Swavesey boy Liam O’Neil creates lifelong memory with goal that prompts Cambridge United promotion to Sky Bet League One
Liam O’Neil battled the emotions after sparking Cambridge United’s promotion party with the opening goal in their 3-0 win over Grimsby Town in Sky Bet League Two.
The 27-year-old midfielder was part of the U’s centre of excellence as a youngster and attended Swavesey Village College growing up, so it could hardly have been more fitting that he should score their first goal on the way to sealing a place in League One.
“It’s amazing,” said O'Neil of reaching the third tier in the Football League pyramid. “Being from around Cambridge, it’s huge. I’m a little bit emotional about it and I think it’s great.
“I’m getting to grips with it at the minute, it’s a bit of a shock at the moment. I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.
“The place would be rocking now with the fans here. Being from Swavesey, just outside Cambridge, it’s been a dream to play for Cambridge and getting them promoted couldn’t really have got much better to be honest.
“It’s just a shame they [the fans] can’t be in here. For me, Bonz (head coach Mark Bonner), our family and friends are all very local, we’d probably have about 100 people here.
“We’ve dealt with it all season, and we’ve got through it. It just shows the togetherness of the squad.”
O’Neil’s opener in the 25th minute was some strike. Luke Hannant’s free kick was headed back across goal by Joe Ironside, and O’Neil swivelled to hit a sweet volley into the back of the net.
His only other goal of the season was just as impressive, and important, being a 30-yard belter to seal a 1-0 win at Port Vale in the 85th minute.
But which was more important to O’Neil?
“I’ve got to say today because it’s going to be a memory that lives with me forever,” he said.
“Port Vale was nice and they don’t come around very often either.
“But I said when I got back from injury that if I could help and affect the team in a positive way, because I know I haven’t played as many games as I would have liked, that would be great and hopefully that’s helped put us on our way today.”