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It’s a seven-goal cracker but Hampstead & Westminster are defeated in final game before Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:35 30 November 2016

Richard Smith (celebrating, right) started Hampstead's second-half fightback. Picture: Mark Clews

Richard Smith (celebrating, right) started Hampstead's second-half fightback. Picture: Mark Clews

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Hampstead & Westminster’s men were involved in a seven-goal cracker on Sunday – but the entertainment factor was scant consolation as they lost their final game before Christmas.

Hampstead & Westminster player-coach Kwan Browne flicks the ball home to make it 4-3. Picture: Mark ClewsHampstead & Westminster player-coach Kwan Browne flicks the ball home to make it 4-3. Picture: Mark Clews

Although they initially took the lead against Surbiton, H&W found themselves 4-1 down in the second half.

They hit back twice through Richard Smith and Kwan Browne and ended up with 11 outfield players on the pitch as they pressed for an equaliser, but it did not arrive.

Hampstead have consequently dropped to fifth place in the top flight of the national men’s pyramid - eight points off the top - as they head into the winter break, with their next league fixture coming in February.

H&W were only one place and one point behind Surbiton at the start of the day and they took an early lead at Paddington Recreation Ground as Chris Cargo reacted quickest to a rebound in the D and volleyed home from two yards.

However, the visitors hit back twice before half-time, as a fine individual goal from David Beckett was followed by a close-range strike from Rob Mugridge.

Hampstead emerged after the interval in an optimistic mood but that was soon dashed as Surbiton scored two goals in two minutes immediately after the restart - Alan Forsyth rifled into the bottom right corner and David Goodfield shot on the turn and wrong-footed David Kettle.

Hampstead could have given up but instead the setbacks inspired them, and they dominated the remainder of game.

Smith won the ball in midfield and launched an attack, and Rupert Shipperly then laid it back to Smith, whose shot from the top of the D nestled into the top left corner.

Player-coach Browne then narrowed the gap to one goal with 13 minutes left, flicking the ball high into the net following a penalty corner rebound – and with seven minutes to go, Hampstead withdrew goalkeeper Kettle to boost their chances of a leveller. But Surbiton held firm to ensure the three points did not slip through their fingers.

Hampstead and Westminster Ladies also ended the first half of their season with a defeat, going down St Albans and dropping to fourth place in Women’s Conference East.

Like their male counterparts, H&W took the lead, with fine teamwork from Amy Askew and Cressida Grant providing Kate McCaw with the goalscoring opportunity – and they went on to have most of the chances in the remainder of the first half.

However, they were unable to get the second goal and St Albans took the chances that came their way, converting two penalty corners and ultimately winning the game.


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