The leading three put daylight between themselves and the chasers in the men’s EY Hockey League as Glenanne, Banbridge and Lisnagarvey all recorded fine wins.
The Glens remain top on goal difference as Brad Venter’s single strike in the 63rd minute was enough to see off Pembroke 1-0 at Serpentine Avenue.
Banbridge are level on points with a game in hand following their 4-2 success at YMCA. Their win was built around a first-half blitz of three goals in the first 20 minutes from Zach McClelland, Eugene Magee and Jonny McKee.
Cillian Hynes pulled one back but Magee’s second early in the second half put the game out of reach. Both sides missed penalty strokes before Andrew Jones nicked one at the end for the Y.
Lisnagarvey made it four wins in a row as they beat Three Rock Rovers 2-0 at Comber Road. Matthew Nelson opened the scoring with 23 minutes to go and Troy Chambers made the result safe 10 minutes later as Errol Lutton’s young side continues to make waves.
They sit three points off the leaders and four ahead of Pembroke with a game in hand.
At the bottom, Cork C of I drew 3-3 at Annadale. John Jermyn had built a 2-0 lead for the visitors only for Ryan Burgess, Callum Robson and Adam McAllister to turn things around and create a 3-2 lead. Simon Wolfe’s deflection meant the points were shared.
Cookstown fought back from a 4-2 deficit to earn a draw against Monkstown. Calum Anderson put the Co Tyrone side in front but Monkstown replied to lead 3-1 and then 4-2 via doubles from Davy Carson and Guy Sarratt.
Greg Allen got one back before half-time to make it 4-3. The second half was much quieter but Allen did get on the end of a Keith Black pass to equalise yet again for a 4-4 result which lifts them back above YMCA and out of the relegation playoff place.
EY Hockey League: Annadale 3 (R Burgess, C Robson, A McAllister) Cork C of I 3 (J Jermyn 2, S Wolfe); Cookstown 4 (C Anderson 2, G Allen 2) Monkstown 4 (D Carson 2, G Sarratt 2); Lisnagarvey 2 (M Nelson, T Chambers) Three Rock Rovers 0; Pembroke Wanderers 0 Glenanne 1 (B Venter); YMCA 2 (C Hynes, A Jones) Banbridge 4 (E Magee 2, Z McClelland, J McKee)
Annadale 3 (R Burgess, C Robson, A McAllister) Cork C of I 3 (J Jermyn 2, S Wolfe)
Annadale and Cork C of I shared the spoils from a topsy-turvy battle in Strathearn in which both sides led but could not hold onto the advantage.
The visitors started the better with Simon Wolfe and Jonny Bruton making inroads, winning corners, the second of which John Jermyn dispatched via a deflection. Tony Brophy won the next corner which was upgraded to a stroke; Jermyn again did the honours for 2-0 in the 13thminute. Jermyn was also called on to save a Ryan Burgess drag off the line before the end of the first quarter.
Dale stepped up their game in the second quarter and Burgess did get on the board in the 24th minute from a drag. Three further set-pieces for the hosts went unconverted before half-time but the hosts did go in front when Callum Robson fired home a cracking reverse-stick effort for 2-2.
And the turnaround was complete when Adam McAllister got on the end of a corner move to give Annadale a 3-2 lead with 20 minutes to go. At this stage, the tie had followed the exact same format as the first meeting between the clubs but C of I summoned another leveller with Wolfe getting a delightful deflection from a crash ball for the final word.
Cookstown 4 (C Anderson 2, G Allen 2) Monkstown 4 (D Carson 2, G Sarratt 2)
Cookstown and Monkstown fought out a very enjoyable 4-4 draw in the EY Hockey League at Steelweld Park on Saturday. There were half-chances at either end before Callum Anderson put Cookstown ahead with a seriously good first-time half-volley into the bottom corner.
Monkstown got back into the game in the second quarter, though Cookstown calls for a foot in the build-up to their equaliser went unheeded. Two passes later and Davy Carson steered the ball home with a really classy finish for 1-1.
That drove on Monkstown and only for Dan Crooks’ save on the line, Carson would’ve had a double. The men in blue did edge in front soon afterwards through Guy Sarratt’s powerful drag from a penalty corner.
A yellow card for Stu Smyth put Cookstown under pressure, but Ryan Millar did manage to hit the post before Monkstown made their extra man count with Carson forcing the ball home for 3-1. Monkstown were still celebrating when Cookstown made it 3-2, Anderson deflecting Greg Allen’s drive past Davy FitzGerald.
Sarratt slotted home a carbon copy of his first with three minutes left until half time, but there was still time for another goal in the second quarter. It went to Cookstown with Allen smashing home with an old-fashioned long handle hit to make it 4-3 at the short whistle.
By comparison, the second period was a relatively boring affair. The first meaningful event came when Ryan Millar scored high into the net for Cookstown from second phase at short corner time. However, the umpire adjudged it to have been the first shot on goal and reversed his decision.
It was a tense match for much of the final quarter with Cookstown pegged back defending. When they did get the chance to counter through Stu Smyth, it drew a green card for Monkstown’s Jason Lynch and this gave them the impetus for Greg Allen to deflect home a Keith Black route one ball into the circle. There was a flurry of chances at both ends before the whistle went and the two teams got a share of the points.
YMCA 2 (C Hynes, A Jones) Banbridge 4 (E Magee 2, Z McClelland, J McKee)
Banbridge’s efficiency in the first 20 minutes saw them get by the challenge of YMCA at Wesley and keep pace with Glenanne at the head of the men’s EYHL table.
They raced out of the blocks with Zach McClelland forcing home in the second minute after three Jakim Bernsden saves in quick succession. The goalkeeper also made a block before the second fell nicely for Eugene Magee to fire into the roof. Despite the scoreline, YM were creating chances but not taking them and this was punished again in the 20th minute when Jonny McKee smashed in on his reverse for 3-0.
Cillian Hynes pulled one back from a baseline cross before the break to reduce the arrears to 3-1 at half-time. Magee restored the three-goal gap early in the second half when Bann kept alive a corner routine that had broken down.
Bann did miss a stroke with Bernsden saving well while Gabriel de Grandis and Ross Beattie took a yellow each for an off the ball incident. Hynes was felled for a YM stroke but it was missed too, Thom Ritchie not catching his effort and Luke Roleston saved comfortably.
Ritchie, David Rae, Aaron Bailey and McKee all spent time in the sin-bin before Andrew Jones got one back for YM in the closing minutes to make it 4-2.
Lisnagarvey 2 (M Nelson, T Chambers) Three Rock Rovers 0
Lisnagarvey continued their excellent run of form, making it four wins in succession as they got the better of Three Rock Rovers in a well contested battle at Comber Road.
It was very tight for the first quarter with Daniel Nelson drawing a brilliant save from Jamie Carr while Jody Hosking went close at the far end before the sides traded penalty corners.
Matthew Nelson broke the deadlock in the 47th minute with a goal from play. Rovers pushed on but could not get their corner machine into full gear with James Milliken saving twice.
Garvey, meanwhile, were more incisive and they got their clinching goal with 13 minutes to go with teenager Troy Chambers making it 2-0. The result lifts Lisnagarvey up to 22 points, keeping them just three points off the pace set by Banbridge and Glenanne.
Pembroke Wanderers 0 Glenanne 1 (B Venter)
Brad Venter’s 63rd minute goal was all that separated Glenanne and Pembroke as the visitors recorded their seventh win of the campaign, leading the men’s EYHL on goal difference.
In truth, the Glens had more than enough chances to put this game to bed much earlier but their penalty corner team misfired with nine set pieces going without return as Simon Thornton repelled chances from Jerome Saeys – who impressed throughout the tie – and Shannon Boucher.
Pembroke were dangerous on the counter and did force Iain Walker into a couple of strong saves while Stephen Brownlow took one off the line.
The goal came when Pembroke misplaced a pass over the left sideline which Sam O’Connor took quickly, flipping it into the D at knee-height where Venter batted in first time and they shut the game down from there.