Men's Hockey: Alton 1st XI 3 Winchester 4th XI 3

By Surrey and Hants News in Hockey

Alton had to settle for a point as the Hampshire League Division 3 leaders were held by a tough and talented Winchester side.

The game started well for already-promoted Alton, with good all-round work from the yellows putting the visitors in a difficult position.

It did not take long for Alton to go ahead, with Luke Bottomley finishing off a well-worked move to put them 1-0 up.

Winchester responded but a solid defensive performance from Jonny Dane, Scott Reading and Dan Trim kept out the visitors.

Kevin Scowcroft soon put Alton two up, after another consistent spell of pressure, but Winchester were made of stern stuff.

Not long before half-time, an unmarked man on a post punished the hosts to make it 2-1 at the break.

It was obvious from the start of the second half that Alton were rattled by the fast-paced play of Winchester, with the hosts making mistakes that would not have occurred earlier in the season.

With the home side looking nervous, Winchester seized their chance, and with the aid of a freak bounce off a post managed to force the ball home to draw level.

A tense 10 minutes followed, with both sides furiously trying to gain some form of foothold in the game.

It appeared Alton had just enough energy to claw the game back in their favour, with a counter-attack finishing with Martin Kercher slipping the ball between the keeper’s legs to restore their lead.

But Winchester applied tremendous pressure on Alton as the game entered its final phase.

There was fantastic defensive work from Alton, but their legs were tiring and a wicked deflection presented the visitors with another equaliser.