By Lucas Ball
Holcombe earned their fifth Premier Division win in six matches and third on the bounce as they beat East Grinstead 7-1 in a dominant display on Saturday afternoon.
Rob Field set the visitors on their way with a goal at the end of the first quarter before three goals in six second quarter minutes from Tim Guise-Brown, Tom Russell and Alex Pendle took the game away from East Grinstead. Pendle added his second Holcombe goal in the third period before Phil Roper and Russell piled further misery on to the hosts in the final quarter. Dan Faulkner scored a late consolation.
The tone was set early on in terms of Holcombe’s dominance as Barry Middleton’s side spurned a number of chances before taking the lead.
First, Russell found space in the circle and looked for Sam Taylor to deflect home, the ball passing narrowly wide of the ffar post with just six minutes on the clock.
A minute later, Hayden Phillips struck a powerful effort wide before Pendle fired a reverse-stick shot into the sideboard.
Pendle came close to deflecting an awkward Taylor hit home after a penalty corner was mis-trapped before Holcombe finally got their goal at the end of the first quarter.
Field broke into the circle after an incisive move, linking up with Phillips, and finished on the reverse to break the deadlock.
Early in the next period, Guise-Brown made it 2-0 with a superb drag-flick past the goalkeeper.
The hosts slapped a penalty corner of their own wide minutes later before Russell added a third. The move starting from a sixteen with Taylor and involving a number of players. Middleton picked up the ball just inside the opposition half, releasing Field who found Jake Owen in the centre of the circle unmarked, Owen able to tee up Russell for a simple finish into an open goal.
Roper was released down the left-hand side just a couple of minutes later, showcasing his dribbling skill as he turned defenders inside-out, playing a great pass through to Pendle who finished smartly through the ‘keeper’s legs to open his Holcombe account.
It could have been even more before half-time, too, as Middleton pushed an effort just wide of the far post from Roper’s through ball before the provider turned shooter, hitting a shot off-target after breaking into the circle.
East Grinstead started the third quarter well with two penalty corners in the opening seven minutes, the first turned away on the line by Roper before Ollie Payne made a good save to deny the hosts.
Holcombe, though, still looked threatening when they were in possession.
Pendle had a goal disallowed for a backstick after finishing well before he was able to poke a lose ball home to make it 5-0 after it came loose in the circle, Roper forcing an initial save from the goalkeeper.
Roper nearly got on the end of a cross at the far post early in the final period before eventually scoring just past the hour mark. Russell found the Great Britain man in the circle and there was no mistake from close range as he made it six.
Pendle teed up Russell for a seventh a few minutes later, lifting the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper before the hosts won a late penalty corner, with Faulkner beating Payne to score.
Holcombe face Wimbledon at home on Sunday (3pm) while East Grinstead travel to Hampstead & Westminster (2pm). Entry is free at Holcombe Park.