JOSH Ruffels wishes the season still had weeks to run after the in-form midfielder notched in Oxford United’s 2-0 win against Port Vale on Easter Monday.
The 23-year-old from Kidlington was making his 90th start for the club, but it was his first goal at the Kassam Stadium.
Ruffels reacted quickest when Marvin Johnson’s 14th-minute shot was parried by Vale goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet.
United should have made the game safe, but with only one goal in it, the under-pressure visitors enjoyed a good spell before Chris Maguire made the game safe eight minutes from time.
Ruffels is making the most of his chance to have a run in the side and while he was thrilled to get off the mark in front of the home fans, the one regret is there are only two games remaining.
He said: “I’m enjoying my football, my performances are getting better and I’m gaining confidence from everything I do.
“The goal will help and I wish there were a few more games coming up because I feel like I could really push on.
“I could see the keeper was possibly going to parry it and I just had that instinct to try to get on the end of it.
“It meant a lot. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”
Ruffels is not known for his attacking prowess and had been on the receiving end of some stick from teammates after Friday’s trip to Bradford City.
U’s boss Michael Appleton said: “A few of the lads were taking the Mickey out of him on Friday because he got himself in the opposition’s box at times and had a heavy touch.
“A few were saying he got a nosebleed when he got into the box, but he was like a goal-poacher expecting the keeper to make a mistake and he punished him.”
Having spurned chances to kill the game off, United then rode their luck before Maguire’s goal.
Vale, desperate for an equaliser in their fight against relegation, had two goals disallowed.
Simon Eastwood, who made several good saves on his 60th start of the season, said the second one from Dan Turner was a nervous moment.
The goalkeeper said: “My heart was in my mouth to be fair.
“Sometimes you just put your hand up and hope the linesman goes with it.
“I was a bit busier than I thought (I would be), but it was good to keep a clean sheet because we haven’t had one for a while.”