Wimbledon 4-1 Surbiton
Todd Williams was keen to praise the efforts of Surbiton’s teenagers against Wimbledon despite a third consecutive Men’s Hockey Premier League defeat.
Injuries meant teens Harry Gough and Zach Wallace again played for Surbiton but they were outclassed by Wimbledon who led at the break through Phil Ball and Ian Sloan.
Ball added another in the second half with Caspar Phijffer scoring the fourth before Surbiton scored a consolation through Gareth Furlong.
Defeat saw Williams’ men drop to third, seven points behind unbeaten leaders Holcombe and just four points ahead of South West London rivals Wimbledon.
Williams said: “It was an alright performance, not as good as we would have hoped and we could have performed better.
“We have a few 15 to 17 year olds who played due to injuries but some of them will be regulars for Surbiton in a few years’ time.
“Harry and Zach are good players and they will only get better and quicker.
“We have a big game next week against Holcombe and need everyone to play better. We will have players coming back from injury.”
Wimbledon opened the scoring through Ball in the 17th minute, with a reverse sweep under the keeper following a run and slip pass from Phijffer.
Two minutes later, Peter Wiegman and Henry Weir combined brilliantly to set up Sloan, whose reverse shot beat Surbiton keeper David Kettle.
Ball bagged his second of the match in the 53rd minute after a great ball from Johnny Kinder before Phijffer tapped in to kill the game off.
Surbiton scored a late consolation goal through a Furlong short corner, but Williams admitted the lack of goals from the dependable Matt Daly and Alan Forsyth was worrying him.
He added: “Daly and Forsyth haven’t been on the score sheet recently and we need to create better chances for them.”
With four games left Surbiton have a healthy eight-point lead over fifth-placed Brooklands MU so should still make the play-offs, but victory against Holcombe will go a long way to restoring some confidence.
Wimbledon play Beeston next weekend having recovered from their own blip of three straight losses with back-to-back wins.
Feature image of Matt Daly, courtesy of Tim Reder, with thanks