Beeston beat East Grinstead in EHL KO16

Ben Arnold celebrates a goal for Beeston in the Men's Hockey League

Beeston HC have secured their place in the Euro Hockey League Quarter Finals KO8, battling to an extra time victory over rivals East Grinstead. A deflected penalty corner strike from Oliver Willars in the final minute of the first period of Silver Goal extra time gave Beeston the win after normal time in the match finished with the scores locked at 2-2. The result sets up a Quarter Final meeting against HC Bloemendaal (NED) on Monday at 11:00am (UK time). 

The Bees opened the match scoring four minutes from the end of the first quarter thanks to a thumping strike from Carl Smith, who took full advantage of Grinstead’s failure to clear a loose ball to rattle home a powerful drive directly in front goal. Beeston were well worth their lead, having dominated possession and created more goal-scoring opportunities in the opening stages.

However, it was East Grinstead who had the better of the second stage, with team captain Glenn Kirkham scoring twice to give his team a 2-1 lead. 2009 FIH Young Player of the year Ashley Jackson was the architect of Kirkham’s first goal, picking out his diving team-mate with a perfectly weighted pass for a close-range deflection. Kirkham second of the game – a rasping shot through the legs of Beeston keeper George Pinner – actually came while his team were reduced in numbers, with Niall Stott serving a five minute suspension after being shown a Yellow Card.  Beeston stepped up their game toward the end of the quarter with man of the match Ben Arnold and Adam Dixon both going close, but it was Grinstead who went into half time with a slim advantage in place. 

East Grinstead found themselves on the back-foot in the early stages of the fourth quarter, as Beeston set about the task of getting an equaliser in determined fashion. The Bees applied huge pressure on their opponents, earning a number of penalty corners before the seemingly inevitable equaliser arrived from captain Adam Dixon, who showed incredible composure to wrong-foot the goalkeeper and slide a shot into the goal in his reverse.

The final quarter saw no further goals but was packed with incident. Beeston continued to pressurize the Grinstead defence and would surely have scored were it not for three brilliant saves from EG shot-stopper Richard Potton. However, Grinstead’s cause was hit when yellow cards were awarded to Ollie Ashdown and Ashley Jackson towards the end of regulation time, meaning that they would have to play the majority of the first period of Silver Goal extra time with nine players.

Beeston dominated the play in extra time but struggled to find a way past the inspired Richard Potton, who was in sparkling form. That was until the very last attack of the half, when a penalty corner resulted in the winning goal of the game. Oliver Willars was the scorer of the decisive strike, with his goal-bound strike taking a wicked deflection from the stick of Rick Gay before sailing past stranded Potton. 

EHL review

EHL Man of the match: Ben Arnold (Beeston HC)

Reading face Belgian side KHC dragons tomorrow afternoon at 13:30pm (UK time). Watch it LIVE here.