For over an hour it looked as though Australian Under-21 international goalkeeper Cade Banditt might stage a Ned Kelly style robbery and deny Havant victory.
But Pakistan’s Atiq Arshad (pictured scoring above) hit Havant’s winner six minutes from time to give his side a slender 1-0 victory and a lift to fifth place in National League South 1.
The talented Queenslander pulled off a string of fine saves as Havant pulled the strings in the first half with Charlie Stubbings and Arshad denied.
As the half developed, Canterbury sat back to absorb the pressure and relied on quick breaks. Havant continued to press forward but were frustrated, which resulted in too much individual dribbling with the ball rather than team inter play.
Within a minute of the restart of the second half Havant had a golden opportunity to take the lead after Michael Deller-Merricks crossed the ball in front of the keeper and a diving Jamie Whitehouse slid in deflecting the ball just past the far post.
Havant were playing some fast attacking hockey and at times there were some slick inter-passing, one such move saw Stubbings get into an excellent position wide of the goal, but the narrow angle saw him find the outside of the side board.
In the 41st minute Havant won their second penalty corner of the game after Stubbings had found a visitors foot in the circle. Federico Bertoni's flick was saved by Banditt and the rebound found Janicki, but the pace of the ball made it impossible to control.
Canterbury then had their best chance of the game when a ball bounced past a defender in front of goal and luckily for Havant the ball also bounced past a Canterbury stick, which only needed the faintest of touches.
Just before the end of the third quarter Havant were mounting a series of attacks, whilst Canterbury sat deep to defend in numbers, relying on the break.
This tactic frustrated Havant and nothing was quite going their way. Arshad won Havant’s third penalty corner after his stick was tapped in the 51st minute. This time Havant tried a variation and the result saw the ball go the wrong side of the post once again.
Manuel Silvetti was the next one to test Banditt, but he continued to have an inspired game and patted away a goal bound shot with ease.
Havant continued to mount a number of attacks, but could not breach the Canterbury defence with any regularity, and when they did the hugely impressive Banditt was up to the challenge.
As time was running out, Havant were rewarded for their pressure when Stubbings shot at goal from a narrow angle. He topped the shot which fell to Matt Cox, who intelligently and quickly switched the ball past Banditt to Arshad, who pushed it into the empty goal with six minutes left on the clock.
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