Pompey striker delighted goal drought '˜nightmare' is over

Michael Smith ended his goal drought '˜nightmare' and insisted: I have the drive to go on a scoring spree.

Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:39 pm
Michael Smith celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers Picture: Joe Pepler

The on-loan striker, who signed for Pompey on transfer deadline day earlier this month, got off the mark for the Blues in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers to end a barren run in front of goal.

Smith played a pivotal role in Swindon Town’s march to the League One play-off final last season – scoring 18 times for the Wiltshire club.

But the highly-rated 21-year-old has suffered a remarkable dip in form since.

After finding himself out of favour with the Robins at the start of the campaign, Smith embarked on a torrid loan move to Barnsley.

That saw the forward pitch up at Fratton Park on the back of an 18-game goalless run.

But after firing blanks in his first two Blues outings against Morecambe and Leyton Orient respectively, it was a case of third-time lucky on Saturday.

And for Smith, it marked the end of the most frustrating period of his career so far – and a moment to savour.

He said: ‘It has been an absolute nightmare the last six or seven months.

‘And I have been a nightmare to live with – my girlfriend has been pulling her hair out!

‘But I have got a smile back on my face now.

‘I can’t explain the feeling of scoring – I have missed it so much.

‘It was all a blur but thankfully my mum and dad recorded the Football League Show!

‘I have that drive and desire to kick on now and get a few more.’

Smith impressed for Pompey in a lone striker’s role at the weekend, with his towering header helping to lift Paul Cook’s side up to fifth in the league table.

Indeed, a lively display could easily have produced a hat-trick on another day.

The forward was guilty of spurning a glorious chance to double his tally in the second half, before bringing the best out of Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall shortly afterwards.

Smith revealed his missed opportunity led to some good-humoured stick from boss Cook, as he pledged to continue to work hard on his finishing in training.

‘I had some banter with the gaffer,’ said the striker.

‘He told me I should have stuck it away – he was away celebrating!

‘It was on my left side, so I will have to go away and practice on that in training.’

The Blues’ performance against Rovers was the perfect response to the disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient.

And Smith admitted the changing room made for a much nicer place to be this time round.

He added: ‘Everyone was chuffed to bits – the atmosphere in the changing room was completely different to last weekend.

‘The boys knew what they had to do on Saturday and we delivered for the gaffer.’