Smith reaches milestone on comeback trail from injury hell
Jonté Smith achieved another milestone in his comeback from injury after helping Woking get back to winning ways in the Vanarama National League at the weekend.
The Bermuda striker completed his first full 90 minutes since joining Alan Dowson’s team in a convincing 2-0 league win away to Barnet last Saturday.
“My first 90 minutes in about eight months,” Smith told The Royal Gazette.
“It’s been a long road through injury, but I finally seem to be coming out the other side of it.
“I’ll keep making strides and doing my extras to become completely match fit as soon as possible.”
Smith was injured in what proved to be his final appearance for Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham Town in the first half of the play-off, semi-final second leg against eventual winners Northampton Town in June.
He signed for Woking on January 15 after agreeing to the terms of a deal keeping him at Kingfield Stadium at least until the end of the season.
Goals either side of the interval from midfielder Jamar Loza and defender Moussa Diarra at the weekend earned Woking their first league win since December.
Loza opened the scoring in the 27th-minute at the Hive Stadium with a superb 20-yard strike before Diarra poked home from close range in the 67th-minute after midfielder Charlie Cooper’s free kick rebounded off the far post to make the game safe and complete a league double over Barnet.
“It was a great team performance and well deserved,” Smith added. “We felt in control of the game for the majority of it.“We just need to get the consistency in our performances and that’ll continue to get us the type of results we’ve been looking for.”Woking moved up to sixteenth in the standings after securing a first league win since their 3-0 home win over Hartlepool United on December 12.
Saturday’s fixture followed close on the heels of the outcome of a vote that saw the majority of teams in the league in favour of concluding the season, which had been in doubt amid a row over funding to compensate for the loss of revenue brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a real positive that our league will be continuing,” Smith said. “It has the potential to be a successful one with us being in the quarter finals of FA Trophy as well as nine points outside of the play-off places with two games in hand.
“The whole team is looking forward to continuing the hard work and going on a real good run of form.”
Woking were supposed to be back in action in the league tomorrow at home to Dover Athletic.
However, the fixture has been postponed with an announcement published on Woking’s website stating that Dover are “unable to fulfil the fixture owing to the football management, players and staff being placed on the Government Furlough scheme”.
“It’s a sad sight in football that a game needs to be postponed because of these circumstances, but it’s also very understandable,” Smith added.
“They’re protecting the long-term future of the club, and I’m sure everyone is sympathetic to the difficulties some clubs are facing financially when there haven’t been fans in the stadiums for quite some time.”
Also in the Vanarama National League, Justin Donawa came on as a 73rd-minute substitute to help visiting Solihull Moors earn a share of the spoils in a goalless draw away to Weymouth on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Milan Butterfield was not included in the Chesterfield squad that edged hosts Notts County 1-0 at Meadow Lane via Gavin Gunning’s first-half free kick.
• Nahki Wells and his Bristol City team-mates suffered their seventh straight defeat in all competitions after losing 1-0 at home to Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
Wells came on as a 69th-minute substitute, two minutes after Barnsley substitute Carlton Morris scored the only goal of the game from close range.
Meanwhile, Nigel Pearson is reportedly set to fill the vacant manager’s job after Dean Holden was sacked last week.