Hampstead & Westminster’s home openers serve up fine wins over Wimbledon rivals
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster’s women got the defence of their Conference East title off to a fine start with a 3-0 win over Wimbledon.
The south London club had denied Hampstead a 100 per cent record last season with a draw in the corresponding fixture, on the way to finishing runners-up.
But the hosts struck after just four minutes when Jasmine Clark forced the ball home after some excellent play on the left to give coaches Kate Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher an early lift.
Clark then won penalty corner from a counter attack, which Emily Douglas slotted home five minutes before the break.
Wimbledon came out firing in the second half and with Hampstead down to 10 players after a succession of cards it took some smart saves from Rochelle Gianfrancesco and excellent defending to preserve their lead.
Once back to full strength, Hampstead reasserted their dominance and another superb team move on the left was coolly finished off by Hayley Turner with five minutes to go.
The men followed up their win at Reading with a 1-0 victory over their Wimbledon counterparts, last season’s champions.
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The sides have been evenly matched over the last 18 months, but this latest derby had more spice after Wimbledon lost to Hampstead at the League Finals.
Hampstead started strongly and took advantage of an early miss trap by GB defender Michael Hoare as Sam French gathered the loose ball in the circle and expertly won a penalty corner, which Matthew Guise-Brown converted for his first goal of the season as he powered the ball past goalkeeper James Bailey.
Ex-Hampstead forward Jonny Codling inadvertently received a stick to the face which required treatment and led to a lengthy delay and clear chances were few and far between after that.
GB captain Phil Roper and Ed Horler won a host of corners for Wimbledon early in the second half, but new goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill stood firm.
Hampstead’s GB international Will Calnan went close on a quick counter attack and Rupert Shipperly forced Bailey into a sharp save from a narrow angle.
And resolute defending from Paul Melkert and Joe Crame kept the Dons at bay late on as Hampstead clung on to the points ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Beeston at Paddington Rec.