M1 Pip Old Georgians In Seven Goal Thriller
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men battled to a 4-3 win against Old Georgians in front of a large crowd at St. George's College to open up a four point lead at the top of the Men's Hockey League Premier Division with a game in hand.
With a key doubleheader coming up next weekend when Surbiton host Hampstead & Westminster on 16 November and visit Wimbledon the following day, a win was vital.
Old Georgians suffered their first ever defeat in the top flight but not before battling back from 3-1 down to level at 3-3 before their hearts were broken by a late goal.
Tension was visible early as Old Georgians' James Albery and Surbiton's Ben Boon sat on the naughty step within the first five minutes after both being shown green cards.
Old Georgians put pressure on Surbiton with three successive penalty corners and took the lead following the third, Tom Carson scoring his seventh goal of the campaign in the seventh minute.
The hosts lead lasted but a minute before a breakaway attack saw Alan Forsyth level for Surbiton, beating home goalkeeper, George Pinner with a shot rebounding off the backboard.
Pinner made a superb save on the quarter-hour, Sam Spencer's shot deflected high into the air for a long corner.
In the 22nd minute, Ben Boon intercepted the ball before Pinner made another save to keep Old Georgians on level terms.
However, there was nothing he could do in the 28th minute when Luke Taylor converted Surbiton's second penalty corner to score his twelfth goal of the season.
Rob Farrington also tested Pinner before half time, as Surbiton turned round with their 2-1 lead.
In the 41st minute, Tom Sorsby scored Surbiton's third goal as the visitors found their attacking rhythm and seemed to be well on the way to securing all three points.
Farrington forced another save and Arjan Drayton Chana went close after brilliantly controlling an aerial ball and passing the ball around to set up a scoring chance.
However, not for the first time this season, Old Georgians showed that you discount them at your peril.
Their two previous home games had ended 3-3, the second after Holcombe had led 3-0 shortly after half time. Lee Morton scored in the 57th and 60th minutes to send Old Georgians' supporters into ecstasy, especially as not only was the momentum going with the home team but they had ten minutes to score what had a short time earlier been an unlikely winner.
Instead, Forsyth conjured up the winning goal for Surbiton, standing with his back towards Pinner before turning and firing home the winning goal as it was the turn of the visiting supporters to be in delirium.
As a tactical move, Pinner was replaced by an eleventh attacking player late in the game, but Surbiton held out, although Old Georgians went close to snatching an equaliser before the final whistle blew to end an thoroughly entertaining game which was a credit to both teams.
In Saturday's other game, East Grinstead added to Reading's misery with a 3-1 win in Berkshire.
Wimbledon can go second above Old Georgians if they beat Brooklands Manchester University on Sunday afternoon.
Next weekend, Surbiton host Hampstead on Saturday at 2 pm and then visit Wimbledon on Sunday at 2.30 as the MHL has a scheduled weekend doubleheader.