James Alabi enjoys debut to remember, but Stoke City striker almost had to wait for first Scunthorpe United appearance
AS DEBUTS go, James Alabi’s introduction to league football was almost perfect.
The 18-year-old Stoke City loanee played only 23 minutes of Scunthorpe United’s League One clash with Hartlepool and scored after just 10 of them.
The only thing that could have made the striker’s afternoon even better, would have been if his perfectly placed header against Pools had proved more than simply a consolation.
Yet for all Alabi’s impact, Iron manager Brian Laws admitted he’d have preferred not to have had to throw the teenage terror onto the pitch.
“It was fantastic for him,” Laws said of the goal. “But I didn't really want to use him on Saturday to be honest.
“I felt the crowd were flat - because we’d conceded two goals - and the players were as well.
“I felt a young player coming on that the crowd hadn’t seen before would give everyone a bit of a lift.
“He came up with a great goal, but then it was the first time we got a bit of quality into the box.
“I was thinking about taking Mark Duffy off, but he showed, as he has on many, many occasions, that he can supply goals for us.”
Speaking on Twitter, Alabi said his first 72 hours as a Scunthorpe United player had been memorable.
He wrote: "Wow, first professional debut, first goal, also got man of the match. Thank you for all the messages and support. Thank you Lord."
Laws was disappointed Alabi’s strike didn’t earn the Iron any points, even though he accepted Pools had been deserved victors in a game in which Scunthorpe were disappointingly below par.
“It was great it got us back in the game, but then afterwards we were gambling and starting to take risks,” he added.
“We missed the midfield out and were looking for scraps really, but that's the way the game turned out. It was a pretty scrappy game."