Hampstead & Westminster Ladies suffer league and cup defeats to Sevenoaks in successive days
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster Ladies suffered two defeats to Sevenoaks in successive days at the weekend, losing their league clash against the leaders before also being defeated in the England Hockey Cup.
On Saturday Hampstead travelled to face a side that were sitting top of the Women’s Conference East after winning all of their opening six league fixtures – and the hosts maintained their perfect record.
Both teams started with great energy and pace and the spectacle was an engrossing one, but it was Sevenoaks who took the lead after a penalty corner deflection five minutes before the break.
Hampstead increased their intensity after the interval and forced several corners of their own while registering a few efforts on goal.
However, they were unable to beat the home goalkeeper, kept her side in the lead – and Sevenoaks went on to double their lead in the 39th minute after a rapid counter-attack.
Hampstead eventually converted one of their corners, with Fleur Horner smashing the ball into the net to bring them back into the game with 17 minutes left to play. But, as the visitors pushed forward for an equaliser, Sevenoaks struck again at the other end, re-establishing their two-goal cushion with 10 minutes remaining and ultimately maintaining their three-point lead over second-placed Wimbledon, while Hampstead dropped to fourth place.
Captain Annebeth Wijtenburg and her team-mates were keen to make amends on Sunday as they took on Sevenoaks again – this time in the third round of the England Hockey Cup.
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Hampstead dominated play for the vast majority of the game but shots from Wijtenburg, Joyce Esser and Michelle Borren were all saved, and a first-half penalty corner secured a 1-0 win for Sevenoaks.
H&W will aim to return to winning ways on Sunday when they host West Herts, who lie second from bottom in the league after losing six of their seven fixtures so far.
Meanwhile, Hampstead’s men suffered a 1-0 defeat away against second-placed Beeston in the Premier Division after a decisive 25th-minute strike from Great Britain international Mark Gleghorne, and sank to sixth place.
Hampstead dominated the early exchanges and Alex Jakeman was thwarted by a superb last-ditch tackle, while Rupert Shipperly’s shot lacked the power to trouble the Bees’ keeper.
But Beeston grew into the game, exerting pressure of their own and taking the lead when Gleghorne finished off a scrappy short corner at close range.
H&W spent most of the second period camped in the Beeston half, continuously probing and winning numerous penalty corners.
But they found Simon Hujwan in fine form and the goalkeeper made a spectacular double save, denying Matt Guise-Brown and Mikie Watt, before somehow keeping out Sam French’s efforts moments later with his helmet. Hujwan made another reaction save from a Richard Smith corner in the dying minutes and was mobbed by his team-mates at the final whistle as Hampstead endured a frustrating day.
Elsewhere, Laxman Karan struck twice and Tom Bullock was also on target as West Hampstead triumphed 3-1 at Lewes in Southern Premier Division Two on Saturday.
Karan has scored in all six league games this season and is third in the division’s rankings with nine goals.