A last gasp equaliser was perhaps worthy of marking a special milestone for Hednesford Town manager Rob Smith after he clocked up 300 games in-charge of the Pitmen during our home match against Coalville Town.
Following the fixture, Smith spoke of his pride at clocking up that number of games:
“I’m just really proud; I think in this day and age it is an achievement. I have got to say that barring the first few weeks of being back this time I have enjoyed every single minute of it.
“I do feel as though it is a perfect fit for me being here. I’m really at my most relaxed here and I’m enjoying the journey again. It is a great place to be.
Rob’s first game at the helm came all the way back on 2nd October 2010 when we played out a goalless draw against Brackley Town. His last game of his first spell was also a draw as our game at North Ferriby United on Saturday 22nd August 2015 ended 1-1.
Smith returned to Keys Park in September 2017 and oversaw a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town in his first game back at the club – resulting in a progressive rise up the table leaving us on the fringe of the top five.
When looking back over those 300 games there were two that stood out for obvious reasons:
“For me the FC United play-off game sticks out as a memorable game, but the West Auckland away game in the FA Cup is probably the most amazing game I’ve ever been involved in.
“There have been a lot of good ones over the years, winning at North Ferriby and other places like that also stand out, but I’d say FC United and the West Auckland game were the main two and overall it has been an unbelievable journey.”
That journey has had a number of ups and downs seeing us clock up 168 victories, 52 draws and 80 losses – scoring 584 goals and conceding 405 in the process.
“There have been a few difficult times along the way as you are always steadily rebuilding. This time around has been difficult but it has been great to work here again with some of the players and teams that we have had – working with different characters and seeing players going onto bigger and better things has been one of the proudest moments as well. When you look back at some of the players we’ve had here it has been tremendous and this squad are producing the same.”
During those 300 games the manager has overseen the development of a number of players – some of which have gone on to play in the Football League.
We ended by asking him if there was one which stood out:
“That would have to be Ozzie – for just his pure ability. I remember that goal at Lowestoft when he struck the ball from his own half and into the net.
“Alongside him though you have got Cheyenne, Clemmo, Elliott, Pedro – going back to those days – with the majority of those having gone on to bigger and better things with it being great to see them progress.”
Here is to the next 300 Rob!