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Beeston make it three HA Cups in a row
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 cup title (we still call it the HA Cup at Push!).
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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.
On 12 minutes, 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.
However, just five minutes later it was Hampstead & Westminster that took the lead when Tom Kavanagh entered the circle and unleashed an unstoppable shot past the helpless goalkeeper.
On 25 minutes, Beeston thought they had drawn level but their goal was disallowed due to an earlier foot in the area. It took Beeston just another three minutes to break even when a 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. Five minutes later Beeston broke away and scored what turned out to be the winning goal. The ball fell to Chris Proctor as he dived in at the back post to steer 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 cup win in five years.