READING Men slumped to their second home Premier Division defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 3-2 to Hampstead & Westminster, writes Dave Wright.

The Blues soon came under pressure and fell behind in the fourth minute with Matt Guise Brown converting a penalty corner.

They were not in arrears for long, Ben Boon bringing the scores level with eight minutes on the clock, but the visitors’ third short corner of the game saw Guise Brown restore the lead on 16 minutes.

Ten minutes later the Reading defence was breached again with Toby Roche extending his side’s advantage to 3-1.

The Blues worked hard to get back into the game and Boon scored again just before the end of an entertaining first half.

Reading were now right back in the game and went searching for the equaliser. However, they were unable to find a way through the Hampstead defence with the visitors happy to retain possession for as long as possible in the closing stages.

Despite suffering their third defeat in seven games Reading remain fourth in the table, but the gap between them and leaders Surbiton is extended to six points.

And it is Surbiton whom the Blues face this Saturday at Sugden Road (6pm).

Reading captain Tom Carson and defender Liam Sanford are among the 24-strong Great Britain squad who will be playing three Test matches against Germany at Manneheim next week.

It has been a good couple of weeks for Sanford, a senior aircraftman, as he was recently named the RAF’s Sportsman of the Year.

Also flying high are Reading Women in Conference West of the Investec League, taking their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-1 win over Isca at Exeter.

Sophie Shakespeare opened the scoring on 14 minutes, only for Kath Holdgate to equalise for the hosts five minutes later.

But it was a case of ‘t(w)o be, or not to be’ as Shakespeare wrote her name on the scoresheet for the second time three minutes before half-time.

Reading were unable to increase their lead in the second half as they held on to secure their fifth win to stay second in the table, one point adrift of leaders Trojans.

They host third-bottom Oxford Hawks at Sonning Lane on Sunday (2.30pm), their last home league fixture of the year.