MAX Crocombe struggled to put his delight at making his senior debut into words last night, but thanked Oxford United’s fans for their backing.
The goalkeeper, a first-year professional, replaced Wayne Brown for the 1-1 draw against Burton Albion.
Crocombe was enthusiastically supported by the home fans from the moment his name was read out before kick-off and his early touches were also cheered.
While the 19-year-old felt there were elements of his performance which needed improvement, he was thrilled to make his first-team bow.
He said: “It was important to enjoy it, which I did, and thrive on it. To go out in front of the fans was fantastic and they were just brilliant with me.
“I’ve been dreaming what it would be like to make my debut.
“When I joined the club two and a half years ago, I came and saw the pitch and it fills you with excitement, you can’t wait to play.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and to make my debut was fantastic. I can’t really explain how good it is.”
U’s boss Chris Wilder admitted it was a gamble, but was pleased with Crocombe’s display, even if there is a chance a loan goalkeeper could be signed before the weekend.
He said: “I’ve got to make big decisions and the decision was the right one.
“There’s no doubt that if he keeps learning he will have a good career, it’s just the timing.
“He’s had a promising debut, but there will be bigger tasks ahead.
“I’ve spoken to the chairman and we might be looking to see what we can do in the loan window, because we can’t rely on Max to take us through the final 18 games of the season.”
Wilder was disappointed that the U’s, having gone ahead through James Constable’s header, were unable to claim all three points.
Burton levelled through Jacques Maghoma to share the spoils, but the United boss took some consolation in an improved display from Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Fleetwood Town.
He said: “I think we were in control for 75 per cent of the game.
“I think if we had got a second goal, that would have been enough, but they hit a long ball forward, got around the second ball and it ended up in our net.
“It was a disappointing goal to concede, but it was a lot better than Saturday.”
Michael Duberry (hamstring) and Peter Leven (illness) were forced off and will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southend United.
Meanwhile, United have ann-ounced they will hold a fans forum on Thursday, February 7, at the Kassam Stadium (7pm).