South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team was edged out at home to table-topping opposition on Saturday.
Saxons lost 3-2 against South Hockey League Kent/Sussex - Regional 2 leaders Kings & Alleyns, despite recovering from 2-0 down to level at 2-2.
Boosted by the return of captain Paddy Cornish from suspension, Saxons looked composed from the first whistle against a Kings side which they beat in November’s reverse fixture.
The first half saw excellent passing and lateral ball movement through the backline and midfield from the likes of Alex Short, George Eldridge, Chris Meredith and Nick Taylor.
Saxons were unable to capitalise on their chances and trailed 1-0 at the break after Kings converted a short corner with an unorthodox reverse stick short into the left corner after a seemingly misdirected ejection pass from the backline.
After half time Saxons were determined to get themselves on the scoreboard and threw everything they had at the Kings defence.
Saxons were dispossessed attempting to run the ball out of their defensive half, however, and Kings capitalised by slipping the ball past goalkeeper Mike Sutton for 2-0.
Saxons pressed on and were eventually rewarded with a penalty flick after a stray Kings boot stopped a certain goal, but penalty flick specialist Alex Coombs was unable to beat the Kings goalkeeper.
Minutes later Jamie Busbridge claimed a deflection from a pass outside the circle, but was denied by the officials.
A frustrated Saxons regrouped and Cornish lifted his team with a much-needed goal. Taylor directed an excellent pass from the backline to the waiting captain, who slotted past the off-guard goalkeeper’s boot.
Following his captain’s example, Eldridge penetrated the tired Kings defence to the left of the circle and directed a powerful reverse stick shot into the left corner for 2-2.
Both teams pushed for a winner, but Saxons turned over the ball in their defensive half and Kings slotted home after passing around the outnumbered Sutton.
Both teams played extremely hard and mutual respect was given after such an intense game.
Saxons remain fourth in the table, but are now four points adrift of third-placed Ashford after back-to-back defeats at home.
The first of their three remaining games is away to second-placed Old Williamsonians this coming Saturday.
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