Nelson to the rescue as Garvey go 11 points clear

Mandatory Credit:  Rowland White/PressEye Men's Hockey: Irish Senior Cup Semi-Final Teams: Lisnagarvey (blue) v Three Rock Rovers (L blue/brown) Venue: Lisnagarvey Date: 27th February 2016 Caption: Harry Morris, Three Rock and Matthew Nelson, Lisnagarvey
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye Men's Hockey: Irish Senior Cup Semi-Final Teams: Lisnagarvey (blue) v Three Rock Rovers (L blue/brown) Venue: Lisnagarvey Date: 27th February 2016 Caption: Harry Morris, Three Rock and Matthew Nelson, Lisnagarvey

It is becoming a habit for 17 year old Matthew Nelson to rescue Garvey at the last ditch.

Last week he grabbed the vital equaliser against Three Rock Rovers, and on Saturday he slotted home the winner in the latest round of the EYHL against Cork Church of Ireland at Comber Road.

His opportunism took Garvey to the Irish Senior Cup final and another win in the EYHL. Garvey now lead the league table by a handsome eleven points with just five games remaining in the programme.

Their lead was extended due to Monkstown only managing a 1-1 with Three Rock Rovers.

Saturday’s match was a great anti-climax after the two great encounters against Rovers, with Garvey struggling to find their cohesion and letting the visitors lead the game for quite a long period.

Playing without the injured Mikey Watt and a sick Neil Glassey, Garvey were again sluggish at the start of the game and could only boast a reverse shot in the 4th minute by Timmy Cockram which went past the upright.

It was still a surprise when Paul Gleghorne faulted at the back and gave away Cork’s opening penalty corner in the 7th minute from which the excellent John Jermyn slotted past John Tormey with a drag flick almost down the middle of the Garvey goal.

There was little action in the remainder of the first quarter with the only threat by Garvey coming from the stick of Daniel Buser who brought out a save from Cork’s goalkeeper Billy Lynch in the 13th minute.

The game was not of the same quality as recently with a lot of the play being confined to the midfield with a distinct absence of chances for either team.

Cork did have a quick break in the 20th minute but there was no one on the end of the left wing cross from Alex Burns. Garvey also had only a single chance in the second quarter when a shot from Sean Murray struck Matthew Nelson on its way to the goal and was eventually cleared.

The half time score remained at 1-0 to the Munster men with Garvey trying hard to create an equaliser.

Cork did force another penalty corner in the 33rd minute but having put the ball into the Garvey net the goal was disallowed for an infringement round the top of the circle and the home side were relieved at the decision.

Gradually Garvey began to raise the tempo of their game and Peter MacDonnell’s fine run ended with Sean Murray guiding the ball past Lynch for the vital equaliser in the 40th minute.

A minute later Lynch was again in the thick of the action with a timely interception at the edge of his circle and the third quarter was completed with the game at 1-1.

The final quarter proved to be by far the best of the match with Garvey, at last showing their ability with a great sweeping move down the right which saw Daniel Buser provide Timmy Cockram with a fine square pass and the scoring chance which he accepted with some class.

Suddenly, Garvey were leading the game but it only lasted a few minutes because from Cork’s 3rd penalty corner Stephen Sweetman converted a rebound and with just 6 minutes left Garvey were on the brink of losing their eleven match winning streak.

However, once again the young Wallace High Schoolboy, Matthew Nelson came up with the crucial strike with just four minutes remaining. The early work was done by Richard Arneill on the right before Matthew found some space to slip the ball past keeper Lynch to grab a win from a match which they certainly did not control, with a number of Garvey players looking somewhat jaded at this vital stage of the season.

A number of the Garvey squad are heavily involved in the Ireland build-up to the Olympics and are therefore playing and training non-stop before they leave for Brazil in July.

This week, Garvey face Pembroke in their 14th EYHL match at Comber Road. With an eleven point lead over Monkstown, they will be hoping to close in on the title with yet another win. However, visitors Pembroke could well have other ideas. They recorded a fine 2-2 draw with Banbridge last Saturday and gave Garvey a very difficult game in Dublin back in September; the result that day at Serpentine Avenue was 3-2 in favour of Garvey and another tight encounter is expected.

Garvey hope to have Neil Glassey back in the team for the game which starts at 3pm.