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Seven-goal thriller puts Hampstead & Westminster back into play-off hotseat

PUBLISHED: 13:05 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:05 22 February 2017

Kwan Browne in action for Hampstead & Westminster. Picture: MARK CLEWS

Kwan Browne in action for Hampstead & Westminster. Picture: MARK CLEWS

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Hampstead & Westminster picked up a crucial victory in the race for the end of season play-offs after coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller with nearest rivals Beeston.

The victory sees the Paddington recreation Ground-based hockey club jump above their Nottingham opponents and back into the final Men’s Hockey League Premier Division play-off spot.

After two weeks on the road this was their first home game of 2017 and it was one to savour for those in attendance.

Both teams had good opportunities early on to take the lead but it was the visitors who started to get the upper hand first and they took the lead with a tap-in for Jonny Wilkinson on the far post after some good work at the top of the D.

Almost instantly Hampstead managed to go down the other end and win their first short corner of the game. Richard Smith stepped up and fired low into the bottom corner to take the score to 1-1 at half-time.

A soft short corner early in the second period allowed Richard Lawrence to put Beeston back in front but again Hampstead found an instant reply, player-coach Kwan Browne with a wonderful solo goal which started on halfway and ended with a flick into the top corner.

This seemed to galvanise the Hampstead players and Will Calnan created and finished a chance to put Hampstead in front for the first time.

Two minutes later the lead was extended thanks to Marc Edwards at the near post, a goal which the Beeston players were convinced should of been disallowed.

But the hosts failed to kill off the game and Beeston made it a nervy last 10 minutes with a third goal. They couldn’t, however, find an equaliser.

With five games left every game takes on an increased importance, staring with a trip to Canterbury on Saturday.

The ladies welcomed Southgate to the Rec on Saturday and put a disappointing result against Harleston Magpies behind them with a 4-1 win in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference East.

Hampstead started with a purpose and after continuous pressing, Annebeth Wijtenburg scored the first goal after 18 minutes with a trademark strike from a penalty corner.

Despite continuous pressure and many attempts on goal, it took until the opening moments of the second half for number two.

Helen Cathcart got it but a penalty corner straight after allowed Southgate to pull one back.

However, Hampstead kept their heads and increased pressure was rewarded with a further two goals.

The first was a beautiful penalty corner deflection by Cathcart and the second a good team goal, finished off by Jasmine Clark with less than 10 minutes to go.

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