INTERVIEW: Luton’s Liam Gooch on joining Hitchin on loan and keeping a clean sheet just hours after meeting his team-mates for first time
PUBLISHED: 09:16 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:20 22 November 2016
Liam Gooch kept a clean sheet on his Hitchin Town debut – despite only meeting his team-mates just hours before the game.
The Luton Town goalkeeper agreed to join the Canaries on a month-long loan last Friday after Michael Johnson picked up an injury and was thrown straight in to face Kettering Town in the Southern Premier the following day despite not having time to even train with his new team-mates.
Hitchin went into the match on the back of a 12 game unbeaten run in the league and thanks in part to the 18-year-old’s performance between the sticks extended that to 13 with a 0-0 draw.
They are currently fifth in the league table and will go again tonight with a trip to Chesham United.
Speaking to the Comet about his debut, Gooch said: “I really enjoyed it. It was a good game and it’s a good level of football to play at at my age because I haven’t played senior games. Kettering are a good side and they have good players but we kept them at bay.
“Hitchin rang up and I’d been training with Luton all week so I didn’t have any training with them before the game.
“I didn’t know anyone but the boys were really good. It’s just one of those things that happen and you just get on with it.
“I don’t know what the plan is [regarding training and getting to know players]. There’s a game away to Chesham but apart from that I’ve not trained [with them]. It would be good to train once a week or a fortnight and get to work with them.”
Asked about Canaries’ unbeaten run Gooch explains it’s not the first long sequence he’s been on without defeat as he was part of the Luton Town Academy side which went an astonishing 32 games without losing.
Last year Gooch, who lives in Stotfold, helped them to a league and cup double as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup only to lose to Blackburn Rovers.
Those performances earned the keeper, who turns 19 this Friday, a professional deal with the club and his short-term loan at Hitchin will see him gain valuable first-team experience.
“When I was much younger, 15, I had played for Hitchin U18s before I signed for Luton. I did a two-year scholarship and signed on at Luton as a first-year pro.
“During the course of the scholarship I was part of the youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup quarter-final. We beat Preston, Oldham, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Notts County. That was the best team that Luton have ever had in that cup.
“If Michael Johnson is out for a few more weeks and I’m doing okay Mark might want to keep me on for another week. Being young any game I can get at the moment will be an aid to my development.”
Speaking about his keeper, Burke told the Comet: “He did brilliant on Saturday and I thought he would do.
“He’s a local lad and knows all about Hitchin. He didn’t let us down at all, he delivered.”