Week Two Featured Match Review: Men's

East Grinstead 450

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Featured match report - Canterbury vs East Grinstead.

East Grinstead gave their hosts a lesson in finishing with a dominant display to make it two wins from two in the league this season. A combination of six different scorers netted nine times between them for the visitors, whilst Wei Adams struck a lone reply for the hosts on his home debut.

East Grinstead set the tone for the rest of the match with the opening goal after three minutes. Mark Pearn played a neat 1-2 with Joe Naughalty inside the D. The ball broke to Ashley Jackson who slapped his shot at goal, striking a defender on the line and resulting in a penalty stroke. Jackson calmly despatched the chance high to the goalkeeper’s right and the Saint Hill side were in the ascendancy.

The opening ten minutes was played at an incredible pace with both sides attacking in numbers and moving the ball quickly to try to create openings. Canterbury thought they’d levelled on seven minutes when Isaac O’Connor produced a brilliant run inside from the right, beating two defenders before rifling the ball past Richard Potton. The ball hit both posts but despite the reaction of the crowd it stayed out. Adams tested Potton’s reflexes from an early penalty corner but the EG No.1 got down well to keep it out.

On 24 minutes, East Grinstead doubled their lead. Naughalty found Pearn from a penalty corner and the former Great Britain star took a touch before scooping the ball into the roof of the net. Canterbury rallied but Harry Roberts was unable to keep his reverse stick effort down and it flew over the bar without troubling Potton.

With five minutes left in the half, the difference between the two sides was clear for all to see: Not for the first time, The Saint Hill side displayed their ruthless streak in front of goal. Ricky Fraser’s cross popped up off a defender’s stick and Niall Stott lashed the ball into the net on the volley giving Antoni Kindler no chance. Two minutes later it was 4-0, Jackson notched his second of the match with a penalty corner that beat Kindler to his left.

Grinstead hadn’t finished there and just before half time Tony Wilson seized on a mistake in the Canterbury backline and fed David Condon on the edge of the D. The England International, making his debut, fired a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 at the break.

The visitors showed no sign of letting up in the second period. From the re-start Jackson picked out Pearn inside the D and the former Reading star was kept out by an excellent save from Kindler. From the resultant long corner the ball was played back into the D, Wilson rounded the goalkeeper and calmly slotted home to make it 6-0.

Canterbury rallied and forced a penalty corner. Captain Michael Farrer stepped up but his low flick was repelled by Richard Potton. The game was starting to see-saw with chances at either end. Jackson played a lovely aerial pass to Condon but Kindler was out sharply to smother and clear. At the other end Adams went close with a deflection and then Toby Vaughan beat Potton with a sliding touch only to see Naughalty appear from nowhere and clear off the line.

Canterbury gave the home crowd something to cheer about as Adams beat Potton in the 44th minute with a powerful penalty corner but it was clearly only to be a consolation goal.

Ten minutes later East Grinstead scored their seventh. A lovely move down the right involving Andy Piper and Naughalty freed Pearn inside the D. He turned away from his marker and lifted the ball over Kindler and into the far corner. On 58 minutes, Adam Jordan ran into the channel on the right to collect a long pass from Simon Faulkner. He cut in towards the D and found Condon who made no mistake and smashed the ball into the bottom corner.

Roberts squandered another late chance for Canterbury after being played in by Farrer and then the home side’s misery was completed as Piper added goal number nine after good approach play from Pearn and Jordan.

Canterbury Captain Michael Farrer was quite matter of fact about the game, telling England Hockey: “We got beaten by a better side today. We need to toughen up a bit. We were a bit naïve at times and East Grinstead took advantage of that. They were strong all over the park and they won the 50-50 battles which is crucial at this level. We struggled to maintain possession and with the quality they have, they punished us.”

In the East Grinstead camp, Player-Coach Mark Pearn was understandably delighted with his team’s efforts: “Last week we created just as many chances against Sheffield but we weren’t as clinical. We did a lot of work in training with the forwards and ensuring the midfield got closer to them and that showed as we had numbers in the circle and our shooting was ten times better. We scored some fantastic goals.” He continued: “The new players have settled in really well and with Karl Stagno helping with the coaching side of things we feel a lot stronger across the board. If we can keep improving and keep up our momentum I’ll be very pleased.”

Next week East Grinstead play host to Beeston, 4-3 winners over Reading this week, in what promises to be a huge clash. Canterbury hope to be able to put today’s disappointment to one side and bounce back against Loughborough Students who themselves lost out this week to Hampstead and Westminster.