Lee Buchanan had a senior debut to remember as he shone under the lights at Glanford Park and lifted Derby County to victory with a wonder strike against Scunthorpe United.
The 18-year-old put in a solid defensive display in the left-back position before finding himself high up the pitch to seal the victory in the final 15 minutes of the game and see the Rams through to the second round of the Carabao Cup.
George Evans picked out the youngster down the left flank who chested the ball down to his feet before sprinting off into the box. Coolly and calmly he struck across goal and fired into the top right corner for a goal he surely won’t ever forget.
“I was very proud to make my debut and follow it up with a goal, which was unexpected,” Buchanan told RamsTV following the final whistle. “It has got us through to the next round so it is good.
“I just made a run. I got the ball unexpectedly from Evans, it was a great ball from him and I thought I might as well have as strike as I am that close on goal.
“I didn’t know until I looked up and I saw it hit the net. I was surprised but it was a good feeling. The crowd was great tonight and that is what you want as a young lad, to go and show what you can do in front of the fans.”
Buchanan was one of six debutants on the night as Krystian Bielik, Ben Hamer and Graeme Shinnie pulled on the Rams shirt for the first time. Fellow academy products Louie Sibley and Morgan Whittaker came off the bench for their first first-team appearance, while Jason Knight made his full debut.
Along with Max Bird, who was also in the Phillip Cocu’s starting XI, there were five members of the team who were in Justin Walker’s side last season to lift the Under-18s national title. Buchanan was delighted that he made his debut alongside them.
“We have gone through the Under-18s together and it is good to see so many of us, five or six of us, in the squad tonight,” he said.
“That also helps when there are older lads around, they help you get through the game when it is quite tough.
“They just said to go out and enjoy myself. It is my first game, first of my hopefully, so just to enjoy myself, see where it takes me and do the best I can.”
With a side that saw eleven changes to the opening two league fixtures, Buchanan admitted that it took part of the first-half of the game for Derby to get a handle on the game.
However, as the game grew, the Rams dominated the League Two sides with chances falling to Jack Marriott, Jamie Paterson and Knight before Buchanan struck.
The Mansfield-native, who joined the Rams at Under-14 level, hopes that the Rams can enjoy a good cup run this season.
“First-half it took us a while to get into the game, but I thought the last 15 of the first-half and the second-half, we dominated the game and I thought the goal was coming.
“It is a good start and hopefully we can go far in this cup. I think we have got the squad and depth to do it.”