Week 11 featured match review: Surbiton 8-1 Sheffield Hallam

Surbiton celebrate, April 2013 - 450

A ruthless second half display from Surbiton, including a hat-trick from Scottish International Alan Forsyth condemned Sheffield Hallam to a heavy defeat in the last game before the Christmas break.

Hallam led 1-0 through a William Marshall goal in the sixth minute but two quick goals from Matt Daly on 32 minutes and Forsyth on the stroke of half-time swung the momentum in favour of the home side, who produced a splendid attacking performance after the break.

Sheffield took the lead from their first meaningful attack. Liam Ansell’s penalty corner was cleared off the line by Forsyth, but the ball was crossed back in from the right. David Kettle was unable to clear and Will Marshall swept home from close range.

Sheffield visibly grew in confidence and with Gavin Byers pulling the strings they could easily have extended their lead. Will Hearne fired a reverse stick shot on the turn wide of the far post in the 11th minute and on 20 minutes Kettle was out quickly to smother a good chance from Byers after David Bond had stolen possession just outside the D.

Surbiton crept back into the contest and were unlucky to see Michael Watt’s fierce strike from the top of the D crash against the crossbar before goalkeeper Jamie Cachia made an excellent diving save to get a glove on a James Tindall reverse stick effort.

With three minutes left in the half, Sheffield were pegged back. James Ashcroft’s hard-hit cross from the left was expertly deflected into the far corner by Matt Daly. Then, moments before the half time whistle sounded, Rob Moore broke three tackles and found his way into the D. Forsyth pounced on the chance and slapped in his first to make the half time score 2-1.

It took the hosts just seven minutes of the second half to extend their lead. Rob Schilling made good ground down the right and lifted his cross in towards goal. James Tindall reacted the quickest and got the touch to beat Cachia.

Sheffield were wobbling and but for some wonderful goalkeeping by Scotland international Cachia they could have sunk without trace. First the No. 1 pulled off a splendid tip over to deny his Scotland teammate Chris Grassick from the top of the D and then he excelled himself further with a treble save denying Daly from a penalty corner, Forsyth magnificently from the follow up and then Scott Evans from another rebound. Cachia’s heroics couldn’t keep Surbiton at bay forever though, and after 52 minutes it was 4-1. This time Daly got the better of the Sheffield keeper with an accurate drag flick to the goalkeeper’s left.

A minute later Daly turned provider, his cross from the right of the D found Forsyth at the far post, who made no mistake from close range. Grassick was growing in influence with every passing minute. The Great Britain midfielder linked defence and attack together seamlessly as Surbiton pressed for more goals.

Forsyth completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute. Tindall won the ball in the Sheffield half and found James Royce. Royce’s cross evaded Cachia and Forsyth was left with the simple task of guiding the ball over the line. Surbiton were rampant and they made it 7-1 with 12 minutes left. Tindall collected a long ball on the left and using Forsyth as a decoy rounded the last defender and fired a bullet shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the D.

Todd Williams’ side weren’t done there and with the final whistle imminent they added goal number eight. Royce was allowed to turn in the D and he made no mistake, finding the far corner with a low shot.

For Sheffield it was a harsh lesson as Surbiton’s ruthlessness in front of goal as well as their vast experience made the difference between the two sides.

Sheffield Hallam Coach Vicky Joel told England Hockey:

“For the first half an hour we played exactly as we’d intended to. Unfortunately we switched off twice which gave them two goals that they didn’t have to work as hard for as I would have liked. That was disappointing, as was the second half and the way we approached the game. We allowed them to find too many gaps in our defence.

“If I’m honest, maturity and experience played a part today. We’re still looking for reasons things don’t go our way rather than trying to affect things we can change. We have players missing through injury and international call-ups which can make things tough; however, we were in the game for a long time which makes the way we played second half very frustrating.”

Surbiton Coach Todd Williams was very happy with the way his squad dealt with the challenge posed by Sheffield:

“It was 1-0 for quite a long time and I think they’d settled into a style that they wanted to keep the game at throughout. For us to have equalised and then taken the lead made them change their plan almost immediately. I think that rocked them and of course the same thing happened second half, we scored quickly which probably disrupted the style game they wanted to have.

“I think we managed the game very well. They’re in a tough spot and they’re working really hard but we didn’t let the game become the contest they might have wanted. We pressed them well and made good choices in the circle which we got the reward for.”

With Loughborough Students picking up a win against Hampstead and Westminster, Hallam are bottom at the Christmas break. Surbiton have a two point lead over fifth placed Wimbledon and trail Reading by three points. To read all of the latest results and fixtures, visit our competititions pages. The league resumes in February after the indoor season.