Surbiton 6 Reading 2
Surbiton moved up to second, two points behind new leaders, Hampstead and Westminster following a devastating second half performance which saw them run out 6-2 winners over Reading and former leaders Holcombe surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to East Grinstead.
Hampstead took over the leadership after a convincing 5-0 triumph at the University of Exeter, the only team which Surbiton have dropped points to in 2018-19.
In front of another bumper crowd under the Sugden Road floodlights, Surbiton took the lead in the eleventh minute, Arjan Drayton Chana finding himself in a one on one situation with Reading goalkeeper, Chris Wyver before slipping the ball into the goal.
A team is never more vulnerable than when they have just scored and Surbiton proved that theory when a minute later, Reading immediately replied through Lee Morton to restore parity. Three minutes later, Charlie Ellison went close to giving the Sonning Lane club the lead, firing left of the goal from Reading’s first penalty corner.
As the first half progressed, Surbiton developed passing moves to try and unlock the Reading defence and just when it seemed that the teams were going into half time level, one such move left Wyver wrongfooted, leaving space for Scott Evans to slide the ball home from short range to restore Surbiton’s lead.
Reading had lost their only other away game 5-0 at Holcombe, but another heavy defeat was most definitely not on the cards in the 44th minute when Ellison converted the visitors’ second penalty corner to give them hope of emulating Exeter and returning home from Sugden Road with a point.
Starting midway through the second half, Surbiton stepped up a gear and stunned Reading with three quick clinical finishes not leaving the visitors’ defence time to recover. The goal burst started in the 52nd minute when Wyver saved from Alan Forsyth twice, but was beaten at the third attempt as Surbiton took the lead for the third time in the match at 3-2.
This time the lead was for keeps, James Royce’s drag-flick too powerful for Wyver to cope with in the 54th minute before Ben Boon ran towards goal and finished in emphatic fashion in the 55th minute to suddenly leave Reading trailing 5-2 when four minutes earlier they had been level at 2-2.
As at Brooklands the previous week, Boon scored Surbiton’s last two goals of the match, completing the scoring with one minute to play. Boon was unlucky not to score a hat-trick after Wyver saved well from a shot set up by Forsyth as Surbiton threatened to run the Reading defence ragged. Wyver also made another spectacular save in a match which had been competitive up to the 52nd minute.
Scorers: Arjan Drayton Chana 11-F, Scott Evans 34-F, Alan Forsyth 52-F, James Royce 54-PC, Ben Boon 55-F, 69-F
Squad: Tim Atkins, Lewis Prosser, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonathan Gall (Capt.), James Royce, Alan Forsyth, Sam Spencer, Nick Parkes, Taylor Seager-Green (GK), Rory Calnan.
Subs: Conor Williamson (6 mins), Arjan Drayton Chana (6), Scott Evans (9), William Marshall (11), Harry Gough (29).
Scorers: Lee Morton 12-F, Charlie Ellison 44-PC
Squad: Joshua Bretherton, Charlie Ellison, Adam Miller, Max Heaver, Lee Morton, Matt Richards, Craig Falconer, Max Carter-Keall, Stuart Loughrey, Jatinder Bachu, Chris Wyver (GK).
Subs: Freddy Newbold (6 mins), Ciaran O’Connell (Capt.) (7), Connor Roberts (9), Oscar Stewart (10), Richie Owen (10).
Cards: Green: Jatinder Bachu (47). Yellow: Adam Miller (49).
Match Official: Jo Pennycook
Umpires: Dan Barstow and Nick White
Colin Pike | Tim Redder