Guise-Brown takes his tally to five goals in two games but Hampstead & Westminster lose their lead
- Credit: Archant
Summer signing Matt Guise-Brown struck twice on Saturday, taking his tally to five goals in two games – but Hampstead & Westminster threw away a two-goal lead and were held to a 2-2 draw in their London derby against Surbiton.
South Africa international Guise-Brown, who had scored a hat-trick on his debut against Canterbury, netted either side of half-time as Hampstead sought to retain their place at the top of the fledgling Premier Division table.
However, their hosts halved the deficit and then equalised in the final seconds, leaving H&W fourth in the standings.
A tight game was always on the cards, given that a number of players had swapped sides during the summer, resulting in a game where the two teams knew each other intimately.
Hampstead nearly shot themselves in the foot right at the start as Richard Smith gave the ball away to the home side’s forward after a matter of seconds and watched as his opponent lobbed goalkeeper David Kettle – but Guise-Brown got back in time to clear the ball off the line.
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Discipline was important for the visitors in front of a large partisan crowd, but Will Calnan was sent to the sin-bin, getting a green card for a stick tackle.
With Hampstead down to 10 men, Surbiton forced the first corner of the game, but it was well defended by runner Chris Cargo and Kettle.
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H&W then earned a corner of their own following nice link-up play between Sam French and Stuart Loughrey, and Guise-Brown forced a save while Rupert Shipperley was unable to convert the rebound.
Jonny Codling and Matt Botha continued to look threatening on the attack – and Hampstead took the lead before the break from another penalty corner, with Guise-Brown this time beating goalkeeper Harry Gibson, who was guarding Hampstead’s net last season.
The visitors took their momentum into the second half and, before long, they had doubled their lead, with Guise-Brown firing another penalty corner past the diving Gibson.
Hampstead were on course to remain in pole position in the top flight, but Surbiton battled back.
Liam Ansell’s backhand shot hit the post and the resulting melee forced Hampstead into some desperate defending - Geoff McCabe eventually cleared the ball while lying on his stomach in the middle of the D.
But the home side continued to press and Scotland international Alan Forysth eventually pulled a goal back, firing past Kettle from close range.
With three minutes to go, Surbiton forced a succession of penalty corners – and the pressure told again as former Great Britain international and London Olympian Matthew Daly ripped an unstoppable drag flick past Kettle.
There was just time for Hampstead to launch a final attack, and good work down the right-hand side resulted in a ball flashing across the goal-line, with Toby Roche arriving at the far past at full stretch but sending the ball the wrong side of the post.
Meanwhile, Hampstead & Westminster Ladies played out a goalless draw away against Chelmsford in their second game of the season.
Both teams had chances but H&W goalkeeper Roxy Gianfrancesco made some fine saves to keep the scores level, while the visitors were unable to convert their own chances at the other end.
They sit sixth in the Women’s Conference East and will bid for their first win of the season when they host St Albans on Saturday.