Surbiton edge thriller in the rain

Report: Colin Pike

9 November 2019

Men’s Hockey League Premier Division

Old Georgians 3 Surbiton 4

Surbiton face an important double header weekend when they host Hampstead and Westminster on Saturday and then travel to Wimbledon on Sunday, holding a three point lead over Wimbledon with a game in hand.

Old Georgians went down to their first ever top flight defeat at home to Surbiton but not after battling back to potentially draw their third successive home game 3-3 before a late Alan Forsyth goal broke Old Georgians hearts.

On a damp evening at St George’s College, the much awaited match-up between the local rivals didn’t disappoint with a large crowd treated to a seven goal thriller and Old Georgians will be left to wonder what might have happened if they could have called on Sam Ward and Ashley Jackson.

The importance of the match was in evidence when Old Georgians’ James Albery and Surbiton’s Ben Boon were sent to sit on the naughty step after both seeing green by the fourth minute.

Old Georgians took the lead in the seventh minute after Surbiton were forced to defend three successive penalty corners. The pressure eventually told, Tom Carson scoring to the delight of the home supporters.

The lead lasted but one minute, Surbiton equalising following a quick counter attack which saw Forsyth find the backboard in defiant fashion to get the match off to a lightning start.

Surbiton led 2-1 at half time, Luke Taylor scoring his twelfth goal of the season from the visitors’ second penalty corner, awarded after the first penalty corner saw Old Georgians’ Andy Bull defend at the right post.

When Tom Sorsby extended Surbiton’s lead to 3-1 in the 41st minute, Old Georgians seemed to be in trouble, but having salvaged a 3-3 draw at home to Holcombe after trailing 3-0 immediately after half time, nothing was impossible.

And so it proved, In the 56th minute, Surbiton led 3-1, four minutes later the scores were level at 3-3, Lee Morton scoring in the 57th and 60th minutes as the visiting defence was caught out twice, with the home supporters witnessing yet another comeback by their heroes.

At this point, the game was up for grabs and it was Forsyth who once again made the difference, with his back towards goal before turning and beating home goalkeeper, George Pinner with a vicious shot to steal the points for Surbiton.

Pinner had an excellent game for Old Georgians making a superb save to deny Sam Spencer, the ball deflected high into the night sky and also saving from Rob Farrington.

Old Georgians came close to a late equaliser, but Surbiton held out for what could prove to be a vital three points by the end of the season.

Wimbledon moved above Old Georgians into second place with a 7-1 win over Brooklands Manchester University.  Hampstead and Westminster also kept up the pressure on Old Georgians, winning 4-1 at the University of Exeter to go two points behind the Surrey club with a game in hand.

East Grinstead inflicted more misery on bottom club, Reading with a 3-1 win in Berkshire on Saturday night. Holcombe came from 2-0 down to earn a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Beeston to lose ground chasing a place in the top four.

Old Georgians:

Scorers: Tom Carson 7-F, Lee Morton 57-F, 60-F

Squad: George Pinner (GK), Andy Bull, Edward Fleet, Liam Sanford, Tom Carson, James Tindall, Dan Shingles, Tom Watson, Lee Morton, James Albery, Will Carter Keall. 

Subs: Edward Carson (8 mins), Matt Richards (8), Isaac Farrant (11), Mathew Ming (12), James Cunningham (22).

Cards: Green: James Albery (2 mins), Liam Sanford (53+ mins)

Surbiton:

Scorers: Alan Forsyth 8-F, 64-F; Luke Taylor 28-PC, Tom Sorsby 41-F

Squad: Harry Gibson (GK); Luke Taylor, Tom Sorsby, Ben Boon, Jonny Gall (Capt.), Jonty Griffiths, Zach Wallace, James Royce, Alan Forsyth, David Goodfield, James Gall.

Subs: Arjan Drayton Chana (7 mins), Scott Evans (7), Rob Farrington (11), Sam Spencer (11).

Cards: Green: Ben Boon (4 mins), Zach Wallace (13 mins).

Match Official: Ray Strudwick

Umpires: Nick Padget and Nick White

Images: Smif Sports

(537 words)

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