W1 Win 5-0 At University Of Nottingham
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Women won 5-0 against the University of Nottingham at a rainswept Nottingham Hockey Centre on Saturday to maintain their five point lead over second-placed Reading in the Vitality Women's Hockey League Premier Division.
The game can be watched back via the University of Nottingham Sport channel on You Tube here
The match starts at the 23rd minute mark of the video.
Reading kept up the pressure with a 2-1 come from behind home victory over Bowdon, leaving them as the only team to have beaten both Surbiton and Bowdon this season.
Surbiton gave a first team debut to Amie Hunt, who has scored five goals for their second team in Division One South. Hunt came close to scoring on her debut as her shot hit the right post in the fourth quarter.
Surbiton made the perfect start in the East Midlands, Sophie Hamilton giving them the lead in the sixth minute, given plenty of space to find the backboard after a penetrating Surbiton attack.
Nottingham were enthusiastic and up for the challenge trying to intercept as many Surbiton passes as they could with Jordan Homann and Emma Stewart attacking to try and find an equaliser.
In response, Surbiton put together several passing moves with Sarah Evans, Hannah French and Hamilton unlucky not to get some reward towards the end of the first quarter.
Nottingham's Julie Read withstood pressure from French and also tackled Surbiton's Holly Payne in the second quarter, but the hosts saw their deficit doubled in the 26th minute, Eloise Stenner's penalty corner drag-flick deflected past Nottingham goalkeeper Mlla Welch by Leah Wilkinson.
The weather in Nottingham had been wet all day, but the rain intensified during the second half, but failed to dampen Surbiton's spirits as they continued in the professional manner which has seen them win eight games in a row.
Another excellent passing move saw Hamilton pass to Lottie Ross before Hamilton received the ball back. Welch was committed, allowing Hamilton to pass the ball to her left for French's bobbling shot to cross the line and put Surbiton 3-0 ahead in the 42nd minute.
Nottingham had four penalty corners compared with Surbiton's single award, but the closest they came to scoring was when Maddie Axford found herself in a one on one situation with Sabbie Heesh before Axford was denied and then shot past the right post at the second attempt.
Surbiton had an injury worry late on when Payne had to go off the field after a clash with former Surbiton player Maddie Long, but two goals in the last seven minutes enabled the visitors to keep up their one hundred per cent record at Nottingham Hockey Centre, albeit the latest victory came on a different pitch.
First, Sarah Evans scored Surbiton's fourth goal in the 63rd minute with a shot into the roof of the net and then two minutes later, French put away a rebound from short range after a Welch save to yet again score two goals in a game and overtake East Grinstead's Tess Howard as the Premier Division's top scorer with ten goals.
Heesh kept her third clean sheet in succession and it is now 237 minutes since East Grinstead's Laura Roper was the last opposing player to breach the Surbiton defence.
Elsewhere, in the second versus third place clash, Aine Curran gave Bowdon the lead at Reading but Caroline Spence and Mia Moore earned Reading the 2-1 win.
Bowdon's slip up saw them drop to fourth, with Hampstead & Westminster moving up to third thanks to their 5-0 home win over Clifton Robinsons. Anna O'Flanagan and Madi Ratcliffe both scored twice with Lily Owsley scoring at the start of the third quarter.
East Grinstead missed the chance to move up the table and remain sixth after the University of Birmingham came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw in West Sussex. Grace Balsdon and Tess Howard both scored in the first ten minutes but Lily Sokhi and Lotty Hobson helped Birmingham fight back.
Wimbledon moved up to seventh, behind East Grinstead on goal difference with a 2-1 win at Isca & University of Exeter. Georgie Gardens scored for Isca in the fourth minute but Becky Manton and Fiona Burnet ensured that Wimbledon returned from Devon with all three points.
Beeston's long wait for their first win since 23 September continues after Loughborough Students won 2-1 to move above the Nottingham club. Loughborough led 2-0 thanks to goals from Lorna Mackenzie and Beth Alexander before half time before Cerys Miller replied for Beeston in the third quarter.
Surbiton make the long trip to Bowdon next Saturday (11 November) for their penultimate league match of 2023 (push back 1.30 pm).