Matty Smith eager to make up for lost time with Derry City after Covid and injury lay frustrations

MATTY Smith has endured a frustrating start to his Derry City career with injuries and a two-week Covid layoff delaying his progress.

The striker returned to the fold as a second half substitute against Bohemians last Friday night in Dalymount for his second appearance and showed exactly why Ruaidhri Higgins worked so hard to tempt him to Foyleside with his pace and energy causing havoc for the Gypsies.

A first start of the season against UCD followed on Monday night with another impressive performance and the Scotsman is delighted to finally get his City career up and running.

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“It feels very good personally,” said the former St Pat’s striker. “I had a rough start with injuries and then Covid so coming off the bench against Bohs to get that win and my first start on Monday, it’s good to get going.”

Matty Smith pictured in action during his Derry City debut against Sligo Rovers at Brandywell. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

Smith came close to marking his full debut with a goal just 11 minutes into the match at the Belfield when Jamie McGonigle found him inside the penalty area but his low strike was parried away by Lorcan Healy.

“I probably should’ve finished that and it would’ve been great to get my first goal but we’ll take the win,” he smiled.

It threatened to be a night of frustration in Dublin until Will Patching’s spectacular intervention from a free kick with 23 minutes to go but Smith claims the team always believed they could find a way to break down UCD.

“It was another good win on the road, the boys played really well. With the quality of players we’ve got we’re always going to get chances. We had a few in the first half we probably should’ve buried but we took those chances in the second and came away with a win. The good thing is we have that belief and if we keep doing what we do, keep the ball, keep moving, with our fitness we’ve built up over pre-season, we know the goals are going to come.”

City are seeking a sixth win on the bounce and a third on the road in the space of eight days in Ballybofey but Smith knows they have a battle on their hands.

"It’s always tough going there. It’s always a right battle.”

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