RICHIE Smallwood admits his first goal of the season was too long in coming.

Smallwood’s added-time penalty at Grimsby was his first appearance on the scoresheet since a header against Gillingham over a year ago.

The skipper netted three times in his first season with City and revealed his frustration at such a long wait to add to his tally.

“I’ve got nowhere near as many as I wanted when I first came to the club,” said Smallwood.

“I seem to have had a lot of chances, a lot of blocks, a lot of mishits, a couple of goals but I wanted to get a few more.

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“I know it was a penalty and not from open play but they all count towards the confidence and hopefully that can kick start one or two more.

“I keep trying to get forward with playing two in the middle and hopefully I can get a few more now before the end of the season.”

Smallwood, given penalty duties in the absence of Andy Cook, kept his composure to blast home the equaliser on Monday after a lengthy delay before he could take the spot-kick.

“I didn’t realise the opposition could make a substitution when you’ve just had a red card and a penalty. That’s a new one I’ve not seen before.

“It was a long wait but I didn’t want to change my mind and made sure I hit it where I wanted.

“I just kept myself relaxed and looked at the clock a few times to see what minute it was.

“I was talking to the ref and not getting distracted by listening to the opposition players.

“It was a shame it wasn’t for the win but we managed to get a point and we move on.”

Smallwood rescued a point from an ugly encounter at Blundell Park that was spoiled by so many stoppages. He felt it was as tough to play in as to watch.

“There was no rhythm or routine at all. You couldn’t get going because the referee was stopping it for every little foul and push.

“It drives you mad and I was lucky enough not to get a yellow card first half. I just managed to compose myself and didn’t say too much.

“It must be a record for long throws into the opposition box or down the line. That’s all they wanted.”

Smallwood praised the four City subs for making an impact – with Tyreik Wright supplying the cross which saw Brad Halliday bundled over for the penalty.

Jamie Walker, Clarke Oduor and Harry Chapman also livened up the visitors in the closing stages.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Richie Smallwood's last goal was at Gillingham in February 2023Richie Smallwood's last goal was at Gillingham in February 2023 (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Smallwood said: “I thought the changes were good and helped us get a foothold in the game and pile on a little bit of pressure. We had more control in the final third.

“It was pleasing to see the lads come off the bench and make an impact.

“That’s what a team is all about. You’ve got to keep fighting to the end and everyone plays a part when you need them.”

With four points over Easter, Smallwood believes City are over the recent slump which saw them lose four on the bounce and concede 13 goals in the process.

“We were really low after a bad run – we were at rock bottom - but the last two results have been promising.

“Friday was a good performance against a Tranmere side that were in good form.

“We didn’t play too much great attacking football on Monday because the game was so stop-start. But we kept trying, didn’t give up and got our rewards in the end.

“Hopefully that can give us a bit of confidence to finish the season on a high and as positive as possible.

“We’ll take it game by game and get as many points as we can. We’d obviously like to win every single game and we’ve got to keep trying.”