Opinion: Pompey relief for Smith
There's an old phrase in football that it doesn't matter who puts the ball in the back of the net, as long as the goals go in.
Try telling that to the scorer.
For Michael Smith, Saturday’s game against Cheltenham had been a long time coming - and a moment to savour.
‘I have missed that feeling’, he admitted in his post-match interview with my colleague Neil Allen.
Having started the season as Pompey’s main striker, it didn’t take long for the man signed permanently from Swindon in the summer to fall down the Blues pecking order.
Indeed, Conor Chaplin, Noel Hunt and Curtis Main have all been preferred by boss Paul Cook in the ensuing months as Smith failed to make his mark.
A hat-trick at Yeovil in the Checkatrade Trophy – possibly the only positive to have come from Pompey’s entry into the farcical competition – showed glimpses of the towering striker’s quality.
But no goals from seven League Two outings heading to Whaddon Road told the tale of a man low on confidence in front of goal.
Confidence, though, is a funny thing in football.
And having got himself off the mark in the league with a late leveller at Cheltenham, relieved Smith will now be hoping to start firing on all cylinders for the Blues.
He may not have to wait long for his next opportunity, either, with Chaplin ruled out of action at Luton tomorrow night through suspension.
And just imagine what a winning goal for Smith against a promotion rival would do for his confidence going forward.