LATEST signing Mark Smith remained defiant after being denied the chance to repay an instalment of his £50,000 transfer fee at the Vetch Field when floodlight failure caused the match to be abandoned.
The 27-year-old ex-Rochdale winger notched up his first goal for the club to put Town comfortably in control against sluggish Swansea, being watched for the first time by their new manager, Ian Evans.
Smith was as stunned as his colleagues when it all came to nothing – but equally certain that only a floodlight failure could have put Town in the shade last night.
“I’m very disappointed that my first Town goal won’t stand and I’m absolutely gutted that we didn’t get the chance to go and take the three points,” said Smith, who was making his second full appearance since moving from Rochdale.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we would have won because we were playing pretty well, but I suppose it’s just one of those frustrating things we’ll have to put up with.
“The lads are naturally annoyed. We didn’t know anything about the lights until we were getting ready to go out for the second half.
“A linesman came into the dressing room, said there was a problem and that we might have to wait. That was that. I think we’ve been very unlucky.”
Smith struck in the 16th minute from Simon Trevitt’s cross when Swansea were already struggling to handle Town’s superior pace, passing and support work.
Manager Eoin Hand described it as Town’s best away first half of the season and Smith explained: “I’d had instructions to get in at the back post whenever we attacked down the right and it paid off nicely.
“We had put together six of seven passes before Simon Trevitt whipped the cross in hard and low and I could see it was going to come all the way through.
“A few players had a swing at the ball, the goalkeeper was scrambling to get across his goal and while I was at quite an acute angle, I just had to poke the shot home.
“It was a great feeling, especially away from home when we were playing so well, and I just wish it had earned us something”.
Town shook off the disappointments of Northampton and Scarborough in fine style and could have been further ahead by the break.
Stand-in skipper Andy May, on a tremendous 14th-minute break, was felled from behind by Chris Coleman when preparing to shoot and Mike Cecere ought to have netted after 32 minutes, firing straight at goalkeeper Lee Bracey when Andy Melville misjudged a long clearance from Steve Hardwick.
Centre-back Andy Duggan made an encouraging “debut” in central defence, where Town were untroubled, and May inspired a feverish workrate which allowed Swansea few crumbs of comfort.
A swirling cross from Peter Bodak, which Hardwick dived backwards to tip over the bar, was Town’s one moment of concern and Hand’s men – with Kieran O’Regan at left-back and Julian Winter restored to midfield – looked a completely different proposition than in their previous home displays.
All the more frustrating then, for the loyal supporters who made the 520-mile round trip that it should count for nothing.
In the replayed game, staged a month later, Town lost 1-0 when Andy Duggan (left) got the wrong side of dangerous striker Colin West to foul from behind and captain Robbie James blasted home the resulting penalty after just three minutes.