M1 Second After Dramatic Win At East Grinstead
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men moved up to second in the Men's Hockey League Premier Division Top Six after a dramatic 2-1 win at East Grinstead.
Surbiton started the day in fourth, but Old Georgians' 3-1 win over Hampstead & Westminster and Holcombe's 1-0 home win over Wimbledon saw Surbiton overtake both Hampstead and Wimbledon.
Old Georgians lead the way with 30 points; Surbiton are second on 25, ahead of Wimbledon on goal difference with Hampstead fourth on 23 points.
Surbiton had won 6-1 at Saint Hill in Phase One, but the rematch in Phase Two was more evenly contested with few chances in the first half as Ben Park's shot went past East Grinstead's right post and East Grinstead managed to play the ball across the pitch twice when in Surbiton's 23 metre area.
Surbiton's first penalty corner of the match had resulted in a free hit to East Grinstead, but in the second half their routine proved to be a match winner after East Grinstead seemed on course to share the spoils.
Gareth Furlong's drag-flick into the net from the visitors' second penalty corner in the 44th minute gave Surbiton the lead, but Furlong and Luke Taylor were denied from the next two awards.
East Grinstead seemed to have earned a point when Jamie Wallace equalised in the 66th minute from open play to the delight of the vociferous home supporters, but two minutes later, delight turned to despair as Taylor converted Surbiton's fifth penalty corner, the decision to award the penalty corner at all proving to be an unpopular decision with the home support.
There was further controversy when Furlong was shown a yellow card on the final whistle as Surbiton continued their recent run of victories in West Sussex, albeit by a closer scoreline.
Surbiton are at home to Old Georgians next Saturday (push back 5.30 pm) in a match they need to win if Old Georgians' advantage is to be kept to a reasonable margin.