Surbiton Men once more showed their resilience, coming back from 1-0 down to beat East Grinstead 4-2 at Sugden Road on Sunday to move up to fourth in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division.
Surbiton are now just three points off the lead with new leaders Hampstead & Westminster heading Wimbledon and Beeston on goal difference. Hampstead beat Brooklands Manchester University 2-1 to take advantage of Wimbledon’s 2-2 home draw with Beeston. East Grinstead dropped to fifth on goal difference behind Surbiton but both clubs have played a game more than sixth placed Holcombe, whose league game at Loughborough Students was postponed due to Holcombe’s EHL exploits. Holcombe beat Poznan 8-1 but lost 2-1 to Kampong in Banbridge, Ireland to miss out on qualification for the knockout stages.
Surbiton started their third home game in a row well with both Arjan Drayton Chana and David Goodfield posing early attacking threats to the East Grinstead defence. Home goalkeeper, Harry Gibson was also caused to make an early save, but couldn’t prevent the visitors taking the lead in what proved to be an unlucky thirteenth minute for Surbiton. Nick Catlin had forced a save from East Grinstead’s first penalty corner, but it was the second which proved to be decisive, Andy Piper converting to score his second goal of the season.
In the 21st minute, Surbiton found themselves on level terms, Willie Marshall’s powerful drag-flick from the hosts’ only award of the first half more than enough to restore parity. The final two minutes of the first half proved very eventful, Aaron Blumfield just pulling his shot wide of the right post on debut before Richard Hildreth’s shot was skilfully defended on the goal-line by East Grinstead’s Glenn Kirkham.
It proved to be third time lucky as Goodfield’s stunning shot seconds before the interval gave Surbiton a 2-1 half time lead and something to build on.
East Grinstead’s penalty corner routine was always a threat and it was no real surprise when Ashley Jackson, who recently returned to the West Sussex club from Holcombe, displayed all his expertise to equalise ten minutes into the second half.
In the 48th minute, Surbiton’s lead was restored, Goodfield scoring his second goal of the game and fourth of the season with an angled shot from the right post to delight the home supporters. Any hopes of an East Grinstead comeback were effectively ended two minutes from the end when following another Drayton Chana attacking run the ball was crossed from the right to the centre of the circle where Richard Hildreth was waiting to finish in emphatic fashion and seal Surbiton’s second win of the season.
Elsewhere, Reading beat Canterbury 4-1 to stay seventh.
Surbiton visit local rivals, Wimbledon next Saturday with the intention of getting their first ever win over the current league champions in the top flight.
Push back at King’s College School is at 5.30 pm.
Surbiton: Gibson, Creed, Prosser, Farrington, Goodfield, Gall, Beckett, Wallace, Furlong, Drayton Chana, Forsyth.
Subs: Marshall, Hildreth, Ansell, Blumfield, Mugridge.