Surbiton still searching for the right play-off recipe

Canterbury Men 2-6 Surbiton Men

Surbiton men’s coach Todd Williams is fine tuning his side to hit perfect form in time for the NOW: Pensions Premier Division play-offs next year.

His men came from two goals down to beat Canterbury 6-2 away from home on Saturday and Williams admits that addressing any weaknesses is crucial, even if it means dropping points.

Two goals apiece from Alan Forsyth and Matt Daly – the league’s top scorer with 16 – put Surbiton back in command at Polo Farm before late strikes from Geoff McCabe and Chris Grassick rounded off the scoring.

“We want to be at our best by the time we get to the playoffs,” said Williams.

“You’ve got to take a deep breath and be prepared to work on problems, you can’t shy away from them – better that way than burying your head in the sand.

“We’ve been looking at various aspects of our formation and how we pass the ball which has distracted us a bit but down the line it will have a long term benefit.”

The weekend victory at Canterbury perfectly illustrated Williams’ point. The Aussie likened the process to a golfer adjusting his swing, dropped shots are just collateral for future success.

“I couldn’t put my finger on what was distracting us against Canterbury, except to say we were distracted, but then we bounced back when we needed to,” he said.

“Our focus was all over the shop we did some really silly things to get yellow cards at various points in the game.

“Because we were concentrating on other things – how we move, how we attack and how we create – we just didn’t have the attention to detail when some situations arose.

“For most of the game we were a player down but actually that seemed to work in our favour bizarrely because it seemed to focus our minds.

“We know that, despite the unusual way we tested it, the things we’ve been working on are effective.

“Too often in league situations it’s all about the next big game but for us it’s just another test of what we are trying to do – if it works great and if it doesn’t we get better.”

Surbiton women beat the same opposition 1-0 to remain three points clear at the summit of the Investec Premier Division table.

Despite being without five of their international stars who flew out to Argentina for the Champions Trophy, Natalie Maclean’s 41st minute penalty corner was enough to give the ladies all three points.

Surbiton recorded their sixth clean sheet of the campaign and have conceded just four goals in their 10 league games whilst netting 30 at the other end.

Picture courtesy of Tim Reder, with thanks.

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