Smith hun­gry for goals on re­turn to Ro­mans’ squad

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - Henry Bur­ridge Sports Writer @Hjbur­ridge | 01225 322264 henry.bur­ridge@reach­

Re­turn­ing loa­nee Tom Smith is eye­ing more Bath City goals af­ter open­ing his 2018/19 ac­count against Lewes. The 20-year-old bagged the third and fi­nal goal of the Ro­mans’ FA Cup third qual­i­fy­ing round on Satur­day win, fin­ish­ing through the keeper’s legs. Af­ter draw­ing rave re­views with 11 goals in his 30 games over two loan spells at Tw­er­ton Park last term, Smith is eager to get as close as he can to that to­tal – if not over­come it. “Com­ing from last sea­son I scored loads of goals, so I’ve come back here to do the same; score a few goals if not more,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously af­ter the last game, get­ting my match fit­ness back, it was nice to get back on the score­sheet and give some­thing back to the fans.” Be­fore Smith had got on the score­sheet with 20 min­utes to play, Ryan Brunt and Adam Mann had struck. Brunt’s opener, con­vert­ing a Ross Stearn cross from the left, came a sec­ond be­fore the 45 minute-mark fol­low­ing a closely fought first half against Isth­mian League Lewes. But the sec­ond half was a dif­fer­ent story as the Ro­mans stepped up and took full con­trol, Man dou­bling the ad­van­tage by nut­meg­ging a de­fender and driv­ing into the bot­tom cor­ner, be­fore Smith killed the con­test. “Af­ter the first half we needed to sort a few things out; the tac­tics and for­ma­tion,” the Chel­tenham loa­nee said. “It was nice to put it right in the sec­ond half and col­lec­tively we were bet­ter. “The or­gan­i­sa­tion, and we were more ag­gres­sive in the sec­ond half, and I that showed with the two goals in the end, and I think we could have got more. “To be hon­est, I don’t think we re­ally de­served the goal in the first half, but it was re­ally nice to get the goal on the stroke of half-time. “That led us nicely into the sec­ond half, a lit­tle bit of con­fi­dence. Go­ing into the sec­ond half we built on that, hav­ing spo­ken about the ar­eas we needed to im­prove on.” There were a num­ber of new faces for Smith to meet upon his re­turn to the club, with all of Jerry Gill’s sum­mer re­cruits im­prov­ing the squad. He said: “Jerry’s had more time with the play­ers and brought in a lot of new play­ers as well. “I’ve kept in touch with Jerry as well, and seen them play when I haven’t been here. “The style is still the same but the cal­i­bre of play­ers brought in is much bet­ter and it’s nice to fit into that. “The com­pe­ti­tion’s gone up. We’ve got bet­ter play­ers in this year and there’s com­pe­ti­tion for places, so you need to be on the ball ev­ery time you go out and you need to be per­form­ing.” Smith orig­i­nally joined on loan from Swin­don Town last term, but was re­leased in the sum­mer. City were among those in­ter­ested in his sig­na­ture, but Smith chose to re­main in full-time foot­ball with League Two Chel­tenham Town. But chances for the young­ster have been few and far be­tween, par­tic­u­larly with Gary John­son re­placed in the dugout by Robins le­gend Michael Duff early in the sea­son. As such, Smith is de­lighted to be get­ting se­nior ac­tion with the Ro­mans. “The sit­u­a­tion was that I was’t get­ting in the squad [at Chel­tenham],” he ex­plained. “I had a chat with him [Duff ] and for me, at my age, I need to be get­ting out and play­ing games. It’s a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to last sea­son. “There’s a big squad at Chel­tenham, never say never there, but this cur­rent sit­u­a­tion I need to be play­ing games and I’m at my best when I play.” Though Smith has fea­tured for Chel­tenham’s de­vel­op­ment out­fit, noth­ing com­pares to com­pet­i­tive, men’s foot­ball. He added: “I’ve played a cou­ple of de­vel­op­ment games, out of po­si­tion though. “It’s not re­ally what I want to be do­ing in terms of match min­utes. Ob­vi­ously it’s not the best; it’s more fit­ness. “It’s nice to get a few 90 min­utes, but it doesn’t com­pare to 90 min­utes in cen­tre-mid out there in Con­fer­ence South.”

Tom Smith scored the third goal – his first since re­join­ing the Ro­mans – through the keeper’s legs

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