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Press Release - 16/11/1996

East Antrim Hockey Club
16 November 1996

For further information, contact:
Stephen Swann
Press Release Officer - East Antrim Hockey Club
34 Carnmoney Road, Newtownabbey, BT36 6HP
078 0316 7731
stephen@eastantrim.co.uk


EAST ANTRIM V CROSSGAR

A battle took place at the Valley Leisure Centre when Crossgar made the journey to East Antrim's home pitch after securing a good result against Portrush a week earlier. East Antrim, however, having beaten Queens Old Boys 7 days before were looking to move up the Intermediate League table after having previously beaten Crossgar 4-0 just 6 weeks earlier.

The match started badly for East Antrim has road works along the Antrim Road prevented two of their players from taking to the pitch on time. This disoriented the 10 players that did take the pitch and Crossgar seemed to capitalise by bearing down on the East Antrim goal. Simon Hunter, having finally claimed a place on the 1st XI, prevented Crossgar from taking the lead during the first 10 minutes, but the constant pressure told, when laziness in the East Antrim defence lead to the opening goal.

A scappy 15 minutes ensued with neither team taking the game by the scruff of the neck, when Aaron McDonald went on a rampaging run down the right flank. A horrendous tackle just outside the penalty circle halted McDonald's advance but the resulting free hit saw Allen Hull bury the ball into the Crossgar goal for the equaliser.

Stephen Swann, East Antrim's captain, had some harsh words for his team for their sloppy play during the first period and it seemed to have the desired effect as the team laid siege on the Crossgar goalmouth.

Alan Burgess won short corner after short corner, but the resulting efforts proved fruitless. Gaps started to appear in the Crossgar defence as Mark Watson and Hermon found space. The East Antrim second goal finally came when a thunderbolt shot from Raymond Hughes ricocheted around the back of the goal. Crossgar were then reduced to 10 men after a disagreement on the home team's 25 yard line, but East Antrim were unable to take advantage. Indeed, it was East Antrim that were relieved to hear the final whistle. Relief was short-lived, however, when the team discovered that David Caldwell had suffered a fracture to his hand during a clumsy challenge in the first half.

The final scoreline of 2-1 moves East Antrim into the top four in the league with a tough match away to Portrush to come this weekend. Swann said after the match "I am pleased we came through such a stiff test. Crossgar are quite a physical team and they don't like to lose 50-50 challenges. The hockey wasn't pretty by any means, and we neglected a basic pass and move game, but at the end of the day we have the result. It's a sign of a maturing team."

The 2nd XI extended their winning streak with an impressive six goal display at Ballysillan Leisure Centre against Lisnagarvey. Despite the visitors taking the lead, the 2nd XI were always in control. Adam McDonald scored a hat-trick eclipsing the supposed brilliance of Colin Black who, despite being the club's top scorer, was unable to add to his season's tally. Richard McCullough scored a cheeky goal denying Stephen Duffin the plaudits that his shot deserved. John Baker and Robert Gibson got the other two making the final score 6-2 to the Glengormley men.

The 3rd XI, unbeaten since the first game of the season, grinded out a nil-nil draw against a well-disciplined Civil Service team. Despite having most of the possession, indecision in the final third of the field prevented East Antrim from gaining proper scoring chances. Tom Watson, 3rd XI captain, was, however, pleased that the team had picked up another point despite not scoring. "We need a few players to get the knack of scoring goals - then the floodgates should open" said vice-captain Paul Reid.