READING men moved up to third place in the Premier Division following an excellent 4-3 victory at Holcombe on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

And team manager Tim Hamilton said the Blues won more comfortably than the scoreline would suggest, with the home side not netting their third goal until the final seconds of the game.

“At no point did it feel as though we were not going to take all three points,” stated Hamilton.

On a chilly night in Kent, the Blues were caught cold at the start, conceding a goal to Rob Field after just 20 seconds.

But Reading were soon on level terms thanks to skipper Tom Carson scoring his third penalty corner in two games, and a well-worked move led to Lee Morton putting them ahead with less than 10 minutes on the clock.

A dominant spell of possession followed with Holcombe sitting deep and trying to catch Blues out on the break.

Ben Boon extended their lead in the opening minute of the second half following a fast break and within three minutes it was 4-1 with Rick Mantell producing a strong flick from a well-rehearsed penalty corner routine.

Reading were left with nine players for a time with Dan Shingles and Stuart Loughrey both being shown yellow cards, while there were also a green card for Nick Park.

They were back to full strength by the time Nick Bandurak netted Holcombe’s second from a penalty corner on 52 minutes.

The Kent team were left a man short when Harry Trusler received a yellow card, but they forced a penalty corner in the last play of the game which Dan Webster converted.

With six wins from 10 games, Blues move onto 18 points, five behind leaders Surbiton and four adrift of second-placed Beeston.

This was Reading’s last league game of the year, and they now turn their attention to their defence of the National Cup with a home tie against Clifton Robinsons at Sonning Lane on Sunday (2.30pm).

The visitors are in last place in the Conference East standings with just one win and a draw from 10 games.

Reading Women ended their 2017 Investec Conference West fixtures on a disappointing note, crashing 4-0 at table-topping Trojans.

If was the first time they had failed to score this season and their second successive defeat leaves them third in the table, four points behind the leaders and two behind Stourport.

The Trojans goals last Saturday came from Jill Tombs after two minutes, Lauren Anning on 20 minutes, Jenny Peebles in the 52nd and Hannah Leigh five minutes from time.

Like their men’s team, Reading are also in cup action against Clifton Robinsons on Sunday, the second-round tie getting underway at 12.30pm. The visitors have entered two ladies teams in the competition this season, with the other being home to Cheltenham.