Late winner causes heartache for South

Action from the match between South Antrim and Belfast Harlequins US1116-413PM Pic by Paul Murphy
Action from the match between South Antrim and Belfast Harlequins US1116-413PM Pic by Paul Murphy

The final game of South Antrim’s season saw them host Belfast Harlequins in what they knew would be both an important game and tough one for the home side.

The game started quickly with both teams having chances to take the lead; Harlequins worked the ball into the circle only to have their deflection go narrowly wide.

South Antrim retaliated by winning a short corner which the Harlequins defence kept out of the net.

With both sides having periods of possession and pressure in the first half it was a testament to the two goal keepers for keeping the score level going into half time.

The second half began as ferociously as the first and again the two teams had opportunities to break the dead lock, however after a brief stint of resolute defending from South Antrim a counter attack was sprung and a short corner won in favour of the Lisburn team against the recent run of play.

The short corner was executed seamlessly and South Antrim took the lead courtesy of a deflection from Chris Henry.

This goal opened the game up for the last 25 minutes in what would turn out to be an excellent exhibition of hockey.

Harlequins didn’t let the goal quell their previous offensive pressure and they pushed forward once more to win a short corner of their own just minutes after South had gone 1-0 up.

The initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Ian Glass, however the rebound fell straight to a Harlequins’ stick in the circle where it was hit first time leaving the Lisburn defence unable to keep the ball out and once more the scores were level.

Both teams continued to cause problems for each other with short corners and shots at each end, however it would be the visitors who took the lead next.

Another short corner was awarded to Belfast Harlequins and the shot rifled into the bottom corner giving them a one goal advantage with around 15 minutes to go.

South Antrim were on the back foot and needed to come up with something to give themselves a chance.

As the clock ticked on it was the home team’s pace that Harlequins struggled to cope with.

Chris Henry, Paul Maguire and Ward Phillips all caused problems for the Belfast defence and managed to secure a couple of short corners which resulted in the ball striking a defender’s foot on its way into the net with a penalty stroke given to the home team and the prospect of an equaliser.

Adam Glass stepped up to take the stroke and placed the ball into the back of the net with just minutes left in the game.

South Antrim continued to put pressure on Harlequins, however a quick counter attack caught the disorganised defence out and left their keeper exposed to a two on one; this allowed the visitors to pass it around him and into the goal to seal their victory with less than two minutes left to play.

It was too late for the home side to score again and the game finished off 3-2 to Harlequins.