Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 29 October 2017
SURBITON 5–4 BEESTON
Scorers: Alan Forsyth 2-F, 34-F, 41-F, 64-PS; Prosser 27-PC
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser (Capt.), Rob Farrington, Luke Noblett, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, James Gall.
Subs: Jonny Gall (4″), Arjan Drayton Chana (6″), Gareth Furlong (8″), Willie Marshall (8″), Dave Bartram (10″)
Umpires: Nick Padget and Paul Walker
Match Official: Howard Pollard
Having lost their own unbeaten league record at Holcombe the week before, Surbiton Men ended Beeston’s unbeaten record, prevailing 5-4 in a thrilling Men’s Hockey League Premier Division encounter at Sugden Road on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
Surbiton opened up a two point lead over second placed East Grinstead, with Beeston having dropped to third on goal difference behind the West Sussex club.
Surbiton suffered a setback when captain Chris Grassick was rested as a precaution due to a last minute injury. In spite of this, Surbiton made a perfect start taking the lead after just 71 seconds when Alan Forsyth scored from the right of the circle from open play.
Beeston responded by forcing three penalty corners in the sixth and seventh minutes but goalkeeper, Harry Gibson and Surbiton’s penalty corner defenders successfully thwarted Beeston’s routines.
Beeston equalised in the 24th minute, their captain, Stephen Lawrence playing a long ball into the circle where Lucas Garcia Alcalde finished to the delight to the enthusiastic visiting supporters.
After surviving four Beeston penalty corner attempts, Surbiton restored the lead from their only award of the match. Both Luke Taylor and Arjan Drayton Chana’s attempts were repelled before captain Lewis Prosser forced the ball home with a downward shot from an overhead stick in the 27th minute.
A minute before half time, Forsyth struck again, this time from close range to give Surbiton a 3-1 lead.
At the start of the second half, Surbiton attacked down the right wing to prove their attacking intent and they were rewarded in the 41st minute when the ball was pulled back for Forsyth to complete his hat-trick. At this point, Surbiton seemed to be cruising to victory, having shaken off the cobwebs from the previous week’s defeat.
Beeston had other ideas and weren’t going to give up without a fight. Their penalty corner routine eventually came good with their leading goalscorer, Mark Gleghorne drag-flicking the ball into the top right corner in the 53rd minute.
Six minutes later, a well manoeuvred routine found Marius Gemmel at the right post from where he reduced Surbiton’s lead to 4-3 and give Beeston’s vociferous support hope that they could get something out of the match.
With six minutes to play, Forsyth was brought down in the circle resulting in the award of a penalty stroke. Beeston were unhappy with the decison, but after a lengthy consultation between the umpires, the penalty stroke was confirmed. Forsyth stepped up to beat visiting goalkeeper, Simon Hujwan and extend Surbiton’s lead to 5-3. Beeston continued to protest and Stephen Lawrence was shown a green card.
In the 65th minute, Drayton Chana and David Goodfield combined to play an entertaining attacking move and a minute later, Forsyth found the roof of the net only for the goal to be disallowed. The drama was not over as in the 67th minute, Sam Ward caught the Surbiton defence out to make the score 5-4 and give Beeston further hope of at least snatching a point.
Surbiton held on, Forsyth and Nick Parkes playing an audacious 1-2 move before Gleghorne intercepted to try and mount a last minute attack.
The final whistle was blown in a temperature which had dropped a few degrees during the match, with the spectators warmed up by the entertainment on view.
East Grinstead lost ground after drawing 2-2 at Hampstead & Westminster. Reading closed the gap behind Beeston to one point after coming away from Brooklands Manchester University with a 3-2 win. Wimbledon had started the day bottom of the table but a 4-3 win home win over Holcombe lifted them up to eighth and two points above both Sevenoaks and Canterbury. Canterbury had beaten Sevenoaks 3-2 on Saturday night for their first league points of the season.
Next Sunday, Surbiton travel to East Grinstead for a top of the table clash. Push back is 2 pm.