M1 Beat Reading 5-2
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men needed a strong third quarter in which they scored three goals to battle to victory against a determined Reading side at Sugden Road on Saturday night, eventually coming out on top 5-2 in their key Men's Hockey League Premier Division clash.
Reading had had two contrasting defeats in their previous two matches: a tight 1-0 defeat at Wimbledon, preceded by a goal fest, losing 5-4 at Holcombe.
Having defended against an early David Goodfield attack, Reading surprised Surbiton by forcing a penalty corner after just 46 seconds but the shot went past the left post.
Surbiton took an early lead, Alex Williams crossing from the right for Ben Park to poke the ball home past Reading goalkeeper Chris Wyver in the fourth minute.
James Gall had two chances to double Surbiton's lead in the sixth minute but the ball wouldn't fall in to place and having had a double alarm, Reading fought back with a well worked open play equaliser in the tenth minute, Toby Heywood Bourne finishing off the move.
Goodfield went on excellent runs and Louis Gittens fired over the crossbar in the remainder of the first quarter.
The second quarter was very competitive with defences largely on top although both sides showed attacking intent, Reading's Brad Marais and Edward Evans needed in defence in quick succession to repel the home forwards.
Reading had a second penalty corner opportunity in the 24th minute but it was wasted once Surbiton were awarded a free hit.
The teams went in at half time level at 1-1 but Surbiton were in the ascendancy at the end of the third quarter with a 4-1 lead.
Surbiton restored their lead in the 40th minute, Nick Park on the end of Goodfield's pass into the circle, to put the ball past Wyver.
Two minutes later, Surbiton struck again, this time from their second penalty corner of the match. Luke Taylor had been denied from the first award in the sixth minute but a nicely manoeuvred routine was dispatched by Gareth Furlong to give Surbiton breathing space.
Taylor found the backboard in the 48th minute from Surbiton's third penalty corner after Williams had been unlucky from open play a lobbed shot just drifting past the right post.
Reading had three penalty corner opportunities in the fourth quarter but couldn't beat James Mazarelo in the Surbiton goal, but Surbiton were also dangerous, Tom Sorsby smashing the ball into the left sideboard and James Gall forcing a save from Wyver.
A period of end to end attacking player resulted in Reading breaching the Surbiton defence for a second time, Monty Neave scoring at the left post in the 68th minute.
Surbiton had the final word in the 70th minute, another clinical Taylor penalty corner making the final score 5-2.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Old Georgians dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 home draw with Hampstead & Westminster. Holcombe won 2-1 at East Grinstead and in the University Challenge in the East Midlands, the University of Nottingham beat the University of Exeter 3-2.
On Sunday afternoon, Wimbledon, now the only team with a one hundred per cent record, moved into second place, a point behind Surbiton with a game in hand following a 3-1 home win over Beeston. There was a nine goal thriller at Brooklands Manchester University where Oxted won 5-4 to avenge their own 5-4 home defeat to the North West club in April.
Surbiton are at home to the University of Nottingham on 5 December, push back 6.30 pm.