(Pembroke won 3-1 on penalty strokes)
LISNAGARVEY went out of the Irish Senior Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday at Comber Road. They were beaten by Pembroke Wanderers only after 70 minutes, extra time and penalty strokes. The match ended normal time at 1-1 but the visitors kept their nerve better and scored from their three strokes as Garvey failed to convert three successive strokes to exit the competition.
This game was always going to be a hard task after the efforts Garvey put in last weekend when they qualified for the last 16 of the European Hockey League in East Grinstead.
Although they proved to be marginally superior in possession throughout the 70 minutes they lacked a cutting edge and when they could not convert their chances they were always walking the ‘narrow line’.
Garvey began strongly however; James Dowling had a shot in the 3rd minute which Pembroke keeper Mark Ingram did well to block and they also forced their first penalty corner in the 7th minute. Timmy Cockram’s drag flick was very well saved by Ingram and Pembroke immediately had their first raid on the Garvey circle which was repelled with some difficulty.
Cockram got a deflection on a cross from the left which the alert Ingram saved in the 15th minute while at the other end Garvey captain Jonny Bell almost deflected the ball into his own net after a dangerous Pembroke attack.
A great move in the 17th minute involving Brian Waring, Mark Raphael and Daniel Buser gave Johnny Quigley room on the right wing but his shot went past the post and Andy Forrest had a good chance in the 23rd minute but again was off target.
A slack piece of defending in the 27th minute gave Pembroke their first penalty corner and only a good defending on the goal line by Jonny Bell rescued his team as the ball was deflected for a long corner.
Andy Forrest had another chance before Garvey forced their second penalty corner in the 29th minute and this time Timmy Cockram beat Ingram with a well placed drag flick into the left hand side of the Pembroke net but this strike and late advantage lasted a very short time.
With just two minutes remaining in the half, Pembroke had a telling run on the left of the circle and helped by the umpire playing the advantage, the ball fell to Alan Southern who scored with his reverse stick, only two yards from goal.
The second half began with Pembroke grabbing the initiative and after just three minutes forced their second penalty corner but the resulting drag flick was easily dealt with by Garvey keeper John Tormey.
The visitors were now having their best period of pressure and Garvey did well to ‘weather the storm’ and soon replied with a good shot from Garvey’s best player, Daniel Buser which was saved by Ingram and in the 52nd minute Timmy Cockram’s third set piece effort was also blocked by the excellent Ingram.
Johnny Quigley showed his worth with a number of raids into the Pembroke defence down the right flank but Garvey could not create open chances even with their superior possession.
Greg Thompson was involved in a clash between himself and the Pembroke keeper in the 54th minute as the game became frantic in the search for the winning goal and in the 63rd minute Steven Arbuthnot was on hand to clear the ball off the line with Tormey beaten. A minute later Ingram made a fine save from a Timmy Cockram shot as time was running out for both teams to decide the match.
Quigley did the work for Garvey’s 4th penalty corner in the 68th minute but Ingram made a great diving save to bring the 70 minutes to an end and head for 10 minutes of extra time.
There was little to mention during this period but in the final minute Pembroke forced only their second penalty corner of the game but their drag flick went inches past the post and the dreaded penalty strokes were initiated to decide this tight affair.
Unfortunately, following Timmy Cockram’s opening successful stoke, Garvey ‘lost the plot’ and as Pembroke converted their opening three strokes, Steven Arbthnot, Greg Thompson and Peter MacDonnell, all missed and Pembroke progressed to the last 8 of the Irish Cup with a 3-1 win on penalty strokes.
Garvey now return to the Premier League with a rearranged fixture against Civil Service at Stormont on Saturday. They should find this a comfortable afternoon after the pressure of the last two weeks and should add three more points to their tally.