Winchester finally showed their true potential with a worthy but hard fought 4-2 victory against South League Premier Division rivals West Hampstead at Kings’.
Their first meaningful attack bore fruit when Todd Hutcheson's cross was turned in by Sam Butterfield, the former Bournemouth and Wimborne Wayfarers hit man, writes Jon Player.
Shortly afterwards, Winchester went further ahead on ten minutes when centre back James Pauley sent a long pass to Mark Maunsell, who then played a wall pass with Hutcheson deep in the West Hampstead defence and was able to find enough space under pressure to find the back of the net with a reverse strike.
Two-up, everything seemed to be going to plan for Winchester, Pauley in particular was outstanding as a final defender and snuffed out a number of West Hampstead opportunities, but a lapse in concentration in defence saw Chris Todd convert a penalty stroke to make it 2-1.
The visitors were clearly lifted by this breakthrough and began the second half in ominous form. Two penalty corners in quick succession forced player/coach George Harris [top right] into his first meaningful action with two saves. Then came a third, memorable save, again from a penalty corner, tipped away by the end of his stick.
Harris was now one of busiest men on the park, but Winchester started to look more competitive again as the time ticked by and took the lead to 3-1 when Rob Goodchild as he stroked home from a penalty corner won by the industry of the developing Luke Whittome.
West Hampstead responded quickly, picking up a loose ball in midfield and eventually Todd finding a way past Harris to make it 3-2 with nine minutes remaining. It was his tenth goal of the season.
Any concern that Winchester would squander a precious three points was dispelled when Pauley once again found a long range pass to Maunsell, who found Ben Hibberd eagerly waiting a pass in the "D".
Winchester's top scorer committed the West Hampstead keeper before striking home reverse stick to take away most of the anxiety at 4-2.
Below: Kieran Malloy, Harry Trussler and Rob Goodchild ready to pounce from a penalty corner.
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