14 May 2012

By Graham Griffiths



Men's Cup Final - Hampstead & Westminster 1 – 2  Beeston

Watch the highlights on link below


George Pinner pulled off a string of fine saves in the final minutes of the Men’s Cup Final to help Beeston to a 2-1 victory and their third consecutive Men's Cup title in what was a repeat of the 2010 final.  It was Londoners Hampstead & Westminster who had the first glimpse of goal on six minutes when a shot just went wide. Neither side could really grab hold of the game in the opening ten minutes with both finding it hard to retain possession.

An early chance fell to the Londoners when Toby Roche had a great shot from just inside the circle only to be denied by the Beeston back line, with Hampstead unable to follow up the rebound.   Hampstead & Westminster finally took the lead in the 13th minute when Tom Kavanagh entered the circle and slipped the ball past the advancing goalkeeper.

Beeston thought they had drawn level in the 26th minute, but Chris Gregg’s goal was disallowed due to an earlier foot in the area. It took Beeston just two minutes to break even when Beeston’s first penalty corner fell to Stephen Lawrence who calmly slotted the ball past Ian Scanlon at the back post, sending the sides into the break level.

The second half began slowly with Beeston enjoying the best of the possession. However, on 40 minutes Hampstead & Westminster broke forward after an interception at the back by Great Britain defender Dan Fox, which led to a penalty corner. It came to nothing however with the corner deflected wide. Beeston piled the pressure on the Hampstead goal but were denied on several occasions by a hard working defence and some fine saves from Ian Scanlon.

 As the match entered its last ten minutes, Hampstead & Westminster - whose supporters were in fine voice - came back into the game. With eight minutes remaining, the ball was played into the circle and was deflected towards the bottom corner before George Pinner reacted quickly to make a fantastic point blank save.  And the international goalkeeper’s save was to prove crucial.

With three minutes left on the clock Beeston broke away and scored what turned out to be the winning goal.  A clever pass from Stuart Pilgrim found England U18 midfielder, Chris Proctor who dived in at the back post to slam the ball home. It wasn’t the end of the drama though and with time running out, Hampstead won a penalty corner but were unable to convert as the ball deflected over. From the resulting long corner, the ball was played back into the circle where Pinner displayed his class with two excellent saves to deny the Londoners an equaliser. Pinner’s saves allowed Beeston to clear the ball to safety and secure their fourth Men’s Cup title in just five years.

Beeston captain, Mark Wadsley, left the field of play in the 44th minute with a broken wrist, but returned to lift the Cup. “We have been to five consecutive Finals and have picked up 4 gold medals. It’s a great way to finish a long and hard season.  Having won a hat trick of Cup Finals I hope we get to keep the trophy.”


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