M1 Beat Holcombe 3-1 To Stay Top Of MHL Premier
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men maintained their one point lead over Old Georgians at the top of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division with a 3-1 home win over Holcombe on Saturday night.
Old Georgians had temporarily replaced Surbiton at the top following their 3-1 win at Brooklands Manchester University, but Surbiton's win ensured they returned to the top with a game in hand.
On a damp night in Elmbridge, Surbiton dominated possession early on but Holcombe defended well in what was generally a scrappy first quarter with few chances.
Holcombe took the lead in the 17th minute, Nick Bandurak's finish making him the club's leading goalscorer with six goals.
Any hope that it could be the start of a repeat of last week's performance at Old Georgians where Holcombe led 3-0 before being pegged back to 3-3 were quickly dashed in the 19th minute when Ben Boon equalised with a superb strike into the top left corner beyond the visitors' goalkeeper, Richard Curtis.
Surbiton had gone close a minute earlier when Jonny Gall's cross from the left just eluded Arjan Drayton Chana at the left post.
In the 23rd minute an excellent one-two passing move towards goal between Drayton Chana and David Goodfield was completed in style by Drayton Chana to put Surbiton 2-1 ahead.
Holcombe threatened to comeback immediately when they forced their second penalty corner of the match, but Surbiton managed to defend and clear their lines.
Goodfield was unfortunate when having intercepted the ball he was clattered whilst in possession with play being allowed to go on.
Holcombe played the ball across the back in order to try and find an attacking route towards goal, but were grateful to Martin Robbins for intercepting Scott Evans' pass into the circle late in the first half.
The rainfall became finer in the second half as Ore Ogunlana was forced to make a save which ballooned high into the air from Holcombe's third penalty corner.
Surbiton's third goal arrived in the 51st minute, Boon poking home from close range to the right of goalkeeper Curtis who was committed to trying to stop the cross from the left.
Ogunlana made another great save from Holcombe's fourth penalty corner and Luke Taylor, who was on fire the week previously at home to East Grinstead, couldn't quite find the target from Surbiton's second and third penalty corners.
On occasion, Holcombe's defenders were caught out by aerial balls played into their 23 metre area, Boon and Drayton Chana just unable to take advantage late in the game, with Boon subsequently unlucky not to trap another aerial ball on the left wing.
Wimbledon moved up to third with a 3-1 win away to Hampstead & Westminster in a game played at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
East Grinstead drew 2-2 at home to the University of Exeter after trailing 2-1.
Beeston and Reading drew 2-2 in Nottingham on a day when four goals were scored in all five MHL Premier Division games.
After next weekend's break for the Olympic Qualifier matches, Surbiton head to Old Georgians on 9 November for a key top of the table clash (push back 6 pm).