Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Thibault Berthier
Gold Coast City goal machine Sam Smith says he is eager to break his Westfield FFA Cup scoring duck when his side hosts Western Knights on Wednesday night.
The English striker has been a revelation since joining the club for the 2017 season – finding the back of the net 20 times across the league campaign to help his side to the top of the table in the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland.
However, despite appearing twice in City’s three qualifying matches, he is yet to trouble the scorers in the national knock-out competition.
The former Rushden and Diamonds and Lincoln City player said he has his sights firmly fixed on changing that in the club’s biggest match of the season to date.
“I’ll definitely be looking for my first goal in the competition and I will be doing everything I can to do that” he said.
“Although the most important thing is winning the game and if I can get on the scoresheet too then that would be great.”
While his pedigree as a marksman is unquestioned – claiming leading goalscorer awards at both Diamonds and the Imps in his homeland – Smith surprisingly credits a City defender as the key to his stunning season.
“If you’re superstitious then you’d have to credit Jaiden Walker’s shin pads,” Smith explained.
“In the first game of the season up in Cairns I misplaced my shin pads. Jaiden had a spare pair and when I came on in that game I scored.”
“He let me keep them and I’ve scored in nearly every game since, so I’ll have to give him some credit if I win the Golden Boot.”
Smith also said the presence of strike partner Jarrod Kyle, who scored five goals in qualifying, benefitted both players and the team.
“We get along really well and there’s a friendly rivalry there.”
“I don’t know what the assist ratio is, but with him setting me up and me setting him up, we have scored a few together this year.”
The strike partnership has also thrived despite some doubt clouding a goal credited to Kyle against Brisbane Strikers earlier in the season.
“I really wouldn’t want to take it away from Jarrod. But he headed it across the goal and I don’t think it was going in until I put it in - he will probably tell you differently though,” Smith said with a laugh.
“The referee obviously put it down the way he did. So I’ve accepted it. But, in my opinion, my record stands at 21 (goals), but I know officially it is 20.”
Smith added that he is loving his time on the Gold Coast, which saw him take to the beach as part of the reveal of City’s new Puma playing kit.
“I still find it surreal. I’m used to a lesser climate. So it’s amazing to be in the middle of winter and waking up to a blue sky and 23 degrees.”
Referring to the new kit, Smith said the players are excited by the new look and the high quality.
“The players like to be playing in a kit that looks good and fits well. All the lads are happy with it – I know I am.”
“I now just can’t wait to play in it in the FFA Cup on Wednesday,” he concluded.
City will take a weekend off from their PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues duties in order to prepare for the Westfield FFA Cup clash with Knights – the match marking the first time City will play a West Australian club in a competitive fixture.
Westfield FFA Cup 2017 – Round of 32
Gold Coast City FC v Western Knights SC
Wednesday, August 2 | 7:30PM
Duncan Mckenna Field, Palm Beach
Tickets - Adults $15, Concession $5, Under 5's FREE
Watch the match via LIVE STREAM via broadcast partner Fox Sports - https://www.foxsports.com.au/football/ffa-cup/live-stream