NOW: Pensions Men’s Championship Playoffs Semi Final: East Grinstead 6-2 Surbiton.

Two goals from Niall Stott helped East Grinstead to sweep aside Surbiton and take their place in Sunday’s final with a dominant performance, running out 6-2 winners. 

Stott opened the scoring and further goals from Mark Pearn, Tony Wilson, David Condon, and Mark Gleghorne ensured it was too little, too late when Surbiton registered late on through Michael Watt and Matt Daly.

East Grinstead took the lead from their first meaningful attack. They worked the ball down the left before it found its way to Stott in the D. He had time to steady himself before firing a fierce strike at goal that goalkeeper David Kettle got a good stick on but couldn’t keep out. The Sussex side imposed themselves well on Surbiton for the remainder of the first quarter and Pearn set up Ashley Jackson for a reverse stick shot from the left that was well saved by Kettle.

Grinstead struck again early in the second quarter, Tom Merchant was robbed on the left and again, the ball was crossed in for Pearn to apply the finish and make it 2-0.

Surbiton battled manfully to get themselves back into the contest but with Glenn Kirkham impeccable in defence they were finding it hard to create the chacnes. James Gall almost connected with a reverse stick pass from Watt but that was as close as they came.

After the half time interval, Matt Daly scuffed a penalty corner that was easily cleared by Ashley Jackson and then the side from Saint Hill increased their lead. Wes Jackson showed excellent skill on the right, delaying his cross while the defender committed before firing in the ball off his reverse, Tony Wilson nipped in front of Kettle to deflect the ball in for 3-0. Moments later it was 4-0 as a penalty stroke was awarded to EG for a back stick in the D. Mark Gleghorne calmly despatched the chance and it was well and truly game over.

East Grinstead scented blood and went for the kill, scoring a fifth with over a quarter to play. James Ashcroft lost possession on half way and with Wilson in the clear being pursued by defenders the EG No23 slipped the ball to Condon who slid in to apply the finish. Kettle produced a great save to keep out Deakin as the score was in danger of getting out of control. Despite Kettle’s heroics, it was soon 6-0 after Stott carried the ball from his own half into the Surbiton D, he shot towards the far post, but, via the aid of a huge deflection from the defender, saw the ball creep inside the near post for his second of the match.

Surbiton forced four penalty corners in the fourth quarter with East Grinstead seemingly in cruise control, but Daly was off with his radar and could not find the net.

With time running out, Todd Williams’ side grabbed a consolation goal. Michael Watt hit a nice shot off the back foot into the far corner. On the stroke of full time Daly did beat Potton with a penalty corner but it was merely a consolation goal.

Captain Glenn Kirkham told The Top of the D:
“We were really pleased with a 15-20 minute spell where we were very clinical in front of goal and the game was effectively over. We were focused on making the most of our chances and it’s great that we were able to do that. We want to look back in years to come with our name on the cup and not be like Arsenal and just qualify for Europe. Hopefully we can do that tomorrow, whoever we play.”

East Grinstead await the winner of Beeston vs Reading whilst Surbiton will play off for 3rd and 4th place tomorrow.

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