January 26th 2004 Att.113

‘Return of a legend’

Who would have believed that 14 years after making his debut for the Robins, Pete Smith would return to the Showground and make his second ‘full debut’ with such devastating effect- he came on as a sub. earlier in the season. It was certainly the most remarkable ‘debut’ ever seen on this ground as ‘Pop-it-in-Pete’ scored four goals, could have had eight, and was unfortunate not to have scored at least six. Phenomenal, incredible, outstanding, unbelievable, amazing, choose your own adjectives to describe Pete’s performance.
Each and every time he received the ball, panic set into the visitor’s defence, as the returning hero waltzed past startled defenders and rained shots in on goal. Castleton Gabriels had no answer to his control, dribbling skills, enthusiasm, speed of thought, tirelessness and all round brilliant display.
A tremendous goalkeeping display and some last ditch desperate defending kept Pete out until 35 minutes of the North West Counties Second Division game against bottom side Castleton. A second goal came almost immediately and the hat-trick was completed just after half time. Pete then wrapped up the scoring two minutes from the end to send the Rochdale side home absolutely delighted at having conceded only six goals. Smithy not only completed the full 90 minutes, he was also running just as quickly at the end as he had been at the beginning. If he was playing for the team regularly then promotion would surely be a formality. It was nice to see a better than average crowd at the game, though I’m sure that if we’d known of his appearance a couple of days in advance, there would have been many more here.
It was Pete’s third hat-trick for the club, the others coming at Cheadle Town in a 5-0 win in May ’91, and against Gretna in April ’94 during a 4-2 Robins victory, but it was the first time that he’d hit four. His 35th minute strike against Castleton was his first goal since he scored his second, and the team’s third, in a 3-2 F.A.Cup replay win over Goole Town on August 31st 1995.
The four goals took his overall tally to 126 in all competitions, and put him in sight of record goalscorer Paul Baker who has 147.
Well done Pete, there aren’t too many Great Harwood supporters but we’re all proud of you.

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©2009 J Fenton