Hockey: Hampstead & Westminster 3 Surbiton 3 (2-3 pens)
PUBLISHED: 15:30 29 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 29 April 2018
Hampstead & Westminster's men suffered penalty shoot-out heartache in the Hockey League final at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.
They came back from two goals down against defending champions Surbiton to lead 3-2 heading into the closing minutes.
But Surbiton grabbed a late equaliser to force penalty shuffles and came out on top in sudden death for their second successive title.
Having beaten Wimbledon in their semi-final on Saturday, Hampstead fell behind late in the first quarter against Surbiton as Scotland star Alan Forysth found the back of the net with a diving finish from a right-wing cross from Zach Wallace.
And it was 2-0 a minute into the second quarter as Forsyth, the league’s player of the season, claimed his second goal of the game from the penalty spot, leaving the men from Maida Vale with a mountain to climb.
But Hampstead halved the deficit midway through the quarter when Irish international Chris Cargo converted from a penalty corner.
And it was all square on 28 minutes when Will Calnan produced a driving run into the D and a superb reverse-stick finish from a tight angle on the left to level.
That gave Hampstead a lift for the second half and, after a tense third quarter, they took the lead for the first time on 42 minutes as Matt Guise-Brown converted from a penalty corner with a low drag flick inside the far post.
And they were only two minutes away from being crowned champions when Welsh international Gareth Furlong got Surbiton back on level terms from another penalty corner.
That sent the final to a penalty shoot-out and Calnan beat Harry Gibson with Hampstead’s second effort to open the scoring, before Forysth produced a superb spin and finish to level.
Two-time Olympian Harry Martin made it 2-1 to Hampstead with another reverse-stick finish, with Jamie Legg then producing two fine saves to keep his side in front.
That left Cargo to take Hampstead’s fifth and final shuffle with the chance to win it, but Gibson kicked the ball wide and David Goodfield squared matters to send it to sudden death.
Forysth converted for a second time in the shoot-out to give Surbiton the upper hand and Martin was unable to find a way past Gibson, his England team-mate at the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia, as Hampstead were left heartbroken.
*There was disappointment for Hampstead & Westminster’s women also, as they were pipped to promotion by Slough at the University of Birmingham.
Having drawn with Slough in their first round-robin play-off match a week earlier and then lost to Beeston, they claimed a 4-2 win over Stourport.
Lauren Turner cancelled out Stourport’s opener, with Jessica Orsett then putting Hampstead & Westminster 2-1 up at half time.
And after Sophie Thompson squared matters after the restart, Louise Radford restored Hampstead’s lead before Turner got the slightest of touches in the D to grab her second goal of the game.
It was not enough to join Beeston in the Premier Division next season, though, as Slough grabbed a point from a 1-1 draw with them to clinch second place in the group.