Smithies on the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough
Alex Smithies believes tonight’s 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough is indicative of the progress being made by the team.
Last season Smithies was powerless as Boro defeated Town 3-0 on home soil, but this season the Terriers were only denied the win by Ben Gordon’s header 11 minutes from time.
“A draw is probably a fair result. They had spells where they were on top, but I certainly felt that in the first 20 minutes we looked really good and we had other spells when we pressurised them,” Alex told htafc.com at the final whistle.
“Being 1-0 late on you would like to hold out, but their lad scored a good header after getting a jump on one of our players. We will take the point and move on.
“Look at the corresponding result last season, when we came up here and got battered - tonight we have really stayed in the game. We could have nicked a late goal from a corner and won it, but I think you can see that there is progress being made.”
Smithies made three good, quick-fire saves late in the first-half to twice deny striker Kei Kamara alongside Mustapha Carayol and was glad to play his part.
“Every time I play at the Riverside I seem to have a lot of work to do, but tonight I’ve made a couple of saves at important times when it was a bit tight; it was nice to be involved. Ultimately we haven’t kept a clean sheet, so as a goalkeeper you have to be disappointed.
“I always look at the team’s defensive record and it would be nice to keep our good defensive record going. I’ve also got an offensive job to do and I’m getting used to that, although sometimes we have to realise that some teams won’t let us play out. As players, we have to understand the game and when it is right to play out.”
The stalemate at the Riverside was Town’s third successive draw in the Sky Bet Championship and Smithies admitted he would like to turn the draws into wins – starting with Saturday’s game at home to Watford.
“It would be nice to change a few of these draws into wins, but it’s nice that we’re not being beaten too often. I’ve just spoken to a couple of the lads in the changing room and although we feel like we’ve already improved on last season, we are all working hard and striving for that little extra edge that would turn us into a team that will be in and around the Play-Offs. I don’t think we are a million miles away.
“We have another big game at home to Watford on Saturday, so we’ll aim for a clean sheet and a win. We definitely owe them one, because they battered us at their place and it damaged our pride. It would be nice to go into the international break with a win, especially in front of our home fans.”