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A Special Night - Matt Smith

Matt Smith says his four-star showing at Gillingham was a “special night” in his short career to date.

The striker grabbed a brace in each half to give his loan club a healthy first-leg advantage in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area final, winning 4-2 at Priestfield.

“It was a special night,” said Smith on Bristol City Player.

“I’m really happy to have scored my first senior hat-trick. I’ve had a few braces in the past but never quite managed a third.

“To get the fourth goal at the end was the cherry on top of the cake really. It was a pleasing evening.

“JET (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas) was brilliant and he tried to stretch the game by dropping into pockets before causing real danger.

“He skipped past two for the first goal before I got to his deflected cross. For the second it was his cross again, I just dived as far as I could. I was happy to see it take the keeper by surprise – it’s probably one of my better headed goals.

“That’s certainly my first backheel goal. I was so close to goal and just felt I needed a good connection.

“The fourth sat up so nicely for me. I just tried to get it on target and let the power take it in.”

The date for the second leg has yet to be confirmed, but Smith insists the tie is still alive heading back to Ashton Gate.

He added: “We were disappointed with the goals conceded and we know the tie isn’t over yet.

“We’ll focus on the second leg at Ashton Gate when it comes around and it’s nice to have a two-goal lead, but we know we still need to perform if we’re going to get to Wembley.”

That’s now eight goals in his last four appearances for Smith, who is thoroughly enjoying life at Ashton Gate.

His four-goal haul came in front of his club manager Kit Symons, who was a spectator at Priestfield last night.

“I came here to get games and match fitness, which I obviously lacked. Kit keeps in constant contact with me to see how I’m doing,” he added.

“I’ve settled in really well at Bristol City; there’s a great bunch of lads here.

“I couldn’t tell you what my immediate future holds, and it’s probably out of my hands to an extent. I’m just really enjoying it here at the moment.”

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