Two goals apiece for Izzy Petter and Erica Sanders put Surbiton into the Investec Women’s Playoff Finals as the reigning champions saw off East Grinstead 4-1.
Surbiton struck twice in the second and fourth quarters and despite Sophie Bray’s goal just after half time, the Sugden Road side were able to set up a repeat of last year’s final, against Holcombe.
“We’re absolutely delighted. We were a bit nervous today. We had a really close game against East Grinstead the first half of the season that we drew. We knew they had some quality players like Bray, Unsy [Laura Unsworth] so we’re delighted to come away with a 4-1 win.” said Surbiton midfielder Georgie Twigg after the game.
After a goalless first quarter it was Surbiton who took the lead thanks to a sublime strike from Petter. She drove into the circle before unleashing a fierce backhand strike into the roof of the net.
Three minutes later the lead was doubled. The angle looked to be against Sanders as she lined up a reverse stick strike but it somehow squeezed into the corner via Yahya Farahayuni’s glove.
East Grinstead rallied. A fine save from Sabbie Heesh in the Surbiton goal kept out a splendid strike from Sophie Bray and then Giselle Ansley came to the rescue, using her considerable cricketing prowess to clear a penalty corner off the goal line.
Immediately after half time Bray halved the deficit. Another backhand strike, the third of the match, found a way through Heesh and into the net.
East Grinstead now had a foothold in the game and dominated the third quarter. Ellie Rayer was played in by Laura Unsworth but slapped her shot past the far post as the Sussex side threatened an equaliser.
“We had a shaky quarter and it was about getting back to basics and trying to play more passes. I think we were dribbling too much and losing the ball and actually we just needed to gain control which we managed to do for the final quarter.” said Twigg.
With seven minutes to go Petter turned provider down the left, riding a strong tackle and crossing for Sanders to apply the finish putting Surbiton 3-1 ahead. The 18-year-old then put the gloss on the performance with her second, Surbiton’s fourth, just two minutes later, causing Olympic Gold medallist Twigg to heap praise on the young Surbiton star.
“I’m so pleased for Izzy Petter because she had an absolute stormer of a game. She’s a really exciting young talent and she really deserved to play well today and get those goals.”
With a repeat of last year’s final set up, Twigg looked ahead to Surbiton vs Holcombe, saying:
“I’m sure Holcombe are going into the game fancying their chances. I think we’re really excited; it’s going to be a real battle and a really good game. We’ve got to come out and prove a point after finishing second in the league but we’ll certainly give it a good go.”
The women’s final, live on Galvanised’s YouTube and Facebook pages get underway at 16:00.