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Match Report

Match Details

Match : 2nd XI v Raphoe 5ths
Date : 2003-01-18
Venue : A
Score : 1-1
Scorers : Johnston

Match Report

By Stuart Campbell

The seconds went to league leaders Rahpoe on Saturday aware that a very tough game was ahead. The promotion of Mark McDonald and unavailbility of FIVE regulars left the seconds decimated from previous weeks line ups. However this was still a good side but more importanty it was a good TEAM.

Raphoe went 1-0 up after five minutes. A dangerous cross cruelly deflected off Gillespies stick and past the wrong footed Cookie. Was it to be one of those days.

Well, no it wasnt. Immediately East went on the attack and won a short corner, intelligent work from Johnston (a phrase I thought I would never hear.) Left him a free shot from an acute angle. The shot deflected off the keepers kicker an into the roof of the net. GOAL. Even the umpire gave it. But after protests from Raphoe the umpire "changed his mind".

To be entirely honest I felt cheated but we accepted the decision and got on with the game.

It wasnt too long before we got our reward for our hard work. Sustained pressure and a number of short corners later the ball was in the back of the net. An identical move to the previous corner, but this time Jonty made no mistake and pushed the ball just far enough over the line to leave no doubt. 1-1 and all to play for.

With minutes remaining in the first half Cookie was exposed for a one on one, the attacker pushed the ball past him, had lost control of it and then fell over. Penalty flick!!. You must be F***ing joking was the joint response from the East defence. With all eyes on him Cookie would not be denied his moment of glory. A dive high to his right stopped the ball from going into the net and more than a whiff of poetic justice was in the air.

The first half ended with East well inthe game and drawing 1-1.

The second half was a hectic affair. End to end hockey with both forward lines having the better of their respective defenders. Raphoe had 8 short corners in a row but failed to capitalise. East had three clear attempts on goal after Jonty had rounded the keeper, but failed to find the net.

All in all a great half of hockey with both teams having the chances to win it, right to the final whistle.

If this was not the best 2nd eleven performace whilst I have been Captain it was certainly the best this season. There was great character shown in Donegal last weekend and not one player was found wanting.

The whole team played well, Swanny made a welcome return to the more accustomed center forward role, Reid and Blair worked tirelessly, Young and Nicholl tortured Raphoe with speed and a telepathic understanding that could be the difference between success and not for the seconds.

The whole defence worked hard making the right tackles at the right time, occassionally outside the rules but thats OK as long as the job is done.

As a certain French football manager said last weekend. "When the going gets tough, the strong get stronger and the weak dissappear". The whole team came back from Donegal a bit stronger and are now fighting fit for a long cup run starting this weekend against Armagh.

Team Lineup

Graeme Cooke
Paul Leitch
Tom Watson
Gordon Gillespie
Stuart Campbell
Stephen Nicholl
Paul Reid
Andrew Blair
Aaron Young
Stephen Swann
Neil Johnston

Man Of The Match

Stephen Nicholl