Smith: Pleasing Finale

Monday 9 May 2016 16:30

Matt Smith felt Fulham were good value for the result on Saturday, as they saw off the challenge of Bolton Wanderers in their season finale.

Despite controlling proceedings from the off, the Whites had to settle for a 1-0 win over the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom side, but Smith was just happy to end the campaign in positive fashion.

“It was really nice to sign off with a win,” he told the official website. “It was really difficult conditions, it was so hot out there, but we were in control for the full 90 minutes.

“We really dictated the play and were under very little pressure. We knew they’d be dangerous at set-pieces but I thought we were very organised and dealt with them well.

“To be honest, there could have been a few more goals. It was just nice to have that feel-good factor at the end of what’s been a very long, difficult season.”

Despite having 26 efforts on goal to Bolton’s seven, Fulham had to wait until the 77th minute to make the breakthrough when Tom Cairney curled home delightfully.

That was largely down to an excellent display by visiting goalkeeper Ben Amos, who thwarted Smith on more than one occasion.

“The keeper’s pulled off a couple of worldies,” he admitted. “It can be difficult when you’re dictating the play and trying to keep the tempo up when the rub of the green’s not going for you in front of goal, but we kept going and we knew that the breakthrough would come, and it did with a great finish from Tom.

“Maybe I could have had one or two myself but overall I’m pleased with the afternoon. The keeper made some good saves and I had a header as well at the back post that I should have buried, that’s bread and butter for me, so that was disappointing as I would like to have scored. But ultimately we got the win, and in a very comfortable manner.

“That was my first 90 minutes of the season and I felt a bit rusty at times but I put myself about as best I could and worked my socks off and tried to do my best for the team.”

The victory was accompanied by a rare clean sheet, just Fulham’s sixth all season, and the defensive display earned praise from Smith.

“That was pleasing,” he stated. “I thought we conducted ourselves very well at the back, [Shaun] Hutchy and Dan [Burn] were great, particularly on the set-pieces as that’s really been our Achilles heel this season.

“I didn’t think we really looked in any danger. They did have a number of ball entries into the box, so I think we handled it really well and it’s very pleasing to end the season on that note.”

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