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Smith on the mark

2 April 2013

Matt finish in reserve draw

Matt Smith was on target for Latics' reserves in their 1-1 draw against Walsall in Central League, West Division at Chapel Road.

The striker (pictured), given a reserve run out to sharpen him up after an injury lay off, impressed and could easily have scored a hat trick against the Saddlers.

It was an excellent workout for Latics as they were up against a vastly experienced Walsall side which included senior players like former Latics' defender Dean Holden, Ben Purkiss, Nicky Featherstone, Richard Taundry, George Bowerman and Ashley Hemmings.

Latics also called upon the likes of Smith, Cristian Montano, Carl Winchester and new loan signing Bobby Reid, though Federico Bassone pulled out through injury.

Mal Benning and Purkiss both hit the woodwork for Walsall in the opening half when Latics snatched a 41st minute lead through Smith.

Daniel Taylor and Kirk Millar linked up well to set up Smith who burst clear and rounded keeper James Belcher before coolly finishing.

Walsall equalised in the 52nd minute when keeper Liam Jacob, who made a couple of brilliant blocks in the match, handled outside the area and Richard Taundry whipped a low angled free kick which crept in at the near post.

Smith had a couple of decent chances for Latics, but both headers flew narrowly wide.

They also went close when Ben George headed against his own crossbar while clearing a Millar cross.

Walsall were denied by the woodwork for a third time when Josh Hawker struck the crossbar with a 25-yard drive.

And in the last minute, Bowerman had a good chance for the visitors, but shot just over.


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