South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team continued its excellent home record with a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove III on Saturday.
Saxons overturned a half time deficit to record their eighth victory out of 10 at Horntye Park this season and move up to fourth in Sussex Open Hockey League Division One.
The Hastings club approached its penultimate game of the league campaign determined to improve on the below par performance in defeat away to Crawley II the previous weekend.
The contest began at a frantic pace with Brighton playing a high line and forcing Saxons to adjust their own set-up.
Saxons begun to take the initiative with Harry Reece and Jamie Busbridge both denied by the Brighton goalkeeper, but they were caught off guard when Brighton capitalised on a loose ball in the D and took the lead against the run of play.
Brighton continued to press forward, but struggled to break through the Saxons back line. Converted centre-back Paddy Cornish made some strong challenges and some say Brighton’s left winger still remains in man of the match Chris Meredith’s back pocket.
Saxons finished the half the stronger of the two sides with Jon Meredith and Alex Coombs taking control of the middle of the park and beginning to exploit spaces between Brighton’s defences.
Saxons started the second half brightly and a mazy run from Reece had Brighton on the back foot. The equaliser followed shortly afterwards when Coombs found Busbridge in the D from a long range pass and he was able to squeeze the ball into the goal from close range despite a number of incoming challenges from Brighton defenders.
Saxons pressed for the winner with full-backs Chris Meredith and James Riley getting forward at any opportunity. The pressure told when Saxons were awarded a penalty flick after being denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. Coombs dragged the resulting flick wide, but was clearly fired up by the miss and continued to trouble the Brighton back line.
The winner arrived, to the delight of the home crowd, when Reece broke and slipped the ball to Busbridge, who made no mistake when presented with an open goal.
Saxons closed out the game with no trouble and will hope to build on this result for the final league game of the season when they host East Grinstead III this coming Saturday. Saxons will be without Busbridge and Gavin Cload, and will be led by Jon Meredith in Busbridge’s absence.
Saxons: Sutton, C. Meredith, Cornish, Reed, Riley, Cload, J. Meredith, Coombs, Stainsby, Reece, Busbridge, Orr.