Surbiton Men became the first English team since Reading in 2010-11 to win a medal at the ABN AMRO Euro Hockey League when they beat Spaniards, Club Campo de Madrid 2-1 to leave the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam with the bronze medals.
Reading beat Oranje Zwart 3-2 in the 2011 third place playoff in Wassenaar, also in the Netherlands, with Wimbledon finishing fourth in 2017.
As expected, Surbiton and Madrid were two well matched teams with the game remaining in the balance before Surbiton’s triumph was confirmed by the final hooter.
On a sunny day in Amsterdam, Surbiton’s Rob Farrington had a first minute shot across goal with Surbiton goalkeeper Ore Ogunlana called upon to make an eighth minute save.
Jamie Golden also tested Madrid goalkeeper Mario Garín Fernandez in the first quarter.
Luke Taylor had a shot blocked from Surbiton’s first penalty corner with Madrid’s Jose Basterra drag-flicking past the right post from the Spanish club’s first award right at the end of the first period.
Madrid fell behind in the 18th minute, David Goodfield playing a one two passing move with Tim Nurse from the left sideline before running towards the centre of the circle and sending the ball into the bottom right corner to give Surbiton a 1-0 lead.
Basterra caused Surbiton more problems when he effectively nutmeged Gareth Furlong in the 26th minute only to miss the target and fire wide of the right post.
A minute later, Furlong effectively got revenge by doubling Surbiton’s lead from their second penalty corner, awarded following a successful Surbiton video referral.
In the third quarter, Alex Williams went close with a first time shot after being assisted by Nick Park and James Gall, but Madrid immediately put pressure on the Surbiton goal by forcing two penalty corners but Basterra drag-flicked wide and Enrique Zorita was denied by Tom Sorsby.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Ogunlana made a superb save from Enrique Gonzalez to preserve Surbiton’s two goal advantage, but the 51st minute proved eventful as Surbiton lost their right to video referral challenging a penalty corner which Goodfield ended up blocking before the re-award gave Madrid hope.
The initial injection was mis-trapped but recovered outside the circle and Madrid claimed that the ball played into the goal had been deflected on the way. Madrid video referred the decision and the goal was awarded when it was judged that Ignacio Rodriguez had deflected the ball past Ogunlana to halve Madrid’s deficit.
With two minutes remaining, Taylor saw a drag-flick saved by Garín Fernandez and deflect off the crossbar from Surbiton’s fourth penalty corner.
Madrid sacrificed their goalkeeper for an eleventh outfield player with 85 seconds remaining and threatened with just 29 seconds remaining, forcing their sixth and final set piece. The penalty corner was blocked and cleared with Surbiton able to run down clock and clinch their well deserved bronze medals, reinforcing the potential which had cruelly been denied by shootout defeats.
Rot Weiss Köln meet Bloemendaal in the final at 1515 BST.