Euro Hockey League Round 1.2: East Grinstead 5-0 SC Stroitel Brest.

Two goals from striker Andy Piper helped East Grinstead get off to the perfect start in front of their home fans here at Saint Hill.

Grinstead settled the quicker of the two sides but were finding it hard to break down their opponents’ stubborn resistance. Rick Gay was well kept out from a penalty corner by Raman Vitko, whose agility was to become a feature of this game.

Mark Pearn went close as he was half kept out by the goalkeeper with Aliaksandr Radzivinovich completing the clearance. Glenn Kirkham and Adam Jordan both had chances as EG laid siege the Brest goal.

On 23 minutes the home side got their lead. Joe Naughalty linked well with Mark Pearn and Andy Piper turned well and slid the ball under the goalkeeper.

With the deadlock broken EG had to wait just four minutes for their next goal. This time Pearn was the scorer, collecting a loose ball and driving into the D where he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the net.

Stroitel enjoyed a breif spell of pressure but Radzivinovich’s drag flick was well saved by Richard Potton low to his right.

With the home side re-asserting their dominance, the score was made 3-0 on 32 minutes. A splendid run into the D by Naughalty was halted as he seemed to lose his footing, as he fell he still managed to move the ball round the goalkeeper and Kirkham, scorer of a domestic hat-trick last week finished off the move.

Just two minutes later, Piper notched his second. This time Niall Stott did the approach work and the East Grinstead No8 stabbed home from close range.

Stott had a penalty corner well-saved by the excellent Vitko early in the third quarter before Adam Jordan, a summer signing from Oxford University scored his first Euro Hockey League goal with a lifted finish from close range.

With the crowd hoping for more goals, Mark Pearn couldn’t sneak the ball past Vitko at the near post. Knowing they have tough games against Waterloo Ducks to come, both sides seemed happy to take the score at 5-0 as the final quarter passed with little incident.

Brest will face Waterloo Ducks tomorrow whilst East Grinstead will face the Belgians on Sunday.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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