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M1's off to a Winning Start

27 September 2020, 14:00, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 1s 3 - 2 Brighton & Hove Men's 1s

The M1's opened their 2020-2021 EHL DIvision One campaign at BRN on Sunday with an encouraging 3-2 win over Brighton.  Despite some indifferent pre-season form, Hawks started brightly and generally held the upper hand over the visitors throughout the first half.  Andy Watts opened the scoring on twenty four minutes with a well-executed back hand strike from ten yards out after the ball had been moved down the right and transferred into the circle.  But despite enjoying the lion's share of territory and possession, the hosts did not extend their lead until two minutes before the half time break when Watts won a penalty stroke after the visiting GK clattered into him from behind.  Jack Biggs stepped up to convert and give Hawks a deserved 2-0 half time lead.  Hawks started the second half slowly and failed to regain the momentum they showed before the interval.  Consequently they allowed the visitors right back into the game when they conceded two goals in as many minutes, both from penalty corners.  Watts restored the lead two minutes later with another well-taken goal following a flowing move down the left flank.  When the ball reached Watts in the circle, he calmly manoeuvred the GK to give himself the space to finish. Plenty of time remained for either side to still win the game, and although Hawks never regained their form of the first half, they could and should have put the game beyond Brighton when first a Ted Bennett thunderous back hand shot game back into play off the underside of the crossbar and then a deft deflection from Freddie Smith slipped inches the wrong side of the post.  But the concession of further penalty corners left the home side sweating on the result and Brighton came within an inch of snatching a point when they hit the post with two minutes left on the clock.  A good win to start the league season - an away trip to Teddington awaits next weekend.

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