M1 Crash To Defeat At Oxted
By Colin Pike
A week after losing 10-6 at Old Georgians in a record breaking match, Oxted shocked Men's Hockey League Premier Division leaders Surbiton 1-0 in another record breaking match.
Surbiton failed to score for the first time in 108 Premier Division matches, having last failed to find the net at East Grinstead in October 2014.
And they suffered defeat away from home for the first time since March 2018 when they lost 5-4 at Hampstead & Westminster, ending a run of 22 unbeaten matches.
Surbiton were without most of their international players due to the upcoming internationals next week, with Harry Gibson staying in goal. But there was nothing he could do to stop Tim Guise-Brown converting the hosts' second penalty corner in the 49th minute for his seventh goal of their debut campaign in the top flight.
Surbiton also fielded a fourteen player squad and gave debuts to Daniel Hunt and Tom Fox, but were thwarted by home goalkeeper Fred Whitfield on several occasions.
The game was played in rainy conditions with strong gusts of wind catching out both players and spectators.
Oxted tried to play aerial balls upfield and play penetrating passes, but defences were on top with both teams having defenders in just the right place to stop their opponents' attacks.
Oxted nearly took the lead two minutes before half time when Jordan Turnbull and Fin Boothroyd had successive shots at goal, Boothroyd beating the ground with his stick in frustration.
Seconds later, Guise Brown had his first penalty corner shot on goal, but Gibson was equal to it.
Half time came with the game still goalless, a complete contrast to Oxted's match last week when they led 5-4 at the interval.
With visiting supporters not allowed to attend, Oxted's supporters were vociferous in the second half, especially when Chris Porter was green carded for a shoulder charge in the 46th minute.
Three minutes later came the cries of celebration as Oxted took the lead and the home supporters cheered every Surbiton error and miss as they realised that a famous home win was within their grasp.
Surbiton's Scott Evans also saw green in the 54th minute and Ben Boon fired past the left post in the 58th minute and forced a fine save three minutes later as it became apparent that it was going to be Oxted's night.
The final whistle blew to cheers of delight as the home supporters dashed to get out of the rain having given their heroes magnificent support.
Surbiton still lead Old Georgians by two points, both teams now having played five games. Old Georgians' game at Brooklands Manchester University was postponed.
Hampstead & Westminster missed the chance to go top of the table, going down 3-2 at Holcombe for their first defeat of the season. Hampstead stay third on goal difference.
Holcombe are now three points behind Surbiton with a game in hand.
Wimbledon joined Old Georgians and Hampstead on ten points after their thrilling 6-4 home win over the University of Durham and East Grinstead came from 3-0 down after 22 minutes to draw 3-3 at home to Beeston with a last minute equaliser.