Matt still Bee-lieves
English Barclays Premiership
Matthew Etherington won't forget Brentford in a hurry.
The winger made his Football League debut as a raw 15-year-old against the Bees for Peterborough United and three years on, returned to Griffin Park to make his first start of the season in the Worthington Cup.
It didn't really go as planned though. Etherington, who has only recently turned 19, was closely guarded all night and when he finally escaped he blew a golden chance. Oyvind Leonhardsen broke through and unselfishly squared to the youngster who seemed caught in two minds before tamely dragging his shot wide from 10 yards.
Now Etherington has Brentford in his sights again and is desperate to get the chance to show the home fans what he can do in Tuesday night's second round, second leg encounter.
"I didn't do as well as I could have at Griffin Park, I know that myself," he admitted. "It was one of those games really. It was a tight game, I didn't really get any time on the ball and that's my game - getting the ball and running at people. I've got to learn to deal with that.
"The manager had a word with me and told me to keep my head up, keep going and I'll get my chance again. I just have to keep plugging away."
Etherington may be left disappointed on Tuesday night as we aim for a confidence-boosting victory after three games without a goal.
He added: "I'm generally happy with how it's going. The week before last we played Chelsea Reserves at White Hart Lane and I thought I did well against them and was really pleased with myself.
"So I went into the game against Brentford with a lot of confidence but it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I've got to take that on the chin and get on with it. When I do get my chance I've got to prove I'm a good player."
As for that debut back in May 1997, he recalled: "It seems a long time ago but it was only three years. I'll never forget that day for the rest of my life.
"I was only 15 and still at school. I was playing against men and I was only a little boy really. Still, I thought I did really well. That's why I thought I'd have a good game last week because it's normally a good ground for me but it didn't really turn out that way!"