.
“Wow. What can I say really? Never did I think I’d be 16 years old scoring at Old Trafford – that’s a dream come true for anyone.
“It’s surreal. I’m lost for words. It was a special night for me, the team, Bryan Barry-Murphy [the Rochdale manager] and everyone. It was just unreal.
“This was my mum’s first game in five years because she’s been ill. So that one was for her. She was here watching.”
Asked if he gets to miss school on Thursday, Matheson added: “We get tomorrow off, but I will go into school – I’ve got a psychology test.”
“I suppose we could’ve won, but the result doesn’t take anything away from tonight – it was amazing. It was sort of a bummer that we didn’t get the win, but we couldn’t have asked for anything more I thought we were superb.”
Matheson is a defender but his goal was purely instinctual and “something I’ll remember for the rest of my life”, he says.
“I’ve kind of just seen Ollie Rathborne put it up for me and I’ve kind of just seen it and I didn’t really think about it my body took over,” he said.
“I sprinted to the ball, seen it hit the roof of the net and the adrenaline took over then I was off in front of the fans.
“The feeling was amazing, everyone was absolutely buzzing and words can’t describe that feeling of the pack in the celebration. The excitement was something special.”