HOCKEY: Weymouth close in on promotion

Dorset Echo: CONVERTED: Patrick May scored against Winchester CONVERTED: Patrick May scored against Winchester

WEYMOUTH 4 WINCHESTER 2

WEYMOUTH earned another three Hampshire League Division Two points from an energetic Winchester side to stay on track for promotion.

The Seasiders now require three points from their last two fixtures to ensure a top-two finish but will hope other results go their way this weekend to give them a shot at the league title in their final game.

Perhaps the more important fixture for the Seasiders this Satur-day is the clash between leaders Bournemouth and third-placed Portsmouth University.

A win for Portsmouth or a draw will give Weymouth the chance to go top on points if they win on the road at Havant.

Winchester travelled to Dorset to avenge a 3-0 loss at home in December, but although they couldn’t prevent another defeat they put on a far more competitive display.

Both teams started positively but it was Winchester who broke the deadlock.

The visitors broke down the right creating an overload that allowed them to get a shot off. Keeper David Civil saved the initial strike but Winchester picked up the rebound and picked out a player at the far post to deflect in.

Weymouth stayed positive and found an equaliser after forcing a penalty corner and forward Patrick May converted his drag flick.

Midfielders Joe Foot and Daniel Bowles won their battles down the centre of the pitch and created chance after chance for their forwards drawing impressive saves from the Winchester keeper and rattling the frame of the goal.

Notably, Foot picked out roaming right-back and skipper Simon Harvey in space, whose second touch strike was agonisingly plucked from tight in the top right corner by the goaltender.

At the restart, Weymouth upped their work rate and pressured Winchester well to keep them contained in midfield. They finally took the lead for the first time through Bowles, again from a penalty corner.

Forward Luke Drewitt then doubled the lead with a brilliant piece of improvisation. Ash Jones played a ball in from the left, which kicked up off an attempted defensive clearance.

Drewitt pounced on the loose ball and struck it in mid-air on the reverse over the shoulder of the bemused keeper.

Bowles took the game away from the visitors with an individual effort. He dribbled into the circle and stuck a sharp shot into the bottom corner to leave the keeper stranded.

With 10 minutes to go, Weymouth were again guilty of chasing an emphatic win unnecessarily and allowed their defence to be exposed.

Winchester pushed forward in numbers and a midfielder squeezed a hopeful pass off from the top of the circle that was lucky to find his team-mate in space for a tap-in at the right post.

If it weren’t for the two-goal cushion, the final moments might have been a nervy affair, but with their lead Weymouth stayed in control until the final whistle.

With the two promotion places likely to be settled this weekend, Weymouth will hope to travel back from Havant with the title to play for in their final game of the season when they host strugglers Tadley next Saturday.

Man of the Match: Joe Foot

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