Joe Pigott has happy memories of facing Oxford United as they provided the opposition for his first goal in senior football back in 2013.
However, it was from an easy transition into the professional game for our striker after he scored the final goal for Charlton Athletic in a 4-0 League Cup win against Oxford. After being allowed to leave by the Addicks in 2016, a subsequent move to Cambridge United didn’t work out for Joe and he reignited his career in non league with his hometown club Maidstone United.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s League One match at Oxford United, Joe recalled: “It was a great moment when I scored my first professional goal, it was a penalty. It was my first start in professional football. It meant a lot to me at the time, but when you score on your debut you think it’s easy. You are unaware of the trials and tribulations that you are going to have afterwards, which I’ve obviously had since. It was the first step of the massive journey and learning curve that my career has been. It was a real high for me to score on my debut, but it was far from easy after that and I had to get my career back on track by playing in non league with Maidstone.”
Joe has since established himself here at Wimbledon, playing a key part in last season’s Great Escape as he scored 18 goals in all competitions. Following his 100th Wimbledon appearance on Saturday against Rotherham, Glyn Hodges spoke about Joe’s value to the team, but our manager is encouraging him to be more selfish in front of goal.
“Joe has been brilliant, he really has improved,” said Glyn. “He’s taken on board what we are trying to do and he’s back amongst the goals. I felt that he was a nuisance all afternoon on Saturday. I think he could have had a couple of goals with his left foot and at the end I’m having a go at him for not shooting more. He’s got to be greedier. I think he’s trying to put someone in, or score the perfect goal. You go back to his goal against Bristol Rovers and it can hit your shin and go in. It hasn’t got to be a worldie goal all the time, we scored a great goal through Max, but we will take the ricochets. You have got to pull the trigger at times and we are just trying to get him to be more selfish. He’s in there, he’s creating chances, and we are creating chances, so that’s a big positive.”
Joe has scored in both of our last two home matches against the U's, so let's hope he can continue his fine record against Oxford tonight!
You can read an extensive interview with Joe Pigott in Saturday’s matchday programme for the game against Blackpool.