Men’s EY Hockey League – day eight round-up
Lisnagarvey 4 (Andy Williamson 2, Andy Forrest, Daniel Buser) Three Rock Rovers 0
Lisnagarvey extended their lead at the top of the men’s EY Hockey League to four points with an impressive 4-0 win over fourth placed Three Rock Rovers.
Andy Williamson’s double allied to good finishes to team moves by Andy Forrest and Daniel Buser earned them their seventh win from eight outings and guaranteed top spot over Christmas no matter what happens next weekend.Williamson started the run just two minutes when Sean Murray’s shot led to a long corner that was quickly taken by Richard Arneill, getting to the ball to Timmy Cockram who crossed for Williamson to poke home.
Rovers did have their chances – goalkeeper John Tormey’s man of the match award testimony to this – in a high-paced, end to end second quarter. But it became two for Garvey in the 26th minute when Matthew Nelson made a superb run to the left endline and while his pass was loose, Murray picked up the pieces and fed on to Forrest to finish.
The win was complete in the third quarter with two devastating front to back moves. The first came from a long overhead that saw Williamson break down the right and pulling into the path of Buser who swept home. The fourth was equally swift in its creation with Cockram drawing Jamie Carr before slipping to Williamson to touch home.
Monkstown 1 (Jonny Bruton) Banbridge 1 (Frazer Mills)
Honours even for Monkstown and Banbridge meant both lost ground in the pursuit of Lisnagarvey at the top of the table as a first half goals from Jonny Bruton and Frazer Mills told the story of the day.
Town went into the game without Kyle Good (flu), David Carson (hamstring), David Cole (broken hand) and Ziggy Agnew (exams), meaning a big rejig formation with Nick Dee moved to partner Richard Sykes at centre back.
Nonetheless, Bruton did break the deadlock 14 minutes into the game when Stephen Cole’s quickly taken long corner picked out the striker who briskly drove left and unleashed a low tomahawk into the bottom right corner.
Bann equalised toward the end of the second quarter when they turned over the ball in midfield and worked a four on three move down the left channel before crossing for Mills who deflected into the roof of the net from four yards.
The Co Down side won the corner count 5-1 but found their set-piece kept at bay as David Fitzgerald denied Eugene Magee and Stephen Dowds. Peter Caruth’s number one running was also a feature.
Gareth Lennox also made some fine saves, notably denied Gareth Watkins from a one-on-one chance and a Richard Sykes’s drag while Geoff Cole’s low and hard strike was kept ou by an excellent right foot save.
A couple of last quarter yellow cards and half chances did not change matters as both sides dropped back a further two points from Lisnagarvey.
Pembroke 0 Glenanne 1 (Gary Shaw)
Gary Shaw’s brilliant goal ten seconds before full-time saw Glenanne extend their fine run to four wins from their last five games, transforming their season in the past month.
They sat bottom after three rounds of matches but have turned the corner in excellent style. There was a touch of fortune to this win, however, as Pembroke appeared to have earned a long corner deep in Glens’ territory but, despite heavy protests, the umpire awarded a free out.
From there, the Glens produced the move of the match with Neil Byrne and Gary Shaw exchanging a series of passes down the left before the latter burst into the circle and unleashed a superb strike past Mark Ingram – extending Pembroke’s mood of frustration.
It was a big incident in a match that had been light on drama prior to that points. The first three quarters were tame enough with both sides cancelling each other out. The Glens just about shaded the first two quarters while Pembroke – who were without key men Alan Sothern and Kirk Shimmins – had the better of the third.Shaw took a team yellow-card for their dissent with six minutes to go in reaction to a penalty corner award – both sides had several in the closing quarter. They also had a big shout for a stroke when Shannon Boucher was nudged over when shooting but only a corner accrued which was not converted.
Pembroke’s Jason Lynch swapped places with Shaw on the naughty chair for a similar offence just as Shaw came back onto the pitch, freeing him to cap the game in dramatic style.
Railway Union 1 (M English) Cork C of I 0
Mark English’s early goal earned Railway Union their third win of the season as Cork C of I’s wait for a three-pointer extends to four games. He was the architect of his own opening, dispossessing a defender before making a straight line for the circle and sliding his shot under Billy Lynch.
On a heavy pitch, the game was scrappy with the ball-pace down on a regular game due to the volume of rain. John Jermyn, though well-marshalled by Fergal Keaveney, looked lively throughout as he looked to power his side.
Railway, though, created the better chances before the break with Australian duo Nick Tate and James Dick almost combining to great effect, the post coming to C of I’s rescue.
Chances fell more readily to the Cork side in the third quarter with Simon Wolfe going close while Ravin Nair almost scored a sublime second but his reverse flashed past Lynch’s post.
For the most part, Railway limited C of I’s most deadly weapon – their penalty corner – but the visitors did earn some shots in the closing quarter. Stephen O’Keeffe, however, blocked down Jermyn’s shot while another was deflected wide by Simon McKeever, continuing Railway’s excellent defensive record that has seen them concede just three times in the last three games. They leap-frog C of I into sixth place.