Watton 1 Cranes 2
NE14 Hockey East MenDivision 4NE Watton 1 Cranes 2CRANES ground out a result out on a bitterly cold afternoon that could prove vital when the season comes to an end in seven weeks time, but in the meantime the score line maintained Cranes 100 per cent start to 2009, albeit with stiffer challenges still to come.
NE14 Hockey East Men
Watton 1 Cranes 2
CRANES ground out a result out on a bitterly cold afternoon that could prove vital when the season comes to an end in seven weeks time, but in the meantime the score line maintained Cranes 100 per cent start to 2009, albeit with stiffer challenges still to come. Cranes started brightly and aside from a few dangerous moments were relatively assured in defence, Nick Tiley-Nunn and Mark Campbell were getting the opportunity to put some passes together and cause some problems through Andel Williams and Paul Muchal.
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The first real chance fell to skipper Andy Bristow returning to the side after injury, cleverly played in by strike partner Robin Johnson but he rushed his shot and the chance was gone when a bit more composure would surely have opened the scoring. Bristow then hurried a second opportunity created by Muchal failing to strike a bouncing ball cleanly and shooting wide.
Shortly afterwards some good work by Williams earned a penalty corner that was stopped by Larbey and smashed in by Mark Campbell to mark his return to first team action.
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Determined to make amends for earlier errors, Bristow broke free from the defence and bore down on the opponents keeper only to be cleaned out by a 'robust' challenge from the recovering defender - how the umpire failed to award a penalty stroke is a mystery as all 22 players expected the arm to go up.
The resultant penalty corner went wide and the scores remained 1-0. Muchal thought he had doubled Cranes' advantage shortly before half time when he got on the end of Campbell's pass to deflect the ball past the keeper only to see a top drawer reaction save from the Watton keeper who some how reached behind him to tip the ball wide of the far post. Half time came and Cranes knew that if they could grab a second they could see the game out, as it happens it wasn't quite so simple.
Watton mounted more and more pressure which eventually told, a penalty corner breaking to their right-winger who equalised with a low shot past Strudwick. The game evened out and at this point it could have gone either way, however with 12 minutes left an identical penalty corner by Campbell sealed the points as Crane saw out the remaining time, despite a yellow card for Andy McManus. Man of the Match: Mark Campbell