Lancaster hits hat-trick as Southampton University stun city hockey rivals

Romsey Advertiser: SEB LANCASTER SEB LANCASTER

Music man Seb Lancaster drummed out his maiden hat-trick as Southampton University knocked Southampton’s Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 promotion push askew at the Sports Centre.

The 19-year old Devonian, a second year Wessex music student, hit the right notes by bagging all three University goals as Southampton crashed to a 3-1 defeat – their first loss since the opening day of the season when newly promoted Romsey beat them 4-2.

But while the University were ecstatic, manager Paul Meacher pulled no punches about Southampton’s off-key performance.

“We’ve nobody to blame but ourselves,” he said.

“We were punished for what was arguably our worst first half performance since Romsey. If you play that badly you can concede goals to any side, no matter their standard, and the University are not the sort of side to give opportunities to.”

Southampton, who soared into second place in the table behind Basingstoke on the back of an eight-match unbeaten run, found themselves chasing the game after the Highfield students converted their second short corner.

Toby Rigby, who had a fine game between the Southampton posts, beat out Adam Cope’s initial grab flick, but Lancaster, a talented pianist, was in tune with the situation and gobbled up the rebound.

The University pushed Southampton back for long periods and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead – Lancaster, toe tapping to the short corner music and beating Rigby as Southampton failed to clear another set piece.

With the students all singing from the same song sheet, Southampton were fortunate not to fall further behind before half-time.

But the second half was a different story – the high intensity of the students’ play levelled off and Southampton clawed their way back into the game.

“In the second half we were much better and created a whole shed load of chances, but some good goalkeeping and poor decision making or finishing meant that Andy Gregory’s goal was all we had to show for our efforts as the clock ticked away,” Meacher reflected.

Sam Mead produced several fine saves after Gregory had made it 2-1, but as Southampton fluffed their notes, so the University regrouped and finished the stronger side, albeit amid a spot of musical chairs as three of them were sin-binned at various times.

Towards the end, it was Rigby’s turn to show his goalkeeping skills as Cope and Lancaster went close during a spate of late penalty corners.

Student pressure eventually paid off - eight minutes from time, Nick Wake drove forward into the D and, after a melee from the subsequent penalty corner, Lancaster rolled the drums a third time and settled affairs with a predator’s pick up in a crowded goalmouth.

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