FA Cup dreams ended last night for former Pate’s Grammar School pupil Matt Smith and Oldham Athletic, away to Everton at Goodison Park.
After a stunning cup run for the League One side, which saw 23-year-old Smith score four goals against Premier League giants Liverpool and Everton, the replay ended 3-1, Smith clinching Oldham’s only goal with a cool header into the back of the net.
Smith, whose family live in Evesham, came on from the bench in the 55th minute to replace ex-Cheltenham Town loan front man Chris Iwelumo, who had struggled to make any sort of impact.
The 6ft 6in striker instantly added extra impetus to play, creating opportunities up front and increasing the pace and level of aggression in the game.
As Oldham pressure mounted, the side seized an opportunity.
Smith was allowed too much space in the box and captialised on this, heading Jonathan Ground’s corner past Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard much to the delight of the away fans.
Everton were the first to score when Kevin Mirallas struck the ball past Dean Bouzanis in the 15th minute, before a handball by Connor Brown in the box gave a penalty to the Blues.
Leighton Baines converted the penalty to make it 2-0 to the hosts at the halftime.
A third goal was scored for the hosts in the 62nd minute, after a header from Leon Osman was fumbled by Oldham keeper Bouzanis and hit the back of the net.
As the final whistle blew, Oldham’s spirited and inspiring FA Cup run came to an end, but there is no doubt Smith’s heroics will be remembered.
Smith, who played non-League football while studying for a degree in Business Management at the University of Manchester, scored a dramatic last minute goal against Everton in the first tie to make the score 2-2 and take it to a replay to determine who would face Wigan.
But his achievements did not stop there. The tall striker scored twice against Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup, in a game they won 3-2.