Double FA Cup goalscoring hero Matt Smith said playing for Oldham Athletic over the last 18 months has changed his world dramatically.
Smith was left staggered by his man-of-the-match role in Sunday’s victory over Premier League giants Liverpool.
Aged 18, the striker was released by Cheltenham Town and ended up playing part-time while studying at the University of Manchester – until he was discovered by Latics.
“Playing against Liverpool and scoring twice was my career highlight by a mile. Only football can do to me what has happened in the last 18 months,” said Smith.
“To be starting out in the lower levels of non-league football and doing a degree at university to then find yourself on ITV playing against Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup is pretty ridiculous.
“Sometimes you have to pinch yourself, especially when days like this happen.”
Smith joined Oldham in May 2011 but has started more often in the past month with Nottingham Forest striker Matt Derbyshire having completed a loan spell.
He added: “To play a full game against Liverpool, come out on top and to score two goals and be named man of the match is definitely the highlight of my career.
“The manager has given me my opportunity to start and have an extended run of games which has been wonderful.”
Teammate Robbie Simpson described the win as one of the high points of his career – having scoring at Anfield in last season’s cup tie between the teams.
“I won at Manchester United with Coventry City in the Carling Cup, but this ranks alongside that,” said Simpson.
“It is a great day for the football club, and not only for the prize money.
“The lads deserve it because we have had a tough run in the league.”
Oldham will play Everton at Boundary Park in the FA Cup fifth round on the weekend of February 16/17.
Image courtesy of ITV, via YouTube, with thanks.