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W1 Win 2-0 At The University Of Birmingham


30th September 2023

By Colin Pike

Surbiton Women moved up to fourth and closed to within one point of the top three teams in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division following their 2-0 win at the University of Birmingham on Saturday afternoon.

Surbiton overcame the frustration of some players and their head coach being delayed in traffic on their way to Birmingham, causing the push back to be delayed by 15 minutes, by  remaining patient and focused on the pitch to come away from the Second City with all three points.

Ella Burnley returned to the squad for the first time since March 2020 as Surbiton took a fifteen player squad to the University.

The floodlights were switched on before the game but the rain, which was predicted to fall from around 2 pm from dark and leaden skies, only materialised for a five minute spell midway through the third quarter.

Steph Elliott and Izzy Petter combined to produce Surbiton's first shot after just 48 seconds before home goalkeeper Evie Wood was forced to kick the ball away from a subsequent attack to put the Birmingham defence under pressure.

To their credit, Birmingham responded with Emma Allroggen and Ailsa Naylor attacking down the left and Allroggen combining with Alice Atkinson and Sarah Parkinson-Mills.

Parkinson-Mills even contrived to clip the crossbar as the hosts tried to take the lead in the first quarter, which ultimately ended goalless.

Surbiton took the lead in the 19th minute, Petter crossing from the right for Hannah French to tap in at the far post.

Surbiton had forced their first two penalty corners of the match towards the end of the first quarter without success and had a third opportunity just before half time, but were once again frustrated and took their one goal advantage into the second half.

There were a couple of occasions in the second half when Birmingham couldn't take advantage of the ball crossing the goal, while Surbiton continued to largely dominate possession but couldn't take advantage although French, Meg Dowthwaite and Elani Sherwood put together an excellent passing move before Sherwood also worked with Leah Wilkinson and Burnley only for the Birmingham defence to thwart the visitors.

Burnley and Sherwood also battled with Birmingham's Lily Sokhi just before light rain began to fall for a very brief period. French couldn't get past the combination defence of Coca Hall and Sarah Kirgan with Wood keeping Birmingham in the match with a save from Petter late in the third quarter.

Surbiton threatened in the final quarter with Dowthwaite having a shot blocked and Sherwood's deflected shot going wide of the left post, but the killer blow came on the hour mark when Martha Taylor's through pass found French in a one on one situation with Wood, and within seconds the ball rebounded off the backboard to seal Surbiton's victory.

French was unlucky not to complete a hat-trick having received the ball from a turnover just after half time, only for Wood to rescue the situation for her team with a save.

Clifton Robinsons lead Reading on goal difference after a 3-1 away win at Beeston. Sarah-Jayne Thorburn put Clifton ahead, only for Mads Newitt to level five minutes after the break. Jess Lea and Livvy Hoskins both scored within a three minute spell to clinch the win.

Reading drew 1-1 at home to Hampstead & Westminster after Madi Ratcliffe gave Hampstead the lead but Sarah Spooner salvaged a point for the Berkshire club with six minutes left.

Bowdon are the third team on seven points after they beat Isca & The University of Exeter 1-0 at home in the battle of the newly-promoted teams. Catriona Booth scored Bowdon's winning goal.

Reigning champions, East Grinstead finally got off the mark at the third attempt with a 4-2 home win over the University of Nottingham. Sophie Bray scored a hat-trick with Chloe Brown adding East Grinstead's fourth goal from the penalty spot. Sienna Dunn and Madeleine Axford equalised twice for the students before East Grinstead pulled away in the final ten minutes.

The other match between Wimbledon and Loughborough Students ended in a 0-0 draw.

Surbiton host Hampstead & Westminster next Saturday (7 October) push back 3 pm.

Surbiton W2 joined Barnes as the only two teams to have won both of their opening games when they came from behind to beat Holcombe W1 2-1 on Saturday.

Emma Bandurak put Holcombe ahead with a 26th minute penalty corner conversion, but Surbiton made a dramatic comeback in the fourth quarter. 

Charlotte Calnan equalised from the penalty spot in the 65th minute before Amie Hunt scored the winning goal a minute later from open play. Barnes won 3-1 at Team Bath Buccaneers but trail Surbiton W2 on goal difference as Surbiton are plus 6 and Barnes are currently plus 3.