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Survival is key for hero Smith
11:10am Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport
EVESHAM goal hero Matt Smith says Oldham Athletic’s FA Cup fifth-round replay against Everton will take a back seat while the Latics bid to preserve their League One status.
The former Evesham United junior and Littleton striker was again in the national spotlight after his last-gasp equaliser at Boundary Park earned a 2-2 draw against the Premier League Toffees.
But the 6ft 6ins powerhouse, who scored twice to knock Liverpool out in the previous round, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground ahead of next Tuesday’s rematch at Goodison Park.
League strugglers Oldham won 2-1 at Stevenage in midweek, with Smith setting up the first goal, and host Portsmouth on Saturday. Smith said of the cup tie: “It was an unbelievable occasion, not just for me personally but for the club.
“It was a real experience and pretty overwhelming but I was over the moon with it and look forward to going to Goodison Park.
“We realise it’s going to be a completely different occasion but, for now, we have to put it to the back of our minds and concentrate on important games before that. It’s time to start putting points on the board.”
Smith, a second-half substitute against Everton following two games out with a shoulder injury, headed home past Tim Howard amid a crowded sixyard box to send the Oldham faithful delirious.
“It was made even more special given that some of my closest friends from school and university were there along with my parents,” he said.
Smith, 23, has enjoyed a rapid rise in the professional game having been playing Midland Combination football for Littleton just two years ago.
His father Dr Ian Smith, who works as a GP in Evesham, said: “It was incredible, you couldn’t write the script.
“It was an amazing last half hour in the game and getting the equaliser with the final kick was the icing on the cake. I didn’t imagine it would happen in my wildest dreams.”
He added: “Just seeing him come on and do so well was tremendous.”