Korey rewards his boss for keeping faith
PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 September 2010
Korey Smith has made scoring goals against Wycombe a habit this season. The teenager scored on his home debut - a 5-2 win over the Chairboys in August - with manager Paul Lambert sufficiently impressed by his attitude on the training field to include him in his first Norwich City starting XI.
Korey Smith has made scoring goals against Wycombe a habit this season.
The teenager scored on his home debut - a 5-2 win over the Chairboys in August - with manager Paul Lambert sufficiently impressed by his attitude on the training field to include him in his first Norwich City starting XI.
On Saturday, the midfielder - back after three games out with a thigh injury - cracked home a shot after 77 minutes to help City to another success, relieving a little bit of the tension on an afternoon when City came up against a brick wall in the shape of Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Shearer.
Chris Martin, Russell Martin, Simon Lappin and Grant Holt had all gone close - and all saw Shearer equal to everything they threw at home.
But when Wes Hoolahan slipped the ball across to Smith, the youngster kept his cool and sidefooted it home, thinking about nothing other than scoring.
"To be fair you don't really think about it, you just try and concentrate on hitting the target and that's what I did," said Smith. "A couple of the lads were saying it was in the middle of the goal and stuff so the keeper couldn't save it, but they were just giving me banter - I'm just happy to get back in the team and get a goal.
"It was excellent. I've scored a couple against them now this season and it was as good as the others. Hopefully I will have more to come. I just want to keep going and try and get some more this season and keep playing well."
It wasn't just a case of sticking it in the back of the net: there were 2,000 fans at that end of the ground willing City to score.
"We were hitting the crossbar and the keeper was making great saves for fun," said Smith. "There was a point when we thought it wasn't going to come, but luckily I was able to get into the box and finish it.
"Obviously you can't get downhearted about it, you just have to keep going and keep pushing each other on. I wouldn't say we played our best in the first half, but in the second half we were really pushing and obviously the keeper was making great saves, but together we had to just work as a team and keep encouraging each other."
City started the game knowing that, with Charlton's game at Walsall called off, a win would take them into second place on goal difference - the perfect stimulant.
"We knew their game was off before we started and if we won we would go into second and that is what in the second half really spurred us on even more," said Smith.
"From the first game of the season when we lost 7-1, we have just worked so hard as a team and when you see yourself in that second place it just puts a smile on all the lads' faces and hopefully we can keep going."
Keeping going is what Smith has done: he has been a regular since Lambert walked through the door.
"It's been great for me," he acknowledged. "He put me straight in and obviously I have just been working hard and he has rewarded me with a new contract and he has kept faith with me and I can only be grateful for that and keep trying to prove I was worth it."