Lisnagarvey completed their Premier League home matches with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Instonians at Comber Road on Saturday.
The hosts made sure of a second place finish in the Ulster Premier Leagye but had to recover from a 2-0 deficit early in the second half to do it.
Playing without skipper Jonny Bell due to illness but welcoming back Richard Arneill, an undistinguished display was salvaged by three late goals.
Only two minutes had gone before Garvey forced their opening penalty corner but it was saved by the Inst keeper as was the next set piece just seconds later. Inst responded with a half chance of their own in the sixth minute but Garvey came closest to scoring in the eighth when a great left wing cross by Sean Murray went untouched in front of goal.
A third penalty corner in the 14th minute was again well saved by the Inst goalkeeper and Johnny Quigley supplied Andy Williamson with a measured ball but the striker’s shot went wide of the target.
Another set piece was forced by Garvey as they had the bulk of the possession but after a switch, the shot again went wide of the Instonians goal.
In the 29th minute, Garvey did have the ball in the net only to have the goal disallowed. Timmy Cockram ended the first half with a missed opportunity and Inst also had a goal written off just on the stroke of the half time whistle leaving the game disappointingly scoreless.
Garvey continued to control play without the reward of the vital goal and after Cockram and Murray had come close to breaking the stalemate, Instonians shocked the home side with a goal from a break away down the right flank. The move was completed by John Watson beating John Tormey low to his left giving the visitors a surprise lead in the 42nd minute.
Daniel Buser had a good run in the 44th minute which ended with the midfielder shooting over the bar with a number of Garvey players better placed to score. Seconds later, however, Instonians again broke down the right and ex Garvey player Stuart McNiece slotted their second goal much to the of irritation of both home players and supporters alike.
A fifth Garvey penalty corner went unrewarded in the 49th minute but they immediately got themselves on the score sheet with an opening goal. Sean Murray did the work down the left before Andy Williamson finished the move with an excellent deflection.
Two minutes later Garvey brought the game back to parity with a very well-placed penalty corner drag flick from James Lorimer and Peter MacDonnell had the chance a minute later to give Garvey the lead but shot into the side netting from a narrow angle.
Andy Forrest shot over the cross bar in the 56th minute as Garvey pushed for the winning goal and Jason Lynch and Daniel Buser also went close before James Lorimer saved Garvey’s blushes with a very well executed penalty corner in the 66th minute.
Some hesitant defending late in the game gave the visitors two chances to grab an equaliser but Garvey held on to record yet another league win and maintain second place after five point leaders Banbridge.