South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team was narrowly beaten by title-chasing opposition on Saturday.
Saxons were edged out 5-4 in a fiery encounter at home to a Sutton Valence side which lies second in South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 having lost just once all season.
On a cold afternoon at Horntye Park, Saxons started slowly and came under heavy pressure from the Sutton Valence attack.
Saxons, nonetheless, opened the scoring. A breakaway attack led to a penalty corner, from which Andrew Acott’s ball was deflected neatly past the goalkeeper by Jamie Busbridge.
The visitors responded when a penalty corner of their own was drag flicked into the bottom corner.
This didn’t deter Saxons, though, and they again took the lead when a neatly deflected pass by Busbridge found Olli Beal, who finished with style. Sutton Valence hit back with a second equaliser to make it 2-2 at half time.
The game continued at a frantic pace after half time and despite the good work of Jon Meredith to keep possession, the visitors scored two further goals to lead 4-2.
Towards the end Saxons broke through the visitors’ defence and Beal grabbed two more goals, one of which was a reverse stick hit from an almost impossible angle, to complete his hat-trick and take his tally to seven in two matches.
But Sutton grabbed a contentious winner when a slap hit from outside the D, during a short corner, was allowed to stand by the umpire.
Man of the match was Gavin Cload for his good defensive work, including a goal-line clearance after the goalkeeper was already beaten.
Saxons remain just inside the top half of the table with four fixtures to go, the first of which is away to bottom club New Beccehamians this coming Saturday.
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