M1 Beat Hampstead & Westminster 8-4
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men will go into Sunday's match at Wimbledon with a three point lead and a game in hand after Surbiton won a goal fest 8-4 at Sugden Road on Saturday afternoon and Wimbledon won 4-3 at East Grinstead on Saturday evening.
Last weekend, Hampstead had scored in the first minute at the University of Exeter, this week they conceded after just 24 seconds, Zach Wallace passing perfectly for Alan Forsyth to finish at the left post.
In the fourth minute, former Surbiton player, Rupert Shipperley scored with a deflection to bring the reigning champions level.
Excellent attacking play from Tom Sorsby set up Surbiton's second goal in the twelfth minute, David Goodfield restoring the hosts' lead.
With Surbiton's Luke Taylor and Hampstead's Matt Guise-Brown on the pitch as the division's leading penalty corner specialists, it was inevitable that one or both would play a part in the match and it was Guise-Brown who made the first impact in the 16th minute from Hampstead's second award.
Surbiton went ahead again in the 27th minute, but it was James Royce who converted after Surbiton forced three corners in succession.
Although Toby Reynolds-Cotterill saved Royce's first attempt, the rebound was duly dispatched into the goal to put Surbiton ahead for a third time. Two minutes before half time, Taylor scored his thirteenth goal of the season from Surbiton's fifth penalty corner to give Surbiton a 4-2 lead.
However, Guise-Brown struck again at the end of the first half as Hampstead converted two of three corners to trail 4-3 at half time, Guise-Brown with his eleventh goal of the season.
The goalscoring continued in the second half with Forsyth scoring Surbiton's fifth goal from the penalty spot in the 40th minute for his tenth goal of the campaign.
Chris Cargo, who had scored Hampstead's first minute goal at Exeter the week before was on the scoresheet again in the 48th minute as the visitors converted their third successive corner to reduce the deficit to 5-4.
Rob Farrington set up a goal for Ben Boon in the 66th minute which not only gave Surbiton a 6-4 lead, but also saw Reynolds-Cotterill replaced by an eleventh outfield player as Hampstead tried to salvage a point as a minimum.
Instead it only allowed Surbiton to score two further goals, with Boon denied a hat-trick when a defender put the ball into goal to concede a long corner when Boon was close to goal.
However what would have been Boon's hat-trick goal came in the 68th minute.
The game had seen five green cards handed out, but Surbiton's Alan Forsyth and Hampstead's Sam French were both shown yellow cards in the last two minutes, meaning Surbiton had to find a new penalty stroke taker in the 69th minute when Reynolds-Cotterill returned to the goal.
With Forsyth in the sin-bin, Taylor stepped up to score his 14th goal of the season to make the final score 8-4.
Wimbledon won 4-3 at East Grinstead helped by an Ed Horler hat-trick, to stay three points behind Surbiton having played a game more.