On Saturday evening, Lisnagarvey found themselves on top of the Irish Hockey League when having defeated Annadale by 3 goals to 1 they heard that leaders Monkstown had been beaten at Glenanne.
The game against bottom team in the I.H.L., Annadale was played in atrocious conditions, gale force wind and non-stop rain made things extremely difficult for the players throughout the 60 minutes.
However, they produced a good exhibition of fast hockey with the 3-1 result being well earned by the home side.
Garvey could not have had a better start as they scored from their first raid into the Annadale circle.
Daniel Buser did the work down the right flank before passing to the unmarked Sean Murray at the left hand post and he only had to sweep the ball into an empty net.
Annadale, to their credit, did not flinch and six minutes later after a good move down the centre of the pitch, Michael Robson shot past Garvey keeper John Tormey to bring the game to parity at 1-1.
Garvey immediately responded with a good passage of play, controlling the mid field and their pressure was rewarded in the 10th minute when Garvey’s first penalty corner was converted by Timmy Cockram low past keeper Moore to his left.
A second set piece came in the last minute of the opening quarter but it was wasted and the score remained at 2-1 after 15 minutes.
Annadale had a chance just after the restart but no one could get on the end of a Robson cross while two minutes later Garvey’s second penalty corner was cleared off the goal-line by David Smyth with Moore beaten.
The 23rd minute saw a half chance for Annadale which resulted in their first set piece from which they had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for reasons unclear.
With time running out in the first half, Garvey keeper John Tormey had to make a good save from Chris Campbell to maintain Garvey’s slender 2-1 lead at the interval.
Ex Irish international David Smyth again came to his team’s rescue in the 32nd minute when he took another Cockram penalty corner drag flick off the goal-line as Garvey were growing in command of possession but the stubborn Annadale defence and non-stop running by their young side made it difficult for the Garvey attackers.
Annadale had a sharp chance repelled by Tormey in the 27th minute while Ryan Getty saw Johnny Moore clear his shot at the other end a minute later. Andy Williamson and Timmy Cockram created two chances to put Garvey further ahead but both were off target.
Sean Murray and Daniel Buser also had chances blocked by the Annadale defence marshalled by David Smyth and their resilience was rewarded when they forced two penalty corners in the 54th and 56th minutes but both were well dealt with by keeper John Tormey.
Garvey replied with the ‘killer goal’ in the 59th minute when Timmy Cockram flashed a penalty corner drag flick past the Moore who could not move to make a save such was the pace on the ball.
A 5th corner for Garvey was saved by Moore and in the dying seconds Annadale had their last chance to score but put their 3rd penalty corner past the post leaving Garvey deserved winners by 3 goals to 1 and after the news from Glennane, league leaders for the first time this season.
This week, Garvey entertain Three Rock Rovers to Comber Road for round 8 of the I.H.L. matches between the two sides have been few lately but the Dublin team come with a more than fair record in the league this season.
They lie in 4th position having just beaten contenders Cork Church of Ireland last Saturday and had two top quality draws against Banbridge and Monkstown.
Both these games were 0-0 affairs which must indicate that Three Rock have a very resilient defence which Garvey will have to penetrate.
However, the home side will have gained a lot of confidence after their fine run of results which sees them top the I.H..L. table by two points from Monkstown.
The game tomorrow afternoon should be of high quality with little between the teams and again the penalty corner count could well swing the result. Two goals from Timmy Cockram last Saturday proves he is in form to snatch the vital points for Garvey.