Newly promoted Winchester battled their way to their first South Premier League Division 1 win points courtesy of second half penalty conversions by Kent Langridge and newcomer Micah Smithard which wiped out London Wayfarers’ lead.
But the manner of the 2-1 victory was in stark contrast to the 12-goal six-all fiesta at Milton Keynes which brought the curtain up on their season last week.
Winchester really had to battle this one out – a scrappy game played at often breakneck speed and bereft off too many goal-scoring opportunities.
It burst into life with Winchester’s Caelen Dillon making two confidence-boosting saves before the hosts created two defended penalty corners.
Gradually play became scrappy, the only noteworthy incidents late in a goal-less opening 35 minutes with Dillon saving with his feet from Wayfarers’ Cion Owen.
That save came either side of two Isaac Hocking opportunities which went begging for Winchester.
The first of which saw the tall imposing figure of Wayfarers’ James Dexter close the teenager down on the edge of the D when a more experienced player might have taken the ball round the keeper and scored.
The miss rather reflected the cut and thrust manner in which the game was played.
Winchester were caught cold at the start of the second period with Simon Rea drilling a low deflected shot across Dillon’s bows.
But two well oiled Winchester penalty corners – in soccer speak, straight from the training ground – were to decide the match.
The first, created by a Will Phillips injection, saw a neat three-man move created inside of the D for Langridge to score the equaliser.
As the game became stretched, so Winchester lost Mark Maunsell to a yellow card.
But save successfully defending two short corners, Winchester retained their momentum.
With five minutes left, they converted a second and decisive penalty corner.
This time it was simplistic – Phillips picking out Smithard on the edge of the D and the former University of Bristol player celebrated an eye catching home debut in midfield, drilling the winner through Dexter’s legs.
Winchester had a third goal disallowed late on.
* Ben Frost scored both goals as Trojans drew 2-2 at Blackheath in South Premier Division 2.
South Premier League Division 1
Winchester 2 (Kent Langridge, Micah Smithard) London Wayfarers 1
Blackheath 2 Trojans 2 (Ben Frost 2)
Regional Division 1
Fareham II 3 Woking 5, Haslemere 2 Wimborne 2 (Piers Everleigh, Alex Talbot)
Andover 2 Winchester II 0,London Edwardians 3 Southampton 1, Romsey 4 Cranleighians 2)
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