M1 Win 4-0 Against the University of Nottingham
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men maintained their unbeaten record in the Men's Hockey League Premier Division, a sustained second half performance guiding them to a 4-0 home win over the University of Nottingham on Saturday evening.
Surbiton had never met the University of Nottingham before in the Men's Hockey League and having scored sixteen goals in their first three home games, were restricted to a single goal in a first half in which Nottingham battled after conceding a penalty corner after just 20 seconds.
Luke Taylor's shot was blocked before Conor Williamson cleared and to Nottingham's credit they forced their own penalty corner in the sixth minute only for the resulting shot to go high into the air and wide of the goal.
Tom Sorsby had a shot blocked from open play, Alex Williams was unlucky not to score and Louis Gittens fired past the left post after James Gall brought down an aerial pass in an intense first quarter.
Nottingham's Luis Cuttle intercepted a long pass before Ben Park and Rob Farrington combined before a shot narrowly missed the goal and Stuart Rushmere and Farrington set up a chance for Williams only for the ball to go agonisingly wide of the right post.
Fergus Stevens and Archie Foster worked hard in defence for the students towards the end of the first quarter.
Rain heralded the start of a second quarter which finally saw the breakthrough, Rob Farrington finally beating visiting goalkeeper Oliver Smart in the 25th minute from open play to ease Surbiton's frustration.
Nottingham had won a second penalty corner in the 19th minute but captain, Archie Foster was unable to convert having to settle for a 23 metre restart after some organised defence.
James Gall came close to doubling Surbiton's lead immediately after the half time interval, only for his shot to go past the right post. Williams caused more problems for the Nottingham defenders playing a one-two move with Sorsby after Sorsby himself had had a shot on goal, both attempts missing the target.
Shortly after Stevens was needed in the visiting defence again, Farrington doubled Surbiton's lead from the left of the circle in the 42nd minute as the pressure began to tell.
Just before the end of the third quarter, Sorsby scored a fine individual goal finishing after a long run towards goal and immediately auditioning for "Hockey's Strongest Man" competition, his momentum after scoring forcing the goal out of position.
James Mazarelo, who kept his second home clean sheet of the season made a save from Nottingham's third and final penalty corner of the game with twelve minutes remaining.
Surbiton's fourth goal came in the 64th minute, Gareth Furlong switching with Taylor to convert the hosts' third penalty corner. Smart came to Nottingham's rescue with saves from Stuart Rushmere and Luke Taylor from Surbiton's fourth and fifth penalty corners, Sorsby firing the rebound from Taylor's shot high and wide from an acute angle.
There was a brief moment of danger when Williamson's stick spiralled out of control after a clash with Ben Park to the extent that Williamson temporarily lost his bearings when searching for where the stick had landed.
In Saturday night's other match, Old Georgians won 5-0 at East Grinstead to stay within three points of Surbiton with a game in hand and a two goal superior goal difference.
On Sunday, Wimbledon lost their one hundred per cent record in a 2-2 draw at Holcombe. This leaves both Wimbledon and Old Georgians three points behind Surbiton with a game in hand, which takes place next Saturday 12 November at 6 pm at St. George's College.
Oxted drew 1-1 at home to Reading, the Berkshire club equalising at the end of the match. Beeston beat Brooklands Manchester University 1-0, also scoring a last gasp goal.
Hampstead & Westminster won a seven goal thriller at the University of Exeter, the students scoring late to fall just short with a 4-3 loss.
Hampstead are Surbiton's next MHL Premier Division opponents, travelling to Paddington Recreation Ground next Saturday for a 6 pm push back after Surbiton Ladies play the first match of a men's/ women's double header at 4 pm.