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Highbury Korfball Club retain top spot with fifth successive victory

PUBLISHED: 13:27 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:27 14 January 2014

Martin Petrie scored a hat-trick for Highbury

Martin Petrie scored a hat-trick for Highbury

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Swiss Cottage-based Highbury Korfball Club maintained their advantage at the top of the table in London Regional League One, beating Croydon II 15-12 to secure their fifth consecutive win.

Fielding an unchanged starting line-up, coach Andrew Speck was hoping consistency would be the key in stretching the team’s winning start to 2014.

It was a positive start from hosts Highbury, who fought went into an early lead thanks to two penalties from Moses Hutchinson-Pascal. However, Croydon were not going to lie down easily and they duly responded with two efforts of their own to restore parity.

Sara Rocha restored Highbury’s lead, only for Croydon to equalise for the second time. However Martin Petrie, who last week scored two identical long-range shots in the space of two minutes, did exactly the same again – and the home team never relinquished that lead.

Alun Perkins got a rare but welcome goal from range before Niccola Hyslop and Matt Dodds put Highbury very much in the ascendency.

Croydon threatened to get back into the game before half-time with a couple of quickfire goals, but Dodds ensured a comeback was not on the cards just yet.

Croydon came at Highbury in the second half in an attempt to get back into the game, scoring three goals to Highbury’s one to bring themselves to within one goal - but Joanna Faure Walker then scored a vital effort to keep the visitors at bay after a nervy passage of play.

Speck called on his substitutes bench to breathe some new life into the game, bringing on the Portugese pair Tiago Almeida and Ana Rocha in place of Perkins and Faure Walker – and the changes had the desired effect.

Almeida scored almost immediately and, although Croydon pulled one back, Ana Rocha won a penalty which was converted by Hyslop, and Martin Petrie then completed his hat-trick in fine fashion to put the home team 14-10 up.

The game finished with Almeida adding one more to the tally, sandwiched in between two Croydon goals, as Highbury celebrated another victory.

Speck said: “Following the important match [against Mitcham] last week was always going to be a challenge, but one which we would succeed in if we played the way we have over the last three matches.

“This time we showed that we are able to adapt and change, meeting every challenge thrown at us in putting away our opponents.

“From the changes that secured the game to the early goals scored when the opportunities were presented, all 10 players can be proud of a performance that keeps us top for a fourth week running.”

Highbury are next in action against Nomads II on Sunday 26 January.

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