AFTER going from academy prospect to first-team scorer for Cherries, Sam Surridge conducted his post-match interviews beaming from ear-to-ear on Monday night.

The affable 21-year-old provided a cool, calculated finish to take another step on his exciting journey with the Dorset club.

But while members of the local and national press gathered round him post-match at Vitality Stadium - the youngster wanted to speak to one man in particular.

Surridge’s father Phil, a personal trainer at Littledown, was busy working in a circuit session when his son came off the bench to strike in the 2-1 FA Cup fourth round defeat to Arsenal.

The former Parley First School pupil did have his brother and friends in attendance for the landmark moment – which he was keen to dedicate to his entire family.

“They have kept on supporting me, seen me play for Bournemouth and keep coming on trying to get opportunities,” the talented frontman told the Daily Echo.

“It wasn’t a massive opportunity against Arsenal but every time I come on for Bournemouth I think ‘right, get a goal’. Luckily, I did.

“Obviously, it’s overshadowed (by defeat) but I’m sure in a couple of hours it will sink in.

“I don’t think I was too fazed when I came on. I think I had just calmed down a bit, I didn’t rush the chance.

“It was a special moment and I had that long 30-second wait to see if it was going to be allowed.”

He added: “My dad couldn’t make it but I had my brother there and a couple of mates.

“I think my dad has been to almost every game that I’ve played for Bournemouth, even when I’ve been on the bench - but he missed it!

“He works down at Littledown. I think he had a circuit session or something like that. He is going to be gutted!

“But I don’t think he will care now I’ve scored. Hopefully, he will be here at the weekend.”

Despite his dad being unavailable for a first senior strike, Surridge is hoping the goal will be his first of many for the club he grew up with.

Recalled by Eddie Howe from Swansea, where he netted seven times in 23 games this season, Surridge has scored goals across the footballing pyramid.

A short loan spell at Weymouth followed up by him banging in the goals at Poole Town as a teenager meant he cut his teeth at non-league level.

Ten goals in 53 appearances while at Yeovil during the 2017-18 campaign saw his Football League career take off – before fully announcing himself by netting 12 in 20 appearances for Oldham.

“I have been out on loan a few times and I know how to score. I know how to score against opposition,” he said.

“When you are a youngster you don’t really know the game. I feel like I’ve got experience now, that’s what I want to bring back here to Bournemouth.

“That’s my aim (to score more) and hopefully they can keep giving me opportunities to show what I can do and help us get more points. That’s my main aim for the rest of the season.”

It was fitting Surridge’s first Cherries strike came in front of the Steve Fletcher Stand – the man he watched growing up as a ball boy when Eddie Howe’s men were down in League Two.

And the determined striker believes seeing the club’s rapid progress gives him more of a connection with everyone involved.

“I was here for the game when they stayed up against Grimsby (in 2009) and Fletch scored,” the youngster added.

“I think it just gives me a little bit more motivation to come on and do well. I’ve had my loan clubs where I’ve given 100 per cent.

“But it’s almost like, when I’m with Bournemouth, I want to give more than that.

“I think that’s what I can do, just show passion and that’s what hopefully I did. The more I play, the more I can showcase.”