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19 November 2016

Striker opens his league account at Cheltenham

He excelled when bagging a treble at Yeovil in the Checkatrade Trophy in September.

But Michael Smith was still searching for a first league goal of the season when he was sent on for the final 15 minutes against Cheltenham.

Pompey were trailing to Daniel O’Shaughnessy’s strike, despite creating the better chances at Whaddon Road.

So there was both personal and team joy when Smith capitalised on a goalkeeping mistake to stab home a late Blues equaliser.

The striker said: “I can’t really remember who crossed the ball, but thankfully the keeper spilled it and I just had to follow it up. Thankfully, it ended up in the back of the net.

“There was a lot of frustration released in my celebration and it was a great feeling to score in front of the travelling fans.

“I did get the hat-trick at Yeovil, but it’s nice to finally get off the mark in the league this season.

“The manager told me to be a handful when I was sent on and just try to get on the end of things in the box.

“I think we’re very unfortunate not to have left with all three points because of the chances we created.

“There were a lot of opportunities in the game and we were tremendous in a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half.”

Smith has had to be content with a place on the bench in recent weeks, with Conor Chaplin – who is suspended for Tuesday night’s trip to Luton – preferred up front.

Pompey’s number nine said: “It’s hard to complain when Conor’s performing so well in the league and you just have to stay patient.

“We’ve got a good group of players here and everyone supports each other. That’s definitely the case with the strikers.

“I knew that I’d get another chance, so I had to be ready to take it and that’s exactly what happened.”

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