Hampstead & Westminster's men draw on positives, while women see unbeaten run end
PUBLISHED: 08:55 01 November 2018
Hampstead & Westminster had to settle for a point against Holcombe as their five-match winning run was brought to an end at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.
The two sides had only conceded two goals each so far this season, so a high-scoring encounter was not to be expected.
But a good crowd witnessed a tense battle under the floodlights on a cold October night, with the hosts having the better of the early exchanges.
Sam French had a corner appeal turned down and Marc Edwards dragged a shot wide after driving into the D.
And dogged defending by the visitors ensured it remained all square at the interval.
Defences continued to dominate in the second half, but Welsh star Jonny Gooch burst through some strong tackles to draw a foul in the D for the first corner.
Matt Guise-Brown’s drag flick was well saved, though, and the follow-up attempt went wide, before Holcombe answered with a chance of their own late on, which Toby Reynolds-Cotterill kept out with a great diving save.
And so it ended goalless and Hampstead were knocked off top spot by Surbiton, who now lead the way on goal difference.
The top two – the only unbeaten sides left in the Premier Division – meet this weekend in what is sure to be another thrilling encounter as Hampstead look to avenge their penalty shoot-out loss in last season’s final.
The Hampstead women had a top-of-the-table clash of their own last weekend, but a long unbeaten run ended in dramatic fashion as they lost 3-2 at Cambridge City.
The visitors had chances to take the lead in a goalless first half, then fell behind as City netted from a short corner within a minute of the restart.
Hampstead levelled two minutes later as Fleur Horner fired a long ball into the D and Mel Wilkinson volleyed through the keeper’s legs.
But Cambridge regained the lead on the hour with a drag flick into the top right corner which looked set to be the winner.
Lucy Hyams converted from close range at a Hampstead corner two minutes from time, though, to suggest it might end all sqaure, only for the home side to win a last-gasp penalty flick, which Megan Crowson converted.
After a first loss since the 2016/17 season, Hampstead host Bedford and Southgate next.