Men’s Hockey League Premier Division – 5 November 2017
EAST GRINSTEAD 2–3 SURBITON
Scorers: Willie Marshall 14-F, Nick Parkes 16-F, Alan Forsyth 65-F
Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Lewis Prosser (Capt.), Rob Farrington, Luke Noblett, Jonny Gall, Willie Marshall, Alan Forsyth, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Sam Spencer.
Subs: Arjan Drayton Chana (5″), Nick Parkes (5″), James Gall (5″), Zach Wallace (9″), Gareth Furlong (9″)
Umpires: Nick Bennett and Will Champness
Match Official: Tony Barber
Surbiton Men hold a two point lead over second placed Beeston in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division after coming from behind to win 3-2 at East Grinstead on Sunday afternoon.
East Grinstead dropped to third, five points behind Surbiton after suffering their first home defeat of the season and their first loss since their first match of the season, when they lost 4-3 at Brooklands Manchester University.
Surbiton welcomed back Zach Wallace, a silver medallist for Great Britain Under-21s at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.
Surbiton goalkeeper, Harry Gibson was called into action after just 18 seconds, kicking the ball away from an East Grinstead cross as the West Sussex club staked their claim for leadership of the top tier.
That claim was given more weight in the ninth minute when Andy Piper’s shot from the right-centre of the circle ended up in Surbiton’s netting to leave the reigning champions trailing.
Five minutes later, Surbiton were on level terms, the ball pulled back for Willie Marshall to find the backboard to the delight of Surbiton’s travelling supporters.
They were even happier in the 16th minute when Alan Forsyth’s cross from the right was turned in by Nick Parkes to give Surbiton the lead for the first time.
On the half hour, East Grinstead fought back to 2-2, Ross Stott finishing off a fast attacking move to leave all to play for in the second half.
With both teams concentrating on trying to break through their opposing defences, neither team forced a penalty corner in the first half. That run ended in the 42nd minute when Gibson was called upon to save after an initial blip in the East Grinstead penalty corner routine.
Luke Taylor was denied by East Grinstead goalkeeper Patrick Smith from Surbiton’s first penalty corner three minutes later, when East Grinstead mounted an immediate breakaway attack which thankfully for the visitors ended in a shot past the right post.
Former Surbiton player, Liam Ansell was an attacking threat for East Grinstead, together with Richard Hildreth who worked hard both in attack and defence, skilfully keeping possession under pressure while defending in his own circle late in the game.
The decisive goal came five minutes from time, David Goodfield passing to Forsyth to shoot from the left of the circle into the goal netting to give Surbiton an important 3-2 lead.
East Grinstead were left to think about what might have happened if they had been able to convert several close scoring chances they had in the match.
Surbiton were able to run out the clock forcing a final penalty corner, Smith saving another Taylor effort in added on time immediately before the whistle sounded to ensure that Surbiton would stay top of the table.
Beeston are now Surbiton’s nearest challengers following their 4-2 win at Sevenoaks. Reading missed the chance to move up to third when they lost 3-2 to Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday night. Holcombe are fifth after their emphatic 5-1 win at Kent neighbours, Canterbury, also on Saturday night.
Wimbledon moved above Brooklands Manchester University with a 3-1 away win in a match delayed due to travel problems. Brooklands are still three points ahead of both Sevenoaks and Canterbury, Canterbury bottom with a much inferior goal difference.
Surbiton host Reading at Sugden Road on Saturday (11 November) at 6 pm as part of a first team doubleheader, with Surbiton Ladies playing Buckingham at 4 pm. Admission will be £5 and include both matches.