Unbeaten run ended by narrow home defeat

South Saxons on the defensive against Old Williamsonians on Saturday. Pictures by Simon Newstead
South Saxons on the defensive against Old Williamsonians on Saturday. Pictures by Simon Newstead

South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team saw its five-match unbeaten run ended by a 4-3 defeat at home to Old Williamsonians.

The narrow loss at Horntye Park on Saturday meant Saxons dropped beneath their opponents to fifth in South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2.

Jamie Busbridge on the ball for South Saxons.

Jamie Busbridge on the ball for South Saxons.

Saxons knew they would be in for a battle and that proved to be the case. The game started brightly and both teams had early chances, but Saxons struck first with George Eldridge dispatching a short corner low to the goalkeeper’s right.

The early goal clearly inspired Old Williamsonians, though. They pushed hard for a leveller and duly got it from a short corner of their own.

Williamsonians continued to pile on the pressure and soon found themselves ahead. During a melee in the D, the ball fell kindly for the visiting striker to sweep home.

Saxons responded positively, with Alex Coombs, Jamie Busbridge, Andrew Acott and Lloyd Williams working tireless to pressure the Williamsonians defenders.

Nick Taylor resists the attentions of a pair of Williamsonians opponents.

Nick Taylor resists the attentions of a pair of Williamsonians opponents.

Saxons started to dominate and got their just rewards. The ball fell to Nick Taylor outside the D and he avoided two defenders before rifling home a reverse stick shot across the goalkeeper to make it 2-2.

Saxons continued to have the upper hand, but despite numerous short corners that they failed to make the most of, opportunities from open play were limited by some resolute Williamsonians defending.

Saxons were made to rue not making the most of their possession as a counter-attacking move resulted in Williamsonians taking a 3-2 half time lead.

Saxons came out of the blocks hard at the start of the second half and began to flood players forward in search of an equaliser.

Toby Reed and Alex Coombs close down the Williamsonians captain.

Toby Reed and Alex Coombs close down the Williamsonians captain.

Some great distribution from Eldridge, Sam Bunday and Paddy Cornish in the middle enabled Saxons to get into dangerous positions, but the away team continued to hold firm.

Saxons were vulnerable to the counter-attack and Williamsonians continued to fashion chances, but some solid defending and goalkeeping kept the hosts’ deficit to just the one goal.

Saxons got the reward they were hoping for with an equaliser. A slick short corner routine led to Acott’s initial shot being saved, but the ball rebounded back to him and he flicked past the helpless goalkeeper to make it 3-3 with 10 minutes to play.

The momentum was with the home side and Saxons pushed on in search of a winner, committing men forward at every opportunity.

But when you live by the sword, you die by it and that proved to be the case for Saxons. Williamsonians took their chance to snatch a late winner on the counter-attack in emphatic style.

Saxons looked to respond in the little time left, but some ill-discipline and unfortunate decisions didn’t help their cause as a closely-fought game ended in defeat.

Saxons never quite found that killer instinct which had served them so well in previous weeks and that proved their undoing. Man of the match was given to Taylor for his maiden goal for the team and strong defensive display.

Saxons will seek an instant return to winning ways when they travel to second-bottom Folkestone II in their final league game before the festive break this coming Saturday.