Historic win for Hampstead & Westminster men, before Mannheimer end EHL hopes
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster’s men became the first English side to beat Dutch opponents for six years at the EHL in their first-ever match at European level.
But after an historic win over 2011 champions HGC in Barcelona, they saw hopes of a place in the Final 8 at Easter dashed by German side Mannheimer on Sunday.
Matt Guise-Brown gave Hampstead an early lead under a blazing hot sun last Friday, with his sixth goal in four games from penalty corners and the win was sealed by Director of Hockey Richard Wijtenburg-Smith.
He said: "A brilliant start to EHL life to get a win. I'm pleased we finished our chances to go two up and hold on. I think we lost our nerve slightly and it got a little bit tight towards the end, but lots of positives for us."
HGC started on the attack with a powerful left-hand strike by Floris van der Kroon from the top of the circle, forcing a diving save from Toby Reynolds-Cotterill. But Hampstead struck when South African international Guise-Brown fired a signature drag flick into the left corner.
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Harry Martin received a green card in the second quarter but HGC could not capitaliise and Reynolds-Cotterill made a save from Kenta Tanaka after a brilliant turn in the D in the second half.
James Oates then played the ball onto a HGC foot for a penalty corner, which Wijtenburg-Smith powered into the top right corner to make it 2-0.
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HGC missed a corner of their own, before Hampstead's Gotz Mahdi received a yellow card, and the Dutch side secured two more corners, with the second fired into the top right corner by captain Van Ass to set up a nervy finale.
But a crucial interception by Chris Cargo and failed penalty corner in the final minute meant it wasn't to be for HGC as Hampstead celebrated.
Mannheimer had won bronze last year and took the lead at the end of the first quarter through Luis Kinsel.
Hampstead built pressure on goalkeeper Lukas Stumpf but could not convert until the third quarter when a foul on Will Calnan allowed Guise-Brown to send a low penalty corner into the right side of the net to level.
Another Guise-Brown drag flick was saved by Stumpf a few minutes later, though, and Mannheimer made their penalty corner count as Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat fired in the winning goal in the 47th minute.
The final minutes of the game were tense with several promising attacks and Hampstead going close to equalising from a penalty corner. But the shot was saved and Cargo just couldn't get enough on the deflection off the keeper.