Brighton in re­vival mood as they scare Sevenoaks

Con­fer­ence East round-up

The Hockey Paper - - MEN'S PREMIER DIVISION - By Jack Miller

IT looked like it could be a long sec­ond half of the sea­son when Brighton & Hovewere thumped 80 by league-lead­ers Ted­ding­ton on their re­turn af­ter Christ­mas.

But while two more de­feats have since fol­lowed for the south-coast side, skip­per Tom Langston in­sists there is cause of op­ti­mism ahead of this week’s clash with West Herts.

Brighton were beaten by high-fly­ing Sevenoaks but it was not the thrash­ing some may have pre­dicted.

With the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time, the hosts ar­guably had the bet­ter of the chances af­ter the break, but were made to pay for a de­fen­sive er­ror nine min­utes from time.

Mike Bar­ber pounced in a goal­mouth scram­ble when Brighton twice failed to clear a loose ball, bundling the ball home for a 2-1 vic­tory that kept Sevenoaks on par with Ted­ding­ton at the top of the stand­ings.

And Langston is con­fi­dent that with West Herts just six points ahead of them, Brighton’s form is now good enough to top­ple the sev­enth-placed side this week­end.

“It was a tight game and the re­sult wasn’t what we were af­ter un­for­tu­nately, but we played well and pushed a side who are very close to the top of the league,” he said.

“We prob­a­bly should have got some­thing from the game to be hon­est, but it’s not helped things that our first three games back af­ter the break have been against the best teams in the league.

“You’re play­ing against a lot of for­mer Olympians and Premier League play­ers in those teams, but we’ve been a lot bet­ter since the Ted­ding­ton game.

“That was a one-off per­for­mance, a very poor one, and we’ve been a lot bet­ter since. If we keep play­ing like that a run of re­sults will fol­low.

“The key was to make sure that was a one-off re­sult. Ev­ery team has bad days, but we needed to make sure that wasn’t a trend and that we learnt from our mis­takes.

“West Herts are a good team and have some good play­ers, but so do we and they won’t be as good as Sevenoaks.

“The league is now clearly split into a top five and ev­ery­body else, so we want to fin­ish as high up in that minileague as we can.”

West Herts re­main six points clear of Brighton de­spite their 3-2 loss at South­gate, but de­spite the close score­line, the Lon­don­ers looked com­fort­able through­out.

Drew Burkin and Paulie Singh put the hosts two goals up in­side 14 min­utes, and, de­spite Dan Web­ster’s penalty stroke, Will Holt’s goal with four min­utes re­main­ing made sure of the re­sult and made Wil­liam Gr­bic’s late strike a mere con­so­la­tion.

Top side Ted­ding­ton con­tin­ued their charge by hum­bling In­dian Gymkhana 4-0, largely thanks to a Matt Daly hat-trick.

The penalty cor­ner spe­cial­ist grabbed two from set-pieces af­ter his fifth-minute opener from open play, tak­ing his league tally for the sea­son to a whop­ping 19.

Rich­mond stayed fifth de­spite fall­ing to Mike Trim’s penalty stroke which swung a top­sy­turvy en­counter the way of Oxted, one place be­low them.

Both sides led dur­ing the match, with Oxted’s Johnathan Jauncey re­spond­ing to Char­lie El­li­son’s cor­ner be­fore Rich­mond’s Joshua Mardell can­celled out Andy Cor­nick’s ef­fort, but the visi­tors clinched it to close the gap to their op­po­nents to five points.

And in Satur­day’s only clash, Cam­bridge City kept up their chase on the top two with a 5-2 win at Wap­ping – Scott Perry net­ting twice.

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