Ex-Reds man Smith revels in giant-killing act

By Liam Moakes Thursday 31 January 2013 Updated: 04/02 12:32

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Buy photos » Matt Smith (right) celebrates after netting for Oldham Athletic against Liverpool. (s)

THERE was a blank weekend on the local footballing scene once again as the winter weather had its say, but Redditch did at least have something to shout about in the shape of former Redditch United striker Matt Smith's FA Cup heroics.

The giant striker scored the first two goals for Oldham Athletic in their thrilling 3-2 victory over Liverpool at Boundary Park on Sunday and was also named man of the match as the Merseyside giants were stunned.

The 6ft 6in 23-year-old, who played Conference North football for the Reds in 2010/11, was injured late in the game and had to be substituted but nothing could take away his delight as the Latics saw off the likes of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard to book a last 16 date at home to Everton.

Evesham-born Smith, who got his big break in League football when Oldham signed him from Solihull Moors in 2011, said: "It was an unbelievable occasion and it means everything to the Oldham players and fans to beat a team of Liverpool's stature.

"I look back to my university days which were not that long ago and it's all been a very rapid rise in footballing terms.

"It's incredible but shows what can be done and gives hope to lots of footballers.

"When the game was going on it was a case of not thinking of what we may achieve and just maintaining focus and thankfully we managed to see it through to the end."

Oldham's triumph was the first time seven-times FA Cup winners Liverpool had been beaten away from home in the FA Cup by a team at least two divisions below them since famously losing 2-1 against Worcester City at St George's Lane in 1959.

Smith, who also appeared for League One Oldham in their 5-1 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup last season, had given up on professional football after being released by Cheltenham aged 18 and went on to gain a degree in International Management with American Studies from the University of Manchester.

It was whilst studying that he played for the likes of Redditch, Droylsden and Moors and the rest, as they say, is now history.

With snow still lying on the Valley Stadium pitch and access to the ground very difficult, Redditch were granted permission by the league to call off Saturday's Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division match at home to Bideford 24 hours earlier in order to save the Devon outfit a potentially long and wasted trip.

The emphasis now turns to tomorrow when Simon Redhead's team host mid-table St Neots Town as they seek the three points which would complete a double over the Cambridgeshire outfit and could take them out of the bottom two if play-off chasing Barwell defeat visitors Hitchin Town.

There was no action for Studley in the Midland Alliance on Saturday as their trip to Tipton Town was postponed, as was Alvechurch's match at Coventry Sphinx and then Tuesday's encounter at Gornal Athletic.

As the Standard went to press Studley were hoping to rearrange their Midland Alliance trip to Ellesmere Rangers for tomorrow, or else they will again face a Saturday without action as their scheduled visitors Gornal Athletic are in FA Vase fourth round action at home to Wisbech Town.

Lee Knight's side are then in Birmingham Senior Cup second round action at Sutton Coldfield Town on Tuesday, when Alvechurch will visit higher ranked Hednesford Town in a quarter-final tie in the same competition.

Before that the Lye Meadow outfit will continue their push for a top six place when they host Causeway United tomorrow.

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