L1 Win 1-0 At Clifton Robinsons
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies kept pace with Hampstead & Westminster at the top of the Investec Women's Hockey League Premier Division, winning 1-0 at Clifton Robinsons on Saturday afternoon.
Hampstead won 5-1 at Bowdon Hightown to increase their goal difference advantage over Surbiton, but Surbiton kept up the pressure by bringing home all three points from Bristol.
Surbiton made a late change, bringing in Jenna Woolven for Hannah Martin, whose facial injury ruled her out of the match.
Surbiton went close to taking a quick lead, Erica Sanders' first minute shot saved by Clifton goalkeeper Aline De Visser.
Former Clifton player, Georgie Twigg took on her former club's defence, forcing a long corner after a run and subsequently being tackled by home defender Alexandra Ogilby for another long corner.
She also combined with Sarah Evans and Woolven before De Visser successfully kicked the ball to safety.
Twigg forced a save from De Visser in the second quarter; Eloise Stenner set up a chance for Sanders which was saved and Emily Defroand's angled pass was deflected wide of the right post towards the end of the first half.
Clifton occasionally threatened to score against the run of play but the only goal came in the 39th minute, shortly after Emily Atkinson's run at the Clifton defence was followed by Sanders' shot being blocked. The ball fell perfectly for Twigg to finally beat De Visser and give Surbiton a deserved lead.
Sanders' frustration continued when she missed the ball completely when trying to score and Atkinson made another possession run towards goal before Kitty Chapple intervened at towards the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Atkinson set up a chance for Defroand which went past the right post; Eloise Stenner forced a long corner; De Visser again saved from Sanders and Woolven blazed the ball over the bar from the edge of the circle when in a one on one situation.
Clifton had two chances to equalise in the 55th minute and failed to convert their only penalty corner a minute later as Surbiton won their fourth match of the season and kept their unbeaten record against Clifton.
Hampstead and Surbiton now have a four point lead over third placed Buckingham. Buckingham drew 1-1 at East Grinstead as the West Sussex club earned their first point of the season.
Fourth placed Holcombe also drew 1-1, at home to Loughborough Students.
Bowdon Hightown are fifth following their defeat to Hampstead with Loughborough sixth. The University of Birmingham beat Beeston 2-0 at home to move up to seventh.
Clifton Robinsons are eighth, East Grinstead are ninth and Beeston are now bottom of the table.