By Lucas Ball
Holcombe were narrowly beaten 3-2 in their first Premier Division Phase Two match by champions and league leaders Old Georgians.
Matt Brown gave the hosts the lead in the third quarter before Tom O’Keeffe and Alex Pendle gave Holcs the lead. Old Georgians turned things around in the final period courtesy of goals from Alan Forsyth and Lee Morton.
The first chance of the game fell Holcombe’s way when Tom Russell forced former Holcombe goalkeeper George Pinner into action early on before Chris Griffiths struck a powerful effort into the sideboard at the other end.
Ollie Payne then made a good save to deny the hosts from close range before Russell again came close, this time deflecting just wide from a Sam Taylor pass.
The two sides continued to trade blows in the second quarter, Barry Middleton deflecting an Old Georgians’ penalty corner off the line before Pinner saved from Guise-Brown from a Holcombe corner.
Phil Roper then made a brilliant tackle to deny the hosts a great opportunity in front of goal to ensure the two sides went into half-time level.
Russell forced another save from Pinner to start the second half after Hayden Phillips teed up the forward, before Brown gave Ashley Jackson’s side the lead.
Payne then made a brilliant double save to deny the hosts a second before Tom O’Keeffe scored a superb equaliser for his first goal of the season.
The ball fell the way of O’Keeffe in the circle and he brilliantly dispatched an upright reverse effort into the bottom corner on the turn.
Pendle put Middleton’s side in front seven minutes later, at the end of the third quarter, from close range. Taylor found Russell who went on a mazy run from the right-hand-side, teeing up Pendle on the back post for his eighth Premier Division goal of the season.
Jackson’s men levelled early on in the final period through Morton, before they had a goal disallowed minutes later.
The ball flicked the bicep of Henry Weir on the way in – the umpires took some time to discuss before disallowing the goal, with Payne and Weir then yellow-carded for their roles in the aftermath.
Eddie Rowney replaced Payne for those five minutes to make his Premier Division debut late on against the champions.
Forsyth completed a late turnaround for the hosts to leave Holcombe six points behind the top-two with four Phase Two matches to play – with Old Georgians heading to second-placed Surbiton this weekend, while Holcombe have no game this weekend due to Wimbledon’s involvement in European indoor hockey.
The result leaves Holcombe still waiting on their first win against the champions since 2020.
Congratulations to Eddie on making his Premier Division debut!