Smith encouraged with start at ECU

Smith encouraged with start at ECU

Posted on June 17, 2016 in 'News'

New English defender Rikki Smith was outstanding in his debut for the Jacks last week, a 3-0 win against their closest rivals and a clean sheet to boot.

Smith, 29, who joined from Inglewood United in the transfer window, said to win in his first game was well deserved. “It was a good victory, the boys have said we need to be harder to break down, and looking at some of the results earlier on in the year, we have struggled when we’ve gone ahead,” he said. “We missed some really good chances in the first half today, but the coaches said we had to go out in the second half and keep our heads up and keep working, because we were the better said, and it the energy worked and we got our rewards and three top points.”

Smith said it was a typical derby game and he said those sorts of games bring the best out of him and he’s hoping to continue that for the rest of the season and help the Jacks move up the table. “It’s nice for me to come into game like this, as people who know me can tell you, I like to roll my sleeves up and scrap for every ball,” he explained. “Some of the boys said the last few season’s the results have favoured Sorrento, but we dug in deep today and the two young lads at full back and Ryan in the middle was excellent as well, so it was a good defensive performance.”

The defender praised keeper Lewis Italiano, who pulled off one of the saves of the season early in the game to keep Sorrento out, and he said they were a little edgy early on. “There was a period early in the game when they got on top of us, and we we’re a little shaky, I think with all the new players in the side, and we really needed to slow things down, and were a little too deep” he said. “Luckily for us Lewis is a top, top goalkeeper, and we’re really lucky to have him, and he pulled off a stunning save to keep us in the game and his distribution today was outstanding, and it gives us something more going forward.”

With the season only half way through at present, ECU sit in eighth spot four points out of the play offs, but Smith said with the quality they have in the squad and new players the club have recruited, they will be aiming to push up the table in coming weeks. “We had four news players in the starting eleven today, and players with a great deal of experience, and it helped today,” he said. “But you have to talk about the lads who were left out today, after good games last week against Inglewood. They were a little unlucky not to start, but the gaffer made the call and those players come off the bench today and were top draw, and it shows the good attitude all-round at the club at the moment, and that’s one of the reasons why I come here.”