AN ISLAND footballer became the youngest ever goalscorer in FA Cup history following Newport’s extra preliminary round win against Fleet Town.
Finn Smith, aged 16 years and one day on matchday, scored the Island side’s third goal, writing himself into the history books as the youngest ever goalscorer on record.
To play in the FA Cup, players must be 16 years or over, with the previous goalscoring record set at 16 years and 25 days.
Smith had only joined Newport the day before, and entered the game as a substitute in the second half.
The Island side comprehensively beat Fleet Town 3-1 on the road to set up a preliminary round fixture with AFC Stoneham on Saturday.
“I didn’t know what to think at first,” said Finn, who lives in Brading and supports Premier League side West Ham.
“It was a perfect debut.
“The goal wasn’t anything special. I noticed the defender had pulled his hamstring, so I made the run and called for it, and Conner (Kelly) found me.
“I fell in love with football after my first season with Brading.
“I’m hoping to get as much game time as possible this season.
“Training with the adults is a real step up.
“It’s very quick and much more physical. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to the pace.”
Finn’s parents, Jamie and Louise, couldn’t be prouder of their son, and were at the game to see him make history.
“It was brilliant,” said dad, Jamie.
“We knew he was going to come on at some point, and he touched the ball a couple of times before he scored.
“We had an inkling he’d broken the record, but it took a while before it was confirmed.
“We’re really proud. He’s worked so hard, and been playing football since he was about four years old.
“As soon as he could walk he was kicking a ball around the house.
“I was his youth football coach. He started at Brading for the U8s and moved on to Newport when he was 12.”
Newport co-manager, Steve Brougham said: “For me, the FA Cup has always been special, and Finn broke the record in his first ever adult game of football.
“He signed only the day before, and I told him we might need him for the game.
“He was happy to be involved in the squad and showed a lot of character, and wasn’t daunted by the occasion.
“That day will be with him for the rest of his life, and it’s unlikely the record will ever be broken.
“Fair play to him. He was keen to sign for us on his 16th birthday and he took his goal well.
“It’s a fantastic achievement. He has great attributes, and he’s been very patient. He will get opportunities to play.”
Finn is going to sixth form with Christ the King College in September, to study BTEC sport and English language.
He is keen to pursue a career in sport in the future.