Hampstead & Westminster spurn chance to close in on summit

HAMPSTEAD & Westminster coach Todd Williams believes his side’s 2-1 loss to Loughborough Students at Paddington Rec on Sunday was a missed opportunity to demonstrate their progress.

Williams’ outfit currently lie fifth in the EHL Premier Division table and with 19 points are level with fourth-placed Loughton who came from behind to beat them with a late goal.

But, although frustrated by the loss, Williams says his men have not only continued to improve on last season’s form that saw them reach the final of the EHB Cup, but in many ways have surpassed the benchmark he set out at the start of the season.

“We are actually showing signs of going beyond that level,” Williams told Ham&High Sport. “There is no team that we cannot take on.

“On one hand it is great to know, but we are now getting to the real crunch. Are we able to take the next step?

“We made a defensive error to concede our second goal, when they scored after a defensive turnover.

“It was a real opportunity that was missed. We played well enough but didn’t convert our chances.

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“It wasn’t about who was the better team, it was who could convert their chances and we didn’t.”

There was little to separate the two sides on Sunday, as they continued to cancel each other out for the first 35 minutes to leave the game goalless at the break.

Ian Roberts opened the scoring three minutes after the restart when he slotted a penalty corner, but despite creating chances the Paddington Rec outfit failed to turn possession into points and paid the price when the visitors scored on 47 minutes.

James Osborn whipped in the equaliser from open play to leave it all to set up a thrilling finale to the contest.

Both teams continued to create chances but Loughborough secured the points when Osborn secured his brace when he converted a 60th minute penalty corner.

H&W have a double-header this weekend.

On Saturday they have a league match against Beeston at Paddington Rec and the next day they face Old Loughtonians in the quarter-finals of the EHB Cup, in Essex.