Stuart Swift hit a second consecutive Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 hat-trick as a bare-11 Winchester team, ravaged by poor availability, injury and illness nearly pulled off an unlikely result at Surbiton, who's 1st XI currently top the English National Premier League. They lost 5-4.
Surbition completely dominated possession and were rewarded with an opening goal in the first three minutes. Chances fell to Winchester exclusively on the counter attack and they found their equaliser on the quarter hour as Kings’ school debutant James Baxter did some neat work on the left and passed across to Nick Behar to divert home.
Surbiton re-took the lead ten minutes later from a short corner whilst Rob Craddock was being attended-to for a head wound contracted after a heavy fall.
A third goal from the Surrey team followed soon after when they broke from an abortive Winchester penalty corner and overwhelmed the remaining defenders. Surbiton looked to be pulling away, and rightly so given their dominance, but fortune favoured Winchester just before the break when Swift's pass across goal was diverted-in by a defender to make it 3-2.
The fall experienced by the now-patched-up Craddock had a sting in the tail as he pulled up early in the second half as a rib fracture revealed itself. Playing on with ten men, Winchester feared the worst as Surbiton scored twice in quick succession from an unstoppable, roofed shot and then a lightning quick drag flick to take it to 5-2. Hopes were raised again as Baxter won a penalty stroke, converted by Swift, and then, in the dying moments, Andy Winnett weaved his way along the line and found Swift who shoved the ball under the keeper’s arm.
GallantWinchester had just about enough time to level matters, but Surbition kept the ball safely at the Winchester end.
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