Annadale’s four-goal swing gives survival hopes boost as UCD relegated from men’s EYHL

Men’s EY Hockey League – day 15 round-up
Lisnagarvey 4 (O Kidd, M Nelson, D Nelson, J Lynch) YMCA 1 (G Glutz)

Lisnagarvey eased to a comfortable 4-1 win over YMCA at Comber Road to keep their two-point lead at the top of the table In tact with three rounds to go. It was largely built around three goals in as many minutes early in the second half which saw them race away.

In the first 10 minutes, Garvey showed their intent with five sights of goal; Matthew Nelson had a shot charged down by Ben Chadwick, Jakim Bernsden denied his next effort while Adam Walker cut out a dangerous Troy Chamber’s run.

Nelson did get his goal when Jonny Lynch raced around the left of the D and crossed for a deflected finish.

After that fast start, YM settled and enjoyed some quick-paced counter-attacks while they survived another scare when Andy Williamson turned in a Mark McNellis cross but with his body at the back post rather than his stick.

The result was settled early in the second half with those three quickfire goals. Daniel Nelson’s short was well saved but only to Lynch who flicked in. A loose clearance led to a steal on the 23-metere line which led to a shot and two rebounds, the last of which was thumped in by Ollie Kidd.

And Daniel Nelson made it 4-0 when he had time to turn and flick in. YM finished strong with Grant Glutz scoring from their first set of corners – he initially hit the backboard but the whistle had gone for a linebreak. No matter, from the reset, he went higher down the glove side.

Pembroke 2 (A Sothern, J Dale) Three Rock Rovers 3 (J Walker, R Spencer, B Johnson)
Ben Johnson’s ninth goal of the EYHL season saw Three Rock snatch the points at Serpentine Avenue in the 67th minute, denying Pembroke who had led with nine minutes to go.

He nailed a low corner from Rovers’ seventh corner to keep up their pursuit of Lisnagarvey while Pembroke remain in the relegation spot with two points to make up on Corinthian who they meet next Saturday.

The first half was a quiet affair as torrential rain limited the pace of the game. James Walker did pop in the main chance of the half, a corner shot that was saved onto the post but bounced out invitingly for him to finish off.

Alan Sothern was the main first half threat for Pembroke and he levelled the game in the 48th minute from his side’s first corner of the game. It was slightly in its build-up but once Sothern got the ball on his reverse, he fired in a perfect backhand shot.

He went close to another but his drag was saved off the line by Jody Hosking before Julian Dale whipped in Pembroke’s third corner in the 55th minute.

From there, Rovers piled on the pressure with the hosts scrambling to block down a couple of corners with Harry Spain showing immense bravery. Dale also took a yellow card during the endgame and it proved pivotal as Rovers netted twice in his absence, overloading with Mick Maguire and Harry McMahon making key incisions which allowed Ryan Spencer to turn home from close range.

And another set of corners led to the winner with three minutes to go to turn things around in dramatic fashion.

Annadale 5 (D Tremlett 2, R Davidson, M Robson, S Pinion) UCD 3 (K O’Dea, S Byrne, E Ramsay)
Annadale made a big leap toward EY Hockey League safety as UCD’s relegation was formally sealed on Saturday afternoon in the wake of a wild 5-3 scoreline.

The Ulster side recovered from a perilous position against the student side, trailing 3-1 in Q3. Spencer Pinion had put Dale in front from a corner drag-flick but a Kevin O’Dea penalty stroke in the first quarter.

And a quickfire pair from captain Ewan Ramsay and Sam Byrne saw the students race into a 3-1 lead, the former slapping in off the underside of the crossbar while the latter produced a piledriver on his backhand.

It awoke the Ulster side from their slumber and they produced a blistering seven-minute spell in which David Tremlett got them back in the game when he slotted in after Tim Cross’s run. Robbie Davidson levelled when he picked up the pieces from mid-circle and they led once more when Michael Robson turned and smashed in from the top of the D.

Tremlett added another into an open net with a touch to Cross’s ball in the final minute to seal the deal and a vital three points.

Banbridge 2 (L Witherow, J McKee) Corinthian 1 (M Neill)
Banbridge moved up to fourth place in the table after a contest in which they had the chances to win a greater margin of comfort but almost fell to a late sucker-punch from the visiting reds.

Bann won their first corner in the opening 10 seconds and earned two more before the third minute was up and it seemed only a matter of time before they would take the lead. That came when Jonny McKee produced some magical skills on the left baseline, Josh Moffett took it on and spun the ball across to Luke Witherow to finish off at close quarters.

It was 2-0 seconds later as McKee got a near post touch to a drive in from the right-wing. From there, it looked like the Havelock Park hosts were going to ease clear as they enjoyed the vast majority of the play.

But Corinthian struck out of the blue from their first major attack in the 34th minute, the returning Chad Futcher – in his first game of 2022 – ripped a ball into the D which was half-stopped and fell to Max Neill who calmly flicked in.

Simon Thornton made a series of good stops in Q3 as Banbridge continued to make most of the play. McKee was somehow denied from a corner move by a sprawling Craig Mackay who deflected the ball onto the post at point-blank range.

And, with just a goal in it, Corinthian were live on the contest and Neill went close to an equaliser with four minutes to go with a volley that flashed over from a tight angle. They also got their first corners with two minutes left but Bann charged down Futcher’s two efforts on goal to maintain their lead.

Glenanne 1 (S Boucher) Monkstown 2 (M Gibbons, J Duncan)
Monkstown struck twice in the last eight minutes to make it five wins in a row in the league and keep up their chase for a top two finish, putting a big hole in Glenanne’s similar hopes.

Shannon Boucher gave Glenanne the lead in the first quarter from a corner and they held that lead for a long time with Shane O’Donoghue saving off the line from Guy Sarratt.

Richard Couse’s spectacular deflection effort went just over while the Glens also had a corner spin-move disallowed but Monkstown turned the screw in the closing minutes, getting level through Mark Gibbons and then winning it with just a handful of minutes to go from a turnover on the 23-metre line.

Three sweet passes later and Jeremy Duncan was tipping in for his second goal in successive weeks for a big three-point swing.