Lisnagarvey produced their best performance of the I.H.L. season when they defeated Three Rock Rovers by 4 goals to nil at Comber Road last Saturday.
The match was in some doubt due to an overnight snowfall but after great efforts, it went ahead and Garvey took full advantage with a slick display of fast hockey which saw their opponents struggle throughout the 60 minutes to keep in touch.
Garvey began the game at lightning pace with Sean Murray having a reverse shot saves by keeper Jamie Carr but after just two minutes took the lead; Timmy Cockram did the work down the right before Andy Williamson swept his cross into the net from very close range.
Three Rock forced a penalty corner in the 4th minute but the very fast shot went wide of the upright while Andy Williamson brought the best out of Carr in the 7th minute with a great save.
With 12 minutes gone in the opening quarter, Garvey introduced their latest signing when Michael Watt took the pitch.
Michael, multi capped Irish international, has been playing at Surbiton before moving back to Ulster. He immediately looked dangerous near the circle giving Daniel Buser a half chance which was saved by keeper Carr leaving the first quarter still at 1-0 to the home side.
Garvey gained their opening set piece in the 19th minute but the routine was slightly slow and the chance was wasted.
Andy Williamson also went close to scoring as Garvey were by far the dominant team always threatening to add a second goal and they only had to wait until the 26th minute for another great move to produce the strike.
Sean Murray did some great work on the right before supplying Andy Forrest with a chance he could not refuse sweeping the ball past Carr into the roof of the net.
Conor Empey had a reverse shot saved by Garvey keeper John Tormey in the 28th minute and their second penalty corner in the 29th minute went flashing past the post leaving Garvey well in command of the game at the half time interval.
The 32nd minute of a very fast encounter saw one of the best goals seen so far this season. James Lorimer delivered an overhead pass to Richard Arneil who moved the ball to Timmy Cockram on the right; he worked his way along the bye-line before slipping a pass to Daniel Buser who only had to tap the ball into an empty net.
Three goals ahead and playing super-fast passing hockey, Garvey totally deserved their fourth goal which was also a masterpiece.
This time Buser and Cockram combined to set up Andy Williamson for his second goal of the game which came in the 37th minute completely sealing the vital three points with the last quarter of the match still to come.
Garvey continued to work their way into the Rovers circle almost at will with further chances falling to the excellent Timmy Cockram and Sean Murray but it was Neil Glassey who came closest to adding goal number five when his shot was superbly saved by Carr in the 53rd minute.
The visitors had a last chance to score in the 57th minute but Garvey keeper Tormey was keen to keep a ‘clean sheet’ and he made a fine save from Freddie Morris leaving his team more than comfortable winners after a fine exhibition of hockey, a result which takes them four points clear of Monkstown and six ahead of Banbridge after those two teams played out a 1-1 draw.
The I.H.L. reaches the half way stage next week when Garvey travel to Railway Union to play the 9th game in the league programme. The opposition have recently been putting in good performances and currently lie in 5th place in the table.
The Dublin side are well known for their physical approach so Garvey will have to prepare themselves for a hard fought encounter.
They showed their best form last Saturday against Three Rock and if they are to top the league at half way they need another focussed performance at Park Avenue on Saturday. The game starts at 3.30 p.m.
The Garvey squad will still be without key players, Paul Gleghorne and Johnny Quigley, both will be out of action until the new year but with the signing of Michael Watt, the team is growing ever stronger in depth’ with a complete fit squad later in the season, Garvey should be well able to contend for the inaugural I.H.L. title.