Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 29 September 2018
SURBITON 1–1 UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Scorer: James Royce 49-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, Sam Spencer, James Gall.
Subs: Tom Sorsby (6″), David Goodfield (6), Conor Williamson (6), William Marshall (8), Luke Taylor (10).
Umpires: Campbell Reeman and Nick White.
Match Official: Ray Strudwick.
Surbiton Men were held by the University of Exeter to a 1-1 draw at Sugden Road on Saturday night after a potential winning goal was disallowed with seven minutes to play.
Surbiton had not met Exeter since March 2012 in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, but the last three league meetings between the teams have ended 1-1.
Exeter were caught up in traffic on the way to Elmbridge so the pushback was delayed fifteen minutes to 6.15 pm.
Exeter had lost their first match of the season, 4-1 to East Grinstead in Devon and had goalkeeper Elliot Bullman to thank in the third minute for a save from Surbiton’s Ben Boon. Another Boon attacking threat was stopped by Tomek Bruml. Bruml also marked Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth, trying to find space in the circle.
There was brief concern as Exeter’s James Carson was slow to get up following a dive to the ground whilst defending, but after a short break he was back on his feet after appearing to be winded.
Forsyth forced a save from Bullman and Sam Hoare prevented a combined attack from Willie Marshall and James Gall as the first half finished goalless.
In the second half, Surbiton’s Tom Sorsby ran at the Exeter defence, but Surbiton seemed destined to be frustrated as Forsyth pulled the ball back to no avail. However the breakthrough came in the 49th minute when James Royce, a former Exeter student who scored for the Devon club in a thrilling 4-3 victory in February 2010, gave Surbiton the lead with a shot rebounding off the backboard in his second league game for the club after joining from Reading.
The lead lasted just three minutes. Exeter had threatened from first half penalty corners but it was third time lucky as James Thomas rifled in a shot into the top right hand corner of the goal to delight the travelling contingent of Exeter supporters.
Surbiton came close to restoring their lead in the 55th minute when David Goodfield’s aerial ball, aimed for Forsyth was deflected for Bullman to make a spectacular glove save. At the other end, Harry Gibson also made a good save to deny Exeter.
With seven minutes to play, it seemed that Surbiton had scored as second goal when Goodfield forced the ball over the goal-line but after a brief consultation between the umpires, the goal was disallowed with Exeter awarded a free hit.
Surbiton’s last real chance came late in the game when Forsyth’s shot ended over the bar after a build up attack from Sorsby and Goodfield,
On the final whistle, the Exeter supporters cheered their team’s first league point of the season.
In the other evening matches, East Grinstead lost 3-1 at home to Beeston and Holcombe won the Kent derby with Sevenoaks 6-0. Holcombe are first and Beeston second, but Hampstead & Westminster can join them on six points if they beat Wimbledon at Paddington Recreation Ground on Sunday. Reading are at home to Brooklands Manchester University.
Next Saturday it’s Surbiton’s turn to visit East Grinstead. Surbiton Men play at 6 pm, after Surbiton Ladies’ match at 4 pm.