Winchester seconds made hard work of despaching Hampshire/Surrey Regional 2 bottom club EUHC Gamblers 3-2, although the Crystal Palace-based visitors showed ability that should see them out of season-end trouble.
There was little subtlety in the game from start to finish as both teams launched long range assault after assault on each others goals.
However, Winchester's first goal was a delight as Rob Craddock rolled a clever pass to James Lander on the by-line, cutting back for the evergreen Stuart Swift to sweep home.
Goalkeeper Justin Smith only had one save to make in the first half, but that did not include a Gamblers strike smashing against an upright.
Eric Woodward had an opportunity to extend Winchester's lead, but was adjudged to have used the back of his stick in putting the ball over the unguarded line from six inches out.
Gamblers equalised in the opening minutes of the second half, but after a series of penalty corners, Winchester finally went the direct route, Greg Cox planting his drag-flick high into the net to make it 2-1.
Five minutes later Winchester seemed to have safe secured the points when Cox's solo run saw the ball roll to Swift, striking home on the half volley.
The remaining ten minutes were almost calamitous for the home team as they failed to retain possession in chasing down an unnecessary fourth goal and being hit constantly on the counter.
Gamblers’ second goal came from a penalty corner with seven minutes remaining and a third looked on the cards with another corner deep into injury time, but Winchester survived.
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