Winchester will be crowned South League Premier Division 2 champions if they win their final match of the season at relegation play-off strugglers Ashford on Saturday.
A win double against Trojans and Tulse Hill & Dulwich has given Winchester a two-point lead over faltering Oxford University going into this weekend’s final round of matches.
Winchester’s title hopes soared when they came from behind to beat Trojans 4-2 and then Tulse Hill 3-1 24 hours later.
Then Oxford, having thrashed Tulse Hill 6-1 the previous day, crashed 1-0 at Holcombe to leave Winchester in pole position.
The Dark Blues, fresh from their Varsity victory over Cambridge, will expect to win their final match at all-but-relegated Lewes.
But if Winchester, with a superior plus-four goal difference, win at Ashford, the crown is theirs.
Winchester’s 4-2 victory over Trojans has increased the Stoneham club’s relegation fears which will only evaporate if they win either of their remaining home games against Blackheath or Staines.
Trojans grabbed the lead at Kings’, though, after a short but sustained period of pressure, Tim Broadhurst capitalising on defensive indecision to find the corner of the net.
It took a good 15 minutes for Winchester to find their feet, but improvement was marginal as they conceded possession slightly less against their high tempo opposition.
They did equalise from a penalty corner despatched neatly from a left slip to Kent Langridge for his 13th goal of the season.
Moments later it was nearly 2-1 when Martin Harris’s dive just failed to tap in from Langridge’s cross.
The momentum seemed to be swinging Winchester’s way, but Trojans continued to be dangerous and restored their lead went ahead yet again with KES student Jacob Fay volleying home after goalkeeper Caelen Dillon had made an initial save.
Nervousness abounded amongst the expectant Kings’ crowd, but Winchester didn’t panic and with the last play of the first half Harris was able to divert Ben Hibberd’s penalty corner pass into the net to make it 2-2.
Tension was slightly relieved half way through the second period when Winchester took the lead for the first time.
Hibberd’s pass to Rob Moore was initially saved by Phil Roche but Will Phillips was alert behind the keeper to knock in from six inches.
Trojans were very much still in the game and a fierce penalty corner drag-flick was diverted just over Dillon’s bar.
The final respite for Winchester came with the best goal of the game. Mark Maunsell won the ball on the half way line and threaded it through to Langridge who, in turn, drove into Trojans stretched defence before unselfishly releasing a pass to Harris to his left to make it 4-2.
The final ten minutes saw Trojans still pressing but the visitors were unable to drag the game back.
Winchester were brimming with confidence for Sunday’s visit to rock bottom Holcombe – their 3-1 win the platform to leapfrog Oxford University into top spot.
They failed to convert two early penalty corners, but midway through the first half Harry Talks scrambled Winchester in front.
Tulse Hill, ousted from the promotion race by a succession of recent defeats, equalised through Martyn White but despite strong pressure were unable to score again.
Once Winchester regained the lead six minutes into the second half through Ben Hibberd (from a fine spin drag-flick) there was only one likely outcome.
Hibberd tied it up ten minutes from the end with another drag flick.
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