view Smith's match-by-match record
 
Phil SMITH

A goalkeeper signed on a year's contract in July 2006, as backup to loan signing Peter Brezovan, Smith became available after his previous club, Crawley Town, went into administration and breached all of their players' contracts - he signed for the Town after a successful trial, and despite being one of only five contracted players to return to pre-season training with Crawley.

Brezovan's superb form at the start of the season meant that Smith began his Town career on the sidelines, and with manager Dennis Wise preferring not to name a substitute keeper, Smith's opportunities were limited to cup competitions. He made his debut in a 2-2 draw with Brentford in the Carling Cup on August 22nd that the Town went on to lose on penalties.

Smith's chance in the first team finally came in October, when Brezovan sustained a badly broken arm in a victory over Grimsby. Smith took his place between the sticks in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Wycombe, then made his league debut the following week, pulling off a superb last minute save to preserve the Town's 2-1 victory at Shrewsbury. That game proved to be manager Dennis Wise's last at Swindon, and when caretaker boss Ady Williams brought in another keeper, Andy Lonergan, on loan, Smith seemed set for another spell out of the side - until Lonergan was refused permission to play in the FA Cup a week later. In new boss Paul Sturrock's first match against Carlisle, Smith gave a good performance, and did enough to keep his place - Lonergan soon returning to Preston.

Over the coming months, Smith performed well - so much so that the loss of Brezovan was almost forgotten - the fans voting for Smith as the PFA Fans Player of the Month in December, the same award that Brezovan picked up earlier in the season. Smith celebrated with another superb performance in a top-of-the-table clash at MK Dons, saving a penalty to ensure the Town's victory, and then later in January, Smith was rewarded with a new two year contract, taking him to the end of the 2008/09 season. He remained in excellent form for the rest of the season, and as the Town secured promotion to League One, Smith was named as the Supporters' Club Player of the Year.

Though Brezovan returned from his injury in time for the following campaign, Smith was handed the number one jersey, and began the season as the Town's first choice. It was a position he kept until mid-October, when a hernia injury forced him out of the side for almost three months. By the time he had returned to action, not only had Brezovan re-established himself as first choice, but Sturrock had left to join Plymouth. New manager Maurice Malpas finally gave Smith a chance in February, and after an unconvincing return in a 3-0 defeat against Walsall, Smith was blamed for an equalising goal at Oldham, but kept his place for the following match against Leeds - his 50th appearance for the Town. Smith made just one more appearance though before Brezovan was recalled, and Smith did not appear again for the remainder of the season.

Smith continued on the bench for the opening few games of the 2008/09 season, but was handed a starting position at the end of August after Brezovan had taken some of the blame for three successive defeats. Smith gave a good performance overall, but was blamed himself for MK Dons' equaliser, when he failed to deal with a cross into the box. Though Smith kept his place into October, he was guilty of making some awful blunders - and though manager Malpas defended him after he dropped a free-kick into the net against Leeds, he dropped Smith when he fumbled another free-kick at Hartlepool, a match in which Swindon squandered a three goal lead.

The chopping and changing did nothing for either goalkeepers' confidence - both of whom were now under intense scrutiny from the fans. Smith was back in the side just three weeks later, when Brezovan took a knock to his ankle - and he returned with what Malpas described as an "outstanding display". The following week, Smith retired hurt just ten minutes into the FA Cup defeat at Histon, but he was fit enough to start the next match, as the Town were knocked out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Brighton. These two results cost Malpas his job, and Smith continued in his position until Boxing Day, when he was dropped back to the bench with new manager Danny Wilson watching in the stands. More unconvincing displays from Brezovan prompted Wilson to hand Smith his chance in mid-March, and Smith cited the last few weeks of the season as being the most important in his career, as he aimed to earn himself a new contract. As the Town belatedly lifted themselves out of relegation danger, Smith continued in goal for the rest of the season and gave some improved performances, including saving a penalty on the last day at Peterborough. Days later, thirteen players were released, but Smith was one of just four of seventeen out of contract players offered new deals - and he admitted that just three months previously, he had been "on his arse" not expecting to be kept on.

Though Peter Brezovan left the club during the close season, David Lucas and Jakub Jesionkowski joined to compete for the number one jersey - and with both Lucas and Smith displaying good form during pre-season, Wilson admitted that his biggest selection headache was which goalkeeper to choose. He eventually decided to go with Lucas, and though Smith was only used throughout the season when Lucas was out through injury, he rediscovered some of his best form when called upon - not least in the second leg of the Play-Off semi-final at Charlton, when Lucas retired injured just minutes into the game. Though Smith spoke of his frustration at not being first choice, he was offered a new two year contract in February after suggesting that he should perhaps go out on loan, and he agreed to sign.

Injury to Lucas at the start of the 2010/11 season meant that Smith started the campaign, but when both of the opening two games ended in defeat, Lucas' return saw Smith dropped again to the bench - but an injury-hit campaign for Lucas gave Smith far more game time throughout the year. In mid-September, boss Wilson revealed that he thought Smith had improved vastly, and there was only a fine gap between the two - and when November came, after Lucas had conceded eight goals in three games, as well as having niggling injury problems, Smith was given his chance. He kept his place well into the new year - Wilson hailing the keeper's performances during this period - but with the Town struggling for form, a soft goal conceded during a 3-0 defeat at Leyton Orient in February persuaded Wilson to change things again, with Lucas regaining his starting position.

Three matches later, Wilson resigned as Town boss, and new manager Paul Hart kept Lucas in for his first game in charge - and though Hart seemed to prefer Lucas as his first choice, his persistent injuries meant that Smith played more often, as Swindon's relegation to League Two was finalised. Over the close season, though Lucas moved to Rochdale, new boss Paolo di Canio signed Mattia Lanzano from the lower reaches of Italian football to replace him - Smith admitting that he had resigned himself to being second choice again during the forthcoming campaign.

A pre-season injury to Lanzano handed the shirt to Smith for the season's opening however - but when Swindon lost five of their first seven games in all competitions and with Smith deemed to have been at fault for some of the goals conceded, Lanzano was installed as the first choice keeper when he returned. The Italian made a terrible start to his Town campaign, and Smith was reinstated just four games later - a comfortable 4-0 win over Barnet - before being substituted in the next game after picking up an injury at Macclesfield. By the time he returned to action, di Canio had signed Wes Foderingham on loan - and the youngster was a revelation - keeping clean sheets in each of his first six games, and only conceding one goal at the County Ground in the league all season.

Smith was recalled when Foderingham was rested for a home Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie against AFC Wimbledon, and he was the hero of the hour - saving three penalties in the shoot out as the Town progressed to the Area Semi-Finals. With Swindon and in particular Foderingham performing so well in the league though, Smith was restricted to just one more league appearance - when di Canio left Foderingham out of the trip to Gillingham as punishment for his involvement in a late night drinking session, Smith was named between the sticks for a match in which Swindon needed just a point to seal promotion - though the game was lost by three goals to one, results elsewhere meant that promotion was confirmed. After making an apology for his antics, Foderingham was recalled the following weekend as the League Two title was sealed.

When Smith's contract expired at the end of the season, di Canio chose not to renew it - the Town keeper obviously bitter about the way his release was handled by the club - initially posting a message on social networking site Twitter which implied that di Canio had not spoken to Smith himself - though the message was swiftly removed.

PLAYING RECORD:

Season LEAGUE FA CUP LEAGUE CUP OTHER TOTAL
Played Gls Played Gls Played Gls Played Gls Played Gls
'11/'12 8 - - - 2 - 1 - 11 -
'10/'11 26 (+1) - 3 - 1 - 1 - 31 (+1) -
'09/'10 5 (+2) - 1 - - - 2 - 8 (+2) -
'08/'09 25 - 1 - - - 2 - 28 -
'07/'08 15 - - - - - - - 15 -
'06/'07 31 - 3 - 1 - 1 - 36 -
TOTAL 110 (+3) - 8 - 4 - 7 - 129 (+3) -


TRANSFER INFORMATION:

DATE IN/OUT TRANSFER DETAIL
27 JUL 2006 IN Crawley Town
(unattached)
18 MAY 2012 OUT (released)


full name

Philip Anthony Smith


 ENGLAND

date of birth
14 December 1979


             
             
             
             
             
           

usual positions
goalkeeper

youth career
Millwall

senior career
Millwall
Bromley (loan)
Ashford Town (loan)
Folkestone Invicta
Dover Athletic
Margate
Crawley Town
SWINDON TOWN
Portsmouth
Dartford (loan)
Aldershot Town

website links
Twitter