Forsyth hails Surbiton’s ability to win ‘ugly’.

Alan Forsyth praised Surbiton’s ability to get the job done after the reigning champions held off East Grinstead to reach the final of the Men’s League Playoffs.

Goals from James Royce and Luke Taylor were enough for the win despite Liam Ansell pulling one back for the Sussex outfit but Forsyth wasn’t happy with Surbiton’s performance.



“We’re delighted with the win, especially after the way we played second half. It wasn’t the best game for us. We switched off a little bit. It’s the sign of a good team when you win when not playing as well as you want to.”

“It’s something we’ve developed over the years. Last year against Beeston we weren’t great but we did enough and got the win. It’s a good sign when we don’t play well and still do it.”

Surbiton showed their attacking intent in the opening moments of the match with East Grinstead goalkeeper Paddy Smith called upon to make a double save in the first five minutes before Forsyth flashed a fierce shot wide of the far post.

Smith saved well from a Taylor penalty corner in the second quarter but with 25 minutes on the clock the deadlock was broken. A well-worked routine set up Royce and he shifted his feet well to slot home the opener.

East Grinstead worked their way back into the contest with Ansell proving to be their most threatening attacking option but then on the stroke of half-time the side from Saint Hill found themselves 2-0 down. Taylor found the bottom corner with a precise drag flick against his former club.

In the second half, Surbiton allowed East Grinstead back into the match, something Forsyth mentioned in his post-match interview.

“We were 2-0 up and comfortable and even though we perhaps hadn’t had the chances we wanted we were in control. We scored some good corners but then we just switched off. It’s nothing to do with the coaching or the team we just need to be ready tomorrow and make sure we aren’t that sloppy again for a full half.”

East Grinstead halved the deficit in the third quarter with Ansell, left all alone in the circle lifting a deft finish over Harry Gibson to set up a nervy final quarter. Despite East Grinstead throwing everything forwards, including reverting to a kicking back for the final few minutes, Surbiton were able to cling on to their narrow lead and reach the final once again.

On a rare game without a goal, Forsyth, the league’s top scorer said:

“It’s all about getting the wins. I’ve done my job when it’s mattered in terms of putting it in the net. Those guys did their jobs on corners today. I always look to score but you often find in playoffs more than one player jumps onto me which is ideal because it opens space for the other boys coming through to do their thing. We can take on anyone and get the win if we play properly we can beat anyone. We’ll see who wins the next game and we’ll be ready.”

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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