HOCKEY Wimborne Wayfarers II 2, IW 3
IW LEFT it late — very late — to secure a crucial victory in this bruising top-of-the-table clash in Dorset.
Wimborne drew first blood after 18 minutes, sweeping home from a goalmouth scramble.
This sparked life into IW who, despite losing defender Dan Bartlett to a head injury, equalised through Simon Butler, who drove home after John Kirby’s cross.
In the second half, IW took the lead when Stuart Allen picked out Lewis Heaven-Gandy from a penalty corner and the defender slotted home under the keeper.
Wimborne came back strongly however, and the pressure finally told when an opposition winger crossed and a forward swept the ball home under Tom Butt for the equaliser.
More trouble then followed when the IW were reduced to ten men after Tom Parker was sin-binned for a rough challenge.
But the IW dug deep and when Colin Simmonds finally found some space and won a penalty corner on the final whistle, meaning the game would end either as soon as the ball went out of play, or IW scored.
Thankfully, it was the latter as a Heaven-Gandy’s shot was diverted home by Simmonds to give the Island the victory with the very last hit of the match.
The win means IW need only three more wins from seven games to secure promotion, and five more wins to secure their second consecutive league title.
Fordingbridge II 2, IW II 6
IW went six points clear at the top of Hampshire 9 after a hard-fought victory.
Early exchanges were even, with Fordingbridge well in the game and looking dangerous.
However, IW were thankful to their veteran defenders, John Pearson, Mark Dickinson and the returning Phil Selby (combined age 185 years), ably supported by skipper Kevin Dean, in preventing the home side from creating any clear cut chances.
A piece of magic from Stephen Woodford set up Barry Lloyd for clinical finish to give the Island the lead against the run of play.
Ten minutes later an almost carbon-copy move saw Lloyd finish impressively again, and IW increased their lead just before half time when Woodford finished from close range.
The early stages of the second half saw IW on top and controlling the plays, and Tom Young was soon on the score-sheet himself, converting the Island’s fourth from a short corner, before they made it five when a strong cross from Young was deflected home by Woodford.
Midway through the half an excellent reverse-stick strike from Carl Joyce finished off another good attack for the sixth goal.
In the latter stages of the match, Fordingbridge gained some consolation with a breakaway goal and a free hit.
IW goalkeeper Tom Speer also brilliantly saved a penalty flick.