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Smith: "Hopefully this is the first of many now."

27 December 2017

Nathan Smith is hoping that his first goal of the season will act as a catalyst for more strikes during the second half of the campaign.

The 21-year-old defender popped up with a decisive header during the Boxing Day clash with Coventry City, one which ensures Vale’s festive form continues.

Speaking about his 80th-minute winner, Smith said: “The ball has come in towards the front post and I’ve flicked it on.  

“It’s gone in luckily, I’m not going to lie, but I’ll take it as it’s my first of the season and hopefully there will be many more to come. 

“I’m disappointed not to get a goal before this point, but hopefully this is the first of many now.”

Securing the win means it’s now four games unbeaten for the Valiants in Sky Bet League Two, but Smith insists he isn’t surprised to see the team picking up results.

He has featured in a changed defensive line over the last couple of games due to injuries and suspensions, but he believes the team have adapted well to the enforced changes.

“A few new faces have come into the back four, but we’ve done well to sit in and defend as a unit," he said.

“To only concede one in the last two games is something we can build on, especially Joe Davis coming in after a long term injury, I think he’s done very well.

“Everyone is really happy with the result today and it was one of those where we knew we could win if we went into it playing well. 

“We’ve battled hard and come out with the result. A fresh pair of legs helped at half-time and we just did the same as in the first half, keeping Coventry to a minimum before nicking one to take the points.”

Vale’s last game of 2017 sees table-topping Luton Town travel to Burslem, but despite the difficulty the fixture will pose, Smith knows he and his teammates will work in search of a result.

On the current unbeaten run, he said: “Once we get the ball rolling, we are all flying high and confidence improves.  

“It’s something to build on and we can definitely progress to continue moving up the league table.

“When the fans are edging us forward and giving us everything we need like they have done, it can make the difference and we would like to thank them for coming down.

“We’ve put together some good performances recently and hopefully we can end the year on a high with another set of three points.”

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