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Striker aims for repeat of 'happiest day'.

TODAY'S visit to face Queens Park Rangers will bring back plenty of memories for Swans striker Courtney Baker-Richardson - all from the 'happiest day of my life'.

The striker netted his first professional goal in September as the Swans beat the visitors at a packed Liberty Stadium.

It was the biggest milestone on a journey which has seen him tumble down the football pyramid following his release from Coventry City in 2014.

He was given an opportunity at Leamington FC in the Southern Football Premier while coaching part-time at a local primary school - and from there he did enough to catch the Swans' eye.

But before his moment of glory against the Hoops, Baker-Richardson endured a turbulent debut with the Swans - he was sent off on his first league start after just five minutes in a gritty 2-1 win at Millwall. But that anguish was forgotten when he fired home after good work from Oli McBurnie against QPR.

"I've had to work very hard and deal with a lot of rejections to get this far, so my first professional goal is something I'll never forget," the 23-year-old, who has scored three times in 19 appearances this season, told the club's official website.

"I was very grateful to have been given another chance by the manager because I thought I had blown it after getting sent off so early on my league debut for the club against Millwall.

"But he was brilliant with me - as were the staff and my team-mates - and I managed to repay them with an early goal.

"The roar of the crowd when the ball hit the net and the emotions I felt is something I will never justify in explaining through words. I was used to playing in front of a few hundred people, but I scored in front of 20,000 at the Liberty - to this day, it's the happiest day of my life.

Now he is aiming to create more happy memories against today's opponents. "I think I'll always look at a Swansea City v QPR game with huge fondness for the rest of my life because of what it meant to me to score my first pro goal," he said.

"Hopefully I can get a chance to score against QPR on Saturday - I've been working hard in training and I'll be ready whenever the manager needs me."

| Former Swansea and Liverpool star Tommy Smith has died at the age of 74.

Liverpool announced the passing of Smith, known as the 'Anfield Iron' last night. Smith made 638 appearances for the Reds between 1960 and 1978 before making 36 starts for the Swans.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Smith's daughter Janette Simpson said: "Dad died very peacefully in his sleep shortly after 4.30pm today at Green Heyes nursing home in Park Road, Waterloo, Crosby."

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<B Courtney Baker-Richardson celebrates his goal against QPR earlier this term Chris Fairweather/ Huw Evans Agency

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 13, 2019
Words:488
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