Smith’s late strike steals point
ANDREW Smith’s late equaliser earned Hampstead & Westminster a point after they threw away an early lead in their first home game of the season.
H&W opened the scoring in the 48th minute at Paddington Rec, only to take their foot off the gas and were trailing 2-1 when Smith levelled.
The result leaves H&W unbeaten with four points from two games, but coach Todd Williams believes his side need greater focus to build on last season’s memorable efforts.
“By last year’s standards we let ourselves down,” said Williams. “It took us 50 minutes to score, having dominated the game, when the pressure should all have been on them rather than on us.
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“I think this is indicative of the transition we are making. At 2-1 down we started doing all the right things and we have to learn and learn quickly.
“It is a learning curve, but we lacked focus, confidence and assuredness and we must have the presence of mind to learn to hold on to a winning position.
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“But the good thing is that we have the chance to quickly learn from this match. We are not going to over-react and we accept that we must learn from these mistakes.”
Canterbury had started the season well, winning 3-2 at Brooklands the previous week, but they struggled to break through the home side’s hard-working defence on Saturday.
H&W dominated but failed to score, going into the break with the game goalless – and it wasn’t until Ian Roberts netted from a penalty corner that the match sprang into life.
But Canterbury were thrown a lifeline when Smith was yellow-carded and then Will Naylor was sent off for two minutes.
Michael Farer levelled the score when he rifled in a penalty corner and then H&W were rocked eight minutes later when Tom Butt netted for Canterbury from open play to make it 2-1.
With Naylor and Smith back on the field, though, the home side hit back and secured a point when Smith scored the equaliser from open play.
H&W are away to Brooklands in the league on Saturday and Southgate in the cup on Sunday.