Stephen Woodford was in scoring form again.
HOCKEY Salisbury III 2, IW 4
IW HANDED Salisbury their first defeat of the season, and in doing so stretched their lead at the top of Hampshire 6 — but they had to battle hard for the points.
Salisbury were the only other side in the league to boast a 100 per cent record, and were second only on goal difference, so IW knew it was going to be tough.
IW started brightly and took the lead when, a quickly taken pass into the area from skipper Simon Butler found the stick of Stephen Woodford, who diverted the ball home.
Salisbury, shaken by the goal, were spurred into action and quickly levelled with a good counter-attacking move.
But they were unable to take the lead against an IW side who maintained the majority of possession and attacking play in what was turning out to be a very physical match.
After Salisbury inadvertently started the second half with 12 men, IW again began well and forced a series of short corners, but the visitors’ usually reliable routine was misfiring and Salisbury were able to clear each time, while coming more into IW’s half. A brilliant block in the area by James Liddiard also prevented a Salisbury forward a free shot at goal.
Rob Forrest had to leave the pitch for a few minutes to receive treatment after being accidentally elbowed in the head, and this unsettled the Island who then conceded a penalty corner.
Salisbury made no mistake and made it 2-1, with only 15 minutes to go.
After forcing more chances, IW did get level, with a penalty corner of their own, Woodford netting his second.
Salisbury were left reeling by the goal, while IW pressed forward and they would have gone in front but for a stunning save from point blank range by the impressive Salisbury keeper, who somehow deflected a Colin Simmonds shot onto the crossbar.
IW were undeterred and immediately forced another penalty corner, converted again by Woodford, this time on the rebound.
And it was another penalty corner which resulted in the fourth IW goal, again scored by Woodford as he netted his ninth goal in two games.
Tomorrow (Saturday), IW host Southampton IV at Smallbrook, starting at 2pm.