Loughborough Students fightback leaves nailbiting end to the season

[img_assist|nid=7464|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=94|height=100]ENGLAND, March 17 – Trailing 4-1 at half time, Loughborough Students battled back in style to salvage a point from a 6-6 draw with Reading in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

Reading dropped to fourth in the table on the back of the result, and their place in the end of season play-offs will only be decided with their last match of the normal season.

The visitors had powered to a 4-1 advantage at half time after goals from Darren Cheesman, Simon Mantell, Tom Carson and Chris Cargo.

But Loughborough came back at them in the second half, hitting five goals in 17 minutes. Still, it looked as though Reading had done enough after Harry Shearer tucked the ball away to make it 6-5 after 64 minutes.

But in the final seconds of the match, Ian Sloan popped up to smash a shot home from a penalty corner and salvage a draw.

Loughborough’s earlier scorers were Simon Faulkner, Dom Bowdon, Owain Dolan Gray, Chris Griffiths and Henry Weir (pictured).

Brooklands Manchester University visited Beeston and caused the league leaders a few problems, although they eventually went down 5-3.

David Flanagan cancelled out Simon Egerton’s opener for Brooklands before an own goal on 31 minutes gave them the lead.

But Beeston ultimately had too much firepower for their opponents as they shot their way to yet another victory.

Ben Allberry grabbed a late winner for Canterbury as they faced Southgate. Goals from Liam Foster and Kwan Browne put them 2-1 up at half time but a dogged Southgate stayed with them until Allberry scored two minutes from the end.

East Grinstead and Cannock were both in contention for a play-off place before they played each other and it was East Grinstead who emerged victorious after Mark Pearn’s late goal gave the hosts a 3-2 win.

They are now level on points with fourth-placed Reading going into the final game, but Cannock could still force their way in to the top four.

A James Tindall brace eased Surbiton to a 3-1 win over Hampstead and Westminster and all but secured their place in the play-offs.

In the Conference North Sheffield Hallam kept their hopes of promotion alive by beating league leaders Bowdon 1-2.

Bowdon were a goal up after 22 minutes but Phil Roper pegged them back. Then, on 61 minutes, the turning point of the game came as Sheffield keeper Mike Cachia saved Russell Hornby’s penalty stroke. Adam Harriman went on to score the winner for Hallam shortly after.

In the Conference East, Wimbledon beat Bromley and Beckenham 7-2 win courtesy of a Ben Hawes hat-trick. They will continue to fight it out with Holcombe for top spot.

And in the Conference West, University of Birmingham won 8-0 over Bristol Firebrands. Matt Pacey and Richard Mantell hit a brace each.


 Men’s Hockey League (March 16 2013):

Premier Division: Canterbury 3, Southgate 2; Loughborough Students 6, Reading 6; Surbiton 3, Hampstead and Westminster 1; Beeston 5, Brooklands MU 3; East Grinstead 3, Cannock 2.

Conference East: Cambridge City 2, Oxted 2; City of Peterborough 2, Teddington 3; Bromley and Beckenham 2, Wimbledon 7; Indian Gymkhana 3, Old Loughtonians 3; Holcombe 8, Richmond 2.

Conference North: University of Durham 3, Belper 1; Preston 3, Khalsa 6; Olton and West Warwickshire 4, Wakefield 0; Bowdon 1, Sheffield Hallam 2; Doncaster 4, Leek 0.

Conference West: Team Bath Buccaneers 5, Whitchurch 0; Cheltenham 2, Fareham 0; Cardiff and UWIC 2, Guildford 0; Havant 1, University of Exeter 4; University of Birmingham 8, Bristol Firebrands 0.