Winchester swept aside the disappointment of their pointless start to the South League Premier Division season with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over West Hampstead, who have dropped behind them in the table.
Former Wimborne Wayfarers hit-man Todd Clark (left) snatched Winchester’s winner five minutes from time. The victory was, however, tempered by the loss of Will Evans with a suspected broken thumb.
The first half was a fairly even affair, with Kieran Malloy and Ben Hibberd forcing saves, while Bashley (Rydal) cricketer Sammy Laurent, making his Winchester debut between the posts, was brought into play a number times.
Another slightly more well known cricketer, Hampshire’s Tom Alsop, who previously played National League for Team Bath Buccaneers, lifted the team with his powerful running and skill level.
The game really started after the break as West Hampstead went 1-0 up within three minutes, a well worked goal by Ashley Dawes down their right flank.
After the bruising defeats of the first three league defeats (when they conceded 16 goals), Winchester might have rolled over against their experienced visitors, but they showed no sign of that, the lively Hibberd hitting the inside of the post from Olly Lander's through ball. Banging hard on the West Hampstead door, Winchester's equaliser eventually came as Lander again set up Hibberd on his reverse stock and he drove home, a welcome reward for Winchester's most influential player on the day.
Three minutes later 15-year old Joe Jenkinson drove down the right wing and forced a penalty corner. Harry Trussler converted the corner with a rocket into the top right to take a 2-1 lead.
West Hampstead hit back and equalised through Philipp Kraemar after Laurent’s initial save at a penalty corner.
With five minutes remaining, Winchester failed to convert from a goalmouth melee only inches from the line. West Hampstead somehow scrambled the ball away, but the ball found its way to Trussler on the halfway line. His piercing pass was cleverly diverted into the far corner of the goal by Todd Clark to grab all three points.
Trojans' scheduled visit to Oxford University was postponed to due on-going CV19 issues at the university.
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