Sunday 1st November 2020
TEN minutes from kick-off, Chris Smith didn’t even know he was playing.
With 10 minutes left of the afternoon, he feared it was over.
He was given his chance when Kevin Dabrowski pulled out of Dumbarton’s match away to Airdrieonians on Saturday after being injured in the warm-up.
And it was one he made the most of, keeping Sons’ second clean sheet of the league season, with some spectacular saves to boot.
Close-range headers from Calum Gallagher and Kyle Connell were kept out in style – and within five minutes of each of them, Sons scored goals of their own.
But there was one red flag when, after taking a goal kick in the late stages, Chris went down injured himself.
He thought Dabrowski would be able to replace him, but he was wrong, and he saw the afternoon through.
He is now hopeful that either he or his fellow goalkeeper will be able to play against Clyde on Tuesday.
Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Chris said: “I didn’t know I was going to be playing until I was in the dressing room. Kevin had rolled his ankle in the warm-up but was out doing kicks, so I was getting ready to go on the bench.
“Then our goalkeeping coach Robert Glen said that the big man couldn’t make it. I didn’t really have much time to get prepared but it’s just one of those things.
“I’m getting on a bit, so I’d like to say my experience counted!
“Making saves is what I’m there to do, but you’ve a big part to play in the rest of it, organising and talking to your back four. But those saves made it a bit better.
“When I went down, I thought Kevin would be there as the substitute goalkeeper but the physio told me he couldn’t come on as he had to come off the teamsheet.
“So I didn’t really have much choice but to stay on. It would have been unfair on one of the boys if they’d had to go in goal.
“There was no chance I could kick the ball and I wasn’t mobile at all. I’d taken a goal kick and maybe tried to put a bit more on it, and as I did, my groin just went totally.
“I’m now nursing it and it’s just one of those ones where you need to take one for the team and just hang on for the last five or ten minutes.
“I don’t know Kevin’s situation, but I do know that I’ll just need to watch what I do between now and Tuesday.
“I’m just applying ice to it and hopefully it will react well. I wouldn’t say it’s great at the moment but we’ve another couple of days so hopefully either myself or Kevin will be there and ready to go on Tuesday.”
A win over Clyde could put Sons second in League One at close of play on Tuesday – and it’s a result Chris is optimistic they can get.
He added: “I don’t see why we can’t. It’s a good bunch of boys and there’s a good team spirit among us; that plays a big part.
“Even when I was struggling on Saturday I was playing with two big centre halves in front of me, and Nat Wedderburn was back to help out.
“The boys all played their part and we’ll look to keep going like that. We’ll keep sticking together and hopefully that can get us another result.
“It’s a totally different squad from when I was first here, but I’m enjoying it. Kevin is a great big guy and he’s done really well since he’s come to the club.
“Everybody gives 110 per cent in training and the gaffer expects nothing less. Hopefully we can kick on and put a run of results together.
“We’ve had two clean sheets in the first two league games and hopefully we can build on that.”