EG claim Championship Final spot

East Grinstead Niall Stott against Beeston 480 x 290
East Grinstead 5 (0)
Tony Wilson 45 (FG)
Chris Griffiths 46 (FG)
Mark Pearn 48 (FG)
Simon Faulkner 55 (FG)
Joe Naughalty 64 (FG)

Beeston 1 (1)
Tim Whiteman 13 (FG)

In the first semi final of the day league toppers East Grinstead took on fourth place finishers and last year’s champions Beeston. The Nottinghamshire side have struggled with injuries all season, but with a full strength squad on show this weekend it was sure to be a close encounter.

East Grinstead had the best of the early chances and Beeston needed Jamie Cachia at his best in goal to save from Ashley Jackson after the England and GB midfielder fired a penalty corner at Scotland’s number one. After sustaining the opening pressure, Beeston pushed forward and were rewarded in the 13th minute when Tim Whiteman found the roof of the net from the tightest of angles to make it 1-0.

The second quarter was an even affair with neither side managing to break their opponent’s defence down. Cachia was the man on form as he saved twice more from Jackson’s drag flicks and as the sides headed in for half time it was the Bees with the slender advantage.

East Grinstead came out the blocks quickly in the third quarter and three goals in the space of three minutes turned the tie on its head. Firstly, Tony Wilson was able to slot a bouncing ball home from close range before Chris Griffiths and then Mark Pearn wrote their names on the score sheet. 

In the final quarter East Grinstead continued to dominate with Simon Faulkner and Joe Naughalty adding to the tally. Faulkner’s goal was the pick of the game, as he carved his way through the Beeston defence, before firing the ball high past a helpless Cachia.  

The 5 -1 victory means East Grinstead have booked themselves a place in tomorrow’s final and will be battling it out against the winners of semi-final two – Wimbledon vs. Surbiton.  

East Grinstead captain Niall Stott was pleased with his sides second half turn around: "It was a convincing win. We had lots more chance than Beeston, and we felt like we could score a lot more. We weren't quite on top of our penalty corner routine today, but the important thing is that we got the result - a big result. Beeston have beaten us a lot at this stage in the past, so it was really nice to get the win today. Whoever we end up playing in the final tomorrow, we'll do our preparation and we'll be pumped up for it."

Captain Adam Dixon commented on Beeston's overall performance: "It wasn't a performance that deserved victory today from us unfortunately. EG defended well, soaked up a lot of pressure. I felt like we controlled the game in the first half - we got the goal, but EG stuck at it. Fair play to them, they fully deserved the win today. We struggled to break them down, they were organised, they had a game plan and they stuck to it." 

Advance tickets are available for tomorrow's fixtures until midnight tonight. Tickets will also be available to purchase on the door at an increased price of £22.50 for adults and £8 for U18s. Click here to purchase.