We’ve a last-gasp win for Chichester and a last-gasp draw for Middleton & Bognor in this week’s hockey round-up.
Chichester 4 Staines 3
South open premier division one
After two weeks of losing games to the weather, both teams were eager to hit the ground running.
Chichester, floating above the relegation zone, started with purpose. Staines set out their intention early by setting up with a half-court press, but Chichester remained patient and waited for the opportunity to attack.
In Chichester’s first attack, Martin Gough hit the cross bar.
Matt Cox won a penalty corner and Gerald Cox smashed a shot against the post.
Chichester had the lead when Jack Lerwill, Alex Baxter and Matt Cox linked up. Cox hit a defender on the line to earn Chichester’s first penalty flick and Cox stepped up to put Chichester 1-0 up.
Staines were level after sloppy play from Chichester.
A quick counter-attack from Chichester led to another penalty corner. Luke Matthews played in Gerald Cox, who slipped it to Baxter. He beat a player and teed up Matt Cox, who was bundled over. Matt Cox stepped up to slot home Chichester’s and his second goal for a 2-1 lead. But Chichester’s inability to maintain a lead led to Staines finishing a well-worked short corner to make it 2-2.
After half-time, Staines went on the attack. They took the lead early in the second half with some slick passing in the D.
It could have been worse for Chichester had keeper Jonathan Gotham not made important saves to keep Chichester in the contest.
The Chichester defence of Spears, Wallis, Matthews and Collins thwarted attack after attack and this inspired the hosts.
Chichester found more gears and with ten minutes to go they were back on level terms when Gerald Cox found Lerwill, who fired the ball from the 25 to Baxter in the D and his fantastic deflection flew in.
With five minutes left, Chichester broke down the right through Matt Cox and Baxter found Gough free in the D. The ball was passed to Lerwill on the back post and he tapped in to secure the 4-3 win with three minutes left.
With only four points between the sides who are fourth and fourth-from-bottom, Chichester are in with a great chance of restoring their season and finish in the top four.
Middleton & Bognor 2 Hailsham 2
A last-minute strike from Mike Smith earned Middleton & Bognor a draw at home to Hailsham, who ended with nine players.
Middleton showed dedication and character to stay in the game after going 2-0 down early on.
Hailsham became increasingly frustrated at the referee’s decisions and forgot there was a game of hockey to be played.
Their ill-discipline cost them consistently and that created openings for the home side.
This never-say-die attitude paid off as Middleton took advantage of another Hailsham misdemeanour in the last minute for Smith to score his second well-taken goal.