L1 Beat Pegasus 2-1 in EHL Ranking Match
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Ladies won their ABN AMRO EHL FINAL8 Ranking Match, beating Pegasus of Ireland 2-1 at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Surbiton should have met Pegasus in the Euro Hockey League Ranking Cup in Hamburg in October, but Pegasus gave Surbiton a 5-0 forfeit victory in the semi-final, but the first physical match between the teams was closer with Pegasus having hopes of snatching an unlikely draw when they scored just over a minute from time.
Surbiton were without Steph Elliott due to the technical red card received versus Gantoise the day before but still dominated possession against the Irish club but struggled to make the final breakthrough.
Pegasus gave Surbiton an early scare when Sabbie Heesh was needed to repel a Lucy McKee attack in the third minute, but the attack proved to be a rare event due to Surbiton's domination.
In the first quarter, Darcy Bourne shot across goal and Leah Wilkinson played an excellent cross-field pass to Holly Payne, only for Pegasus to stop Meg Dowthwaite in her tracks.
Payne was shown a green card for failing to retreat five yards, but just had enough time to return to the pitch before the first quarter ended.
The second quarter was equally frustrating with Georgie Twigg's shot going wide of the right post, Sarah Evans failing to make contact with the ball when in a perfect position to score and Bourne and Tasmin Cookman combining only for the ball to go harmlessly over the Pegasus backline. Sophie Hamilton had a late opportunity to score but Megan Todd made an important save.
The third quarter saw mixed fortunes for Surbiton with Twigg having to pull up after aggravating an existing hamstring injury in the 35th minute before Surbiton struck twice in quick succession to establish a 2-0 lead.
Payne's pass from the right was poked home from short range in the 37th minute by Dowthwaite to open the scoring and then two minutes later, it was third time lucky for Surbiton's penalty corner routine as having failed to score from their first two awards in the fourth and sixth minutes, a brilliantly executed fake routine was slapped towards goal by Wilkinson with Evans getting a deft touch to double Surbiton's lead.
Pegasus forced a penalty corner in the 41st minute which was easily defended but didn't really look into contention until near the end of the match. Back-up goalkeeper, Louisa Bray was desperately unlucky as within 56 seconds of replacing Heesh with two minutes remaining for some much deserved European experience, McKee beat her to give Pegasus a boost of forcing a draw and the lottery of a shootout.
Surbiton's experience saw them see out the last minute and maintain their one hundred per cent record against Irish clubs in Europe having beaten UCD 4-1 in 2014-15 in Bilthoven and 4-0 in 2017-18 at Sugden Road.
The result also secured a fifth placed finish in Amsterdam.