Ernst and Young Irish Hockey League Round 2
Lisnagarvey 2 Monkstown 5
Following their fine win over Pembroke in Dublin, Garvey were beaten convincingly by Irish champions, Monkstown at Comber Road.
They lost by the large margin of 5 goals to 2 but the score-line did not fully reflect the game as Garvey gave away two sloppy goals and failed to convert a penalty stroke at a crucial time in the match.
However, they got an early idea of how potent the Monkstown attack could be after Garvey forced two penalty corners in the 2nd minute; both were poorly executed and the chance to take the lead was wasted.
A minute later they were far from convincing with their marking as the break on the left led to indecision and Andy Ward took advantage ,scoring from close range with the defence in some disarray.
Monkstown continued to impress with their sharp breaks and in the 10th minute they again penetrated the Garvey circle only for Robbie Campbell to shoot past the post when well placed.
Daniel Nelson had a half chance to pull a goal back in the 12th minute as Garvey eased into the game but the danger was cleared by the Monkstown keeper Lee Cole while Sean Murray also had a chance to equalise but could not get in a telling shot.
The first quarter ended with the single goal advantage still remaining with the IHL champions.
The 23rd minute saw more trouble for Garvey as they were gain down their left flank and Peter Carruth worked his way along the bye-line to give Gareth Watkins the easy task of slipping the ball home for goal number two giving Garvey a real mountain to climb.
The visitors were totally in charge of the game at this point finding space on the wings and looking as if they had a man to spare when it was necessary.
This was demonstrated in the 31st minute when following a rocket free hit into the Garvey circle, Kyle Good got a touch on the ball to score the third and crucial score of the game.
That action was the last of the first half which saw Monkstown ahead by three goals to nil and fully deserving their lead as Garvey had struggled to keep pace with the slick Dublin outfit.
The second half began with another Monkstown attack which led to a fine save with the hand by John Tormey and in the 36th minute Watkins had a goal scoring attempt foiled by Paul Gleghorne.
Garvey, at last got themselves into the match in the 43rd minute when a very well worked penalty corner led to Andy Williamson scoring after a clever Timmy Cockram switch in mid circle.
The strike immediately galvanised Garvey into action and after Monkstown had come close with a Andy Carson effort Garvey’s 4th set piece eventually led to their second goal.
The corner routine was almost wasted with a mis-struck push-out but the ball finished at the stick of Steven Arbuthnot who slotted it home from a few metres to bring his team back into the match with a vengeance.
However, Monkstown responded immediately with the goal of the game; a high left wing cross was smacked into the net by an Andy Ward overhead shot of immense skill leaving Garvey somewhat stunned and again trailing by a two goal margin with time running out on the clock.
That goal had come in the 45th minute and just two minutes later following Garvey’s 5th corner, they were awarded a penalty stroke only for James Lorimer to completely ‘fluff’ his flick and make the save simple for Cole in the Monkstown goal.
Having come so close to setting up a grand-stand finish Garvey were caught napping just a few minutes later when after a lightning break, Kyle Good completed the rout with Monkstown’s fifth and final goal of the afternoon leaving them convincing winners by 5 goals to 2 and fully confirming their number one status in the I.H.L.
Garvey have only themselves to blame for the defeat as they took too long to get into the game; indeed they only really competed when they were three goals adrift and they will have to approach their next game against Banbridge with a more positive attitude if they are to grab even a vital point at Havelock Park.
Hopefully, the squad will be strengthened by the return of captain Jonny Bell who was sorely missed against Monkstown where his positional sense in defence would have provided more solidity.
Banbridge have got off to a good start with two successive wins over Annadale and Railway Union but the clash between the old rivals could produce a very close and intense encounter.
It starts at the later time of 5-00 p.m. on Saturday at Havelock Park.