Week 9 featured match review: East Grinstead 2-2 Surbiton

Surbiton

A late goal from Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth, his second of the game, was enough to secure a point for Todd Williams’ side in a see-saw encounter with East Grinstead. The Scottish international struck two minutes from time, adding to his strike in the 21st minute, to cancel out goals from Glenn Kirkham and Tim Deakin for the hosts.

The game started at a frantic pace with both sides pressing high up the pitch causing a large number of turnovers in the opening minutes.

Surbiton were the first to threaten as they forced a penalty corner on seven minutes. James Royce drew a good save out of Richard Potton low to his right.

At the other end, Ashley Jackson played a lovely driven pass to Mark Pearn who found himself with just David Kettle to beat; the goalkeeper was out swiftly and made an excellent block to keep the scores level. However, it wasn’t long before the home side got their noses in front. Ross Stott collected the ball near the left touchline and played a splendid cross field pass to Glenn Kirkham. Kirkham cut inside and sent a bullet shot into the far corner, giving Kettle no chance.

Surbiton almost drew level straight away: Simon Faulkner was robbed just outside the D by Matt Daly. Daly fed Rob Moore who turned and hit a good reverse stick shot that Potton did well to turn around the post. Surbiton were putting the pressure on and after 21 minutes they levelled the scores. Forsyth broke into the D on the left and hit a fierce low strike across Potton and into the far corner for 1-1.

Parity lasted just six minutes as the home side re-established the lead from an unlikely source. Deakin on a rare foray forward, was given time and space to advance into the D on the left. Although he seemed to have lost control of the ball, the former Surbiton man still got a good reverse stick strike in that found the bottom corner via a slight deflection.

Surbiton worked hard to create an opening as they sought to get back on level terms. Chris Grassick was at the heart of most of their good work; the Great Britain star linked the play together nicely and got forward at every opportunity, giving the Sussex side plenty to think about. East Grinstead defended very strongly with the forwards dropping back to put pressure on the ball, helping to deny Surbiton any more clear cut chances before the break

Immediately after half time Forsyth had a gilt-edged opportunity as he latched onto a long pass inside the D only to see Potton pull off another good block. At the other end Ashley Jackson forced a fine smothering save from Kettle as the game flowed from end to end.

Surbiton stepped up their search for an equaliser and not for the first time Potton stood in their way. First, he saved from another Royce penalty corner and then he showed good agility to get across his goal to see off Michael Watt’s effort from a square pass across the face of goal. East Grinstead went close to adding a third as Ashley Jackson fired a lovely diagonal ball into the D where Pearn’s deflection beat Kettle but went wide of the post.

The hosts were made to rue their missed chances with just two minutes left to play. Iain Lewers was robbed inside his own half by Rob Moore. The Great Britain forward slid a square pass to Forsyth who collected the ball and steered it home underneath the advancing goalkeeper for a beautifully taken equaliser. A draw was probably a fair result as East Grinstead enjoyed a better first half, whilst Surbiton probably shaded the second. For the home side’s player coach Mark Pearn it was a little frustrating to concede a later equaliser and drop points for the second week in a row:

“Last week was a real step up in our performance and we were pleased to fight back and pick up a point. Today we’re disappointed to lose a goal so late. It was a close game, I thought Surbiton played very well, they pressed us very aggressively. We controlled periods of the game but didn’t link up as well as we could in the final third and didn’t take our chances. It’s disappointing getting so close to the victory and not taking it.”

Surbiton coach Todd Williams was pleased with his team’s display, telling England Hockey:

“It was a pretty good game. East Grinstead is a fantastic place to play hockey especially in front of a big crowd like today. It was tight and tense as you’d expect. We hung on a little bit in the first half but I thought we had a very good second half. I think the goal we scored late on to equalise was probably fair reward for the way we played in the second period. It is only a point which of course might make a big difference at the end of the season, but as much as it’s a cliché we were more pleased with the performance than the result.”

Next week Williams’ side go up against his former club Hampstead and Westminster whilst East Grinstead travel to Sheffield Hallam. To read all of the latest results and fixtures, visit our competititions pages.