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Press Release - 29/09/1997

East Antrim Hockey Club
29 September 1997

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


SECURITY AT PALACE TIGHTER THAN EAST ANTRIM DEFENCE

East Antrim paid a visit to Palace Barracks in Holywood last Saturday for their first encounter with a new club to Ulster Hockey - Eagles. Unfortunately, Eagles had forgotten to mention the fact that a civilian team were coming to play - East Antrim can prove that security at Army bases is tight.

After getting clearance to proceed into the complex, it was discovered that a number of East Antrim players had mistakenly gone to Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn - a quick phone call sorted out replacements. Stuart Wallace made is first team debut at left back and Chris Picken was drafted into right back for only his third start for the 1st XI.

The game was delayed by 40 minutes as the umpires seemed to have difficulty getting their security clearance and the game began with the Eagles team looking more comfortable in the surroundings than their visitors. Indeed, the distractions of the helicopters taking-off and landing within 100 yards of the pitch did not help matters.

Eagles took the lead midway through the first half, which seemed to wake up the men in green. Within a few minutes, Alan Burgess should have equalised. Burgess, however, made amends for his sloppy finishing by collecting a cross from Nathaniel Bane, dribbling past one defender and slotting the ball past a helpless keeper. East Antrim should have gone in front just moments later when Raymond Hughes squandered a glorious chance after the Eagles team tried to re-enact the parting of the Red Sea.

The half-time scoreline of 1-1 was a fair reflection on play - but the Eagles' midfield was starting to find its range. The second half started with a double blow to the Glengormley men as two Eagles' breaks resulted in goals. David Caldwell stepped into the game to claw a goal back from the penalty spot as an Eagles defender made a deliberate infringement inside his own penalty area.

East Antrim pressed for another equaliser which always looked likely, but again chances were squandered. Burgess, Hughes and Bane were all guilty of missing the target.

With just 10 minutes of the game remaining, the final blow was dealt - Wallace, on his debut, was adjudged to have committed a deliberate foul against the Eagles centre-forward and a penalty stroke was awarded and converted.

The final score-line of 4-2 to the home team certainly did no justice to an East Antrim team which fully played its part in an entertaining game. Team captain, Stephen Swann, remarked afterward "We should have no fear of Eagles when the league campaign starts. At full strength, with no helicopters, I would expect to pick up 4 points against them."

The East Antrim Man of the Match went to Stuart Wallace who, on his debut, looked as comfortable as any player on the pitch.