Surbiton secure playoff spot with half a season to go

Men’s Hockey League Premier Division

Surbiton 7 University of Exeter 0

Surbiton clinched their place in the end of season playoffs with a 7-0 demolition of the University of Exeter on Saturday afternoon.  The weekend got worse for Exeter on Sunday when Reading won 2-1 at home to Beeston to lift themselves off the bottom of the table and leave Exeter in the automatic relegation place.

Surbiton had won 8-2 at Exeter in the first fixture and took the lead in the return fixture in the first minute, Alan Forsyth scoring from open play. When Forsyth struck again six minutes later, it seemed that it was going to be damage limitation exercise for the visitors.

Yet, Surbiton didn’t really find their goalscoring momentum until the third quarter when Forsyth completed his hat-trick in the 42nd minute.  Exeter were then stunned with three goals in four minutes as Luke Taylor converted a 49th minute penalty corner, Ben Boon scored from open play a minute later and Tom Sorsby scored Surbiton’s sixth goal in the 52nd minute.

David Goodfield added a seventh goal in the 63rd minute, but in spite of the final scoreline, Exeter can be grateful to former Surbiton goalkeeper, Taylor Seager-Green who made several saves.

Beeston’s defeat at Reading prevented them from closing the gap on the top four, with ten points separating fourth and fifth places with six matches remaining.

Wimbledon trail Surbiton by nine points having played a game more after their 4-2 home win over Old Georgians, who dropped to fourth as a result. Hampstead & Westminster won 4-3 at Brooklands Manchester University to move up to third, eleven points behind leaders Surbiton.

East Grinstead also won 4-3 at home to Holcombe with both teams really needing a miracle if either team is going to break into the top four in the second half of the season.

The season resumes on 16 February when Surbiton face a tough test away to Hampstead & Westminster and the University of Exeter will need to beat Reading at home to boost their chances of avoiding automatic relegation to Division One.

Surbiton:

Scorers: Alan Forsyth 1-F, 7-F, 42-F; Luke Taylor 49-PC, Ben Boon 50-F, Tom Sorsby 52-F, David Goodfield 63-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: Rob Farrington (6 mins), Arjan Drayton-Chana (6), Sam Spencer (7), Conor Williamson (12).

Cards: Green: Zach Wallace (56 mins).

University of Exeter:

Squad: Taylor Seager-Green (GK); Alex Sweet, Rhys Bradshaw, Duncan Scott (Capt.), Tom Butler, Max Lowrey, Kiran Patel, Sam Hooper, Tomek Bruml, Dan Jackson, Archie Winter.

Subs: Owen Evans-Evans (7 mins), Tom Brooks (7), James Ferguson (9), Sam Paterson (13), George Carson (14).

Cards: Green: Duncan Scott (42 mins), Max Lowrey (51 mins).

Match Official: Ray Strudwick

Umpires: Will Champness and Andy Higgins

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