Scoring in front of a crowd of 123 at The Brentwood Centre in Essex is a far cry from playing at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium with more than 53,400 looking on.
Jamal Lowe’s journey through seven tiers of English football has been nothing short of remarkable, the frontman often having to triumph over adversity.
A little over six years ago, Lowe was combining playing non-league for Hampton & Richmond Borough with plying his trade as a PE teacher at a school in New Malden.
His goals in 2015/16 helped the Beavers win the Premier Division of the Isthmian League, propelling them and him into National League South.
Having already ticked off League Two and Conference Premier during his time at Barnet, Lowe went on to perform in League One with Portsmouth.
Signing for Pompey in January 2017, his four goals in five games at the end of the 2016/17 season helped them lift the League Two title, Lowe on target 17 times as they reached the play-offs and won the Checkatrade Trophy in 2018/19.
His exploits at Fratton Park earned him a first crack at the Championship with Wigan Athletic, Lowe playing alongside current Cherries teammate Kieffer Moore during his one season at the DW Stadium.
An eventful three years saw him suffer relegation with the Latics due to a points deduction, taste Championship play-off final heartbreak with Swansea, earn his first senior cap for Jamaica and win promotion to the Premier League with the Cherries.
Replacing Moore during the closing stages of Saturday’s 4-0 defeat against champions Manchester City saw Lowe pen the latest chapter in his own Roy of the Rovers footballing fairytale.
The 28-year-old told afcb.co.uk: “Although it was a brief cameo, to get on the pitch and be able to say I’ve made an appearance in the Premier League is something I dreamed about as a kid.
“In certain times in my life, it didn’t look like it would happen and neither did playing another game in the Football League. I feel blessed, honoured and proud to have done it.
“Since getting back into the Football League with Portsmouth, my aim has always been to get to the top but it’s been a rough journey.
“There have been quite a few clubs, quite a few house moves, living in hotels and moving the kids up and down the country with the missus.
“When I moved here, the aim of the whole club was to win promotion back to the Premier League and we managed to do that last season. Here we are!”
Released by QPR as a youngster – because Raheem Sterling was awarded a scholarship ahead of him – Lowe progressed through the academy ranks at Barnet where he played under former Holland international Edgar Davids.
He had several loan spells in non-league before securing permanent moves to St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead Town and then Hampton & Richmond Borough at the start of their promotion-winning campaign.
To supplement his dwindling income having dropped down the leagues, Lowe was given coaching work by Jon Nurse, a former teammate at Barnet who also managed to help him find a full-time role as a PE teacher at Coombe Hill School in New Malden.
Lowe takes up the story: “When I was at QPR, Raheem was in the year below me but he played two years up so was above me.
“When it came to deciding who was going to get a scholarship, they told me I’d done well but said they had a 14-year-old who was already playing for the youth team.
“They said they thought he was going to be the next big thing and fair play to them because they were right!
“Raheem has had an amazing career and I can’t hold that against him. They made a great decision. He’s one of England’s best players so I can’t really complain too much.
“Playing for Edgar Davids at Barnet was a bit surreal. He was a massive player and character who had done a lot in the game and played at the very highest level.
“It was the first time I’d been around anyone of that stature and the first time I’d been around anyone who had played higher than League Two.
“The way he carried himself was different and his attitude towards things was different. At first it was hard to get used to.
“He had Champions League standards and we didn’t so trying to adapt to his way of thinking was a bit of an eye opener early in my career.
“As you drop down the leagues, the money gets less and less. I had a few responsibilities. I didn’t have kids or a house but had a car, my phone and there was rent to pay to mum and dad.
“I filled in coaching with Jon Nurse and he managed to get me into a school full-time. I was living in Harrow and travelled an hour across London to get to work.
“I was a PE teacher from reception to year 6. I could easily still be doing that now because it’s a job you can do until retirement age.
“It wasn’t my passion, it was a make-do thing. It was another great learning curve. I’m not saying I’ve got more experience than anyone else but I’ve seen a different type of world.
“I wasn’t in an academy the whole way through and I wasn’t playing under-21s, under-23s and then first team.
“I was out working nine to five and doing morning club and after-school club. I coached Met Police under-15s and under-nines and trained with Hampton & Richmond in the evenings.
“When I was playing in front of 100 spectators, I always hoped I would play in the Premier League one day but there were times when I didn’t think it would happen.
“I’ve always had that self-belief and determination to try to make it happen. For it to happen like it did, you can’t plan that and I’d be lying if I said I saw it happening like it did.
“The lower you go, the harder it gets physically, mentally and financially. You experience the trials and tribulations and being able to see all the leagues just makes me appreciate this opportunity even more.”
Asked whether he felt it was his reward for the hard graft he had put in, Lowe replied: “The saying goes, hard work pays off.
“As well as hard work, it’s perseverance for me because there have been a lot of ups and downs. It’s about whether you stick at it or cave in. I’m not one to cave in.
“It’s been a bumpy road. It’s about whether you can carry on when things aren’t looking good or things aren’t going your way.
“I’m hungry, I always have been and always will be. I don’t think there will ever be a stage, a level or a height that I get to that will make me think ‘okay, I’m satisfied now, I won’t push myself’. My personality and way of living is to strive for more and keep pushing myself.
“It’s a whole new world that I’ve been able to see and experience and it just makes me more grateful and humble to be able to do this full-time.”
Lowe, who netted seven crucial goals last season, will be hoping to keep his place in the Cherries squad for the visit of Arsenal to Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
He said: “They have started the season very well with back-to-back wins. I think everyone has been watching their new Amazon documentary this week to see the ins and outs of the club.
“We’ll be looking to make our impact on the game and will try to make it as uncomfortable as physically possible.
“Arsenal will be a different challenge to Manchester City, so will Liverpool after that and so will every game. We just need to attack each game as they come.
“We massively deserved three points against Aston Villa, it was an unbelievable performance. We were up against the best team in the league in Manchester City but didn’t fold.
“We held our own and tried to impact the game as much as possible but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s something we will try to learn from and try to improve going forward.”
Click through the arrows above to see a selection of pictures from Jamal Lowe's career.