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M1's Give League Leaders a Fright

26 October 2019, 17:00, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 1s 2 - 2 Oxted Men's 1s

The M1’s entertained league leaders Oxted on Saturday afternoon in a clash of top versus bottom of the table.  The game started briskly with both sides probing for openings.  Ted Bennett narrowly missed a good chance with just three minutes played and Matt Wood’s pace forced a penalty corner three minutes later, Jack Biggs drag flick beating the goalkeeper but not the man on the post who made a superb goal line save.  Oxted too had their chances and deservedly took the lead on fourteen minutes when a speculative cross was only half cleared to the top of the circle by the Hawks defence where it was met with a crisp first time shot which gave Chris Price in the Hawks goal no chance.  Oxted’s clever playmakers were a constant threat to Hawks, but showing great resolve and determination Hawks reached the half time break just one goal behind.  Hawks upped their game in the second half and forced good goal shots from Alex Copestake and Ed Tristem but the Oxted goalkeeper was in fine form, making one outstanding save from a Matt Wood rising backhand shot.  Hawks deservedly drew level on fifty one minutes when a Biggs penalty corner effort was again well saved by the Oxted goalkeeper, but who could do nothing to prevent Ted Bennett’s follow up which was fired high into the net from a tight angle.  By now Hawks were probably enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession and with ten minutes remaining Oxted were reduced to ten men with a ten minute yellow card following a cynical foul.  Four minutes later Oxted were reduced to nine men following another clumsy challenge and Hawks genuinely smelt blood.  But to their frustration Hawks immediately conceded a soft penalty corner and calling on all their experience Oxted converted with just five minutes left on the clock, leaving the large home crowd thinking that this was to be another of ‘those days’.  However, Hawks are growing in resilience this season and immediately struck back, Kit Cutter expertly deflecting an excellent pass from Noah Francis high into the Oxted net with four minutes to go. Hawks continued to press home their numerical advantage and still had time to force another penalty corner.  But luck wasn’t quite with them when their worked routine saw Freddie Foster’s deflection come back off a post.  So a 2-2 draw, a result which Hawks would have settled for before the game, but as in previous weeks there was a feeling that perhaps they could have come away with more from the game.  Certainly no need to panic despite remaining stuck to the bottom of the table.  Caretaker Interim Head Coach Andrew Blakemore was delighted with the result, saying “There is no need for coach Todd Williams to rush back as far as I’m concerned, I have everything in hand”.


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