Matt Smith made an instant impact to earn Millwall a precious point at Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.
Trailing to Dominic Solanke’s strike on the stroke of half-time, the Lions forward stepped off the bench and was celebrating the equaliser less than two minutes after his introduction.
Smith had played just 88 minutes across Millwall’s previous six matches in all competitions, but gave Gary Rowett a timely reminder of his goalscorer instincts when he prodded home 11 minutes from time following an assist from Jake Cooper.
Despite it being just his second Championship goal of the campaign, the former QPR striker has only started five matches – the last coming more than a month ago – with the likes of Troy Parrott, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Tom Bradshaw and loanee Kenneth Zohore all often preferred to Smith.
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His late strike was unable lead Millwall to just their second league victory in 14 matches, but did move Rowett’s men seven points clear of the relegation-zone ahead of a crunch clash at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Here’s how The Den faithful reacted to Smith’s late performance against the Cherries on Twitter:
I honestly don't know why Rowett doesn't start Matt Smith more often. I can only think Smith was the one to give Rowett Covid. #Millwall
— BermondseyBoy5.0 (@LovelyGeezer65) January 12, 2021
Think it’s clear Smith and Thompson need more game time. Leonard is quality too. Well done Millwall. 👏🏻
— C (@cmfc1885) January 12, 2021
Smith comes on and scores straight away 😂 lets hope he gets more minutes from this point onwards. We would’ve definitely had more goals if he played more. #Millwall
— 👋 (@FIFASLAYER7) January 12, 2021
Matt Smith scores goal pic.twitter.com/Bz0zUwEoDO
— COYL (@Millwall_03) January 12, 2021
Don’t understand why we don’t play Smith more! He’s more of a goal threat than any of our other strikers #Millwall
— Anthony Prior (@Anthonyprior_) January 12, 2021
Matt Smith shows more threat on goal than Troy Parrot has done in 3 games
— Dolbs (@MillwallDolbs2) January 12, 2021
Smith taking about 6 seconds to score after not playing for weeks. Makes you think
— JP (@JPMillwall) January 12, 2021
Matt Smith scores goals. End of
— Millwall Analytics (@MillwallAnalyt1) January 12, 2021
Imagine not playing a proven championship striker 😂🙄
— Jason (@jsavageMFC) January 13, 2021