Garvey reclaim second place with fine home win

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Lisnagarvey 6 Belfast Harlequins 4

Lisnagarvey regained second place in the Ulster Premier League with a 6-4 win over Belfast Harlequins at Comber Road last Saturday.

However, the method of their win was somewhat debatable as they squandered a 5-1 lead to concede four goals in a nightmare second half.

They lost that second period 4-2 against a stubborn team which could not believe its luck at Garvey’s poor defending.

Perhaps the loss of both Johnny Bell and James Lorimer from the heart of the defence could explain the fragility at the back as their substitutes could not cope with the Harlequins assault.

Garvey took just two minutes to get on the score-sheet when their first Timmy Cockram penalty corner was first saved by goalkeeper Kelly only for Andy Forrest to tap home the rebound.

A number of scoring chances were created by Cockram, Forrest and Andy Williamson during the next ten minutes but it took a well directed second penalty corner by Cockram in the 14th minute to stretch the lead to 2-0.

This was very quickly added to by Daniel Nelson who neatly deflected an Andy Williamson pass into the Harlequins circle in the 17th minute as Garvey seemed to be able to penetrate the area almost at will.

At the other end of the pitch, Garvey goalkeeper, John Tormey had been totally inactive until the 21st minute when he brought off a superb stick save at full length from Harlequin’s first effort on goal.

In the 24th minute Daniel Buser combined with Steven Arbuthnot on the left before supplying Jason Lynch with a scoring chance which he took with a crisp reverse stick shot to give his team a well deserved 4-0 lead but a minute later Tormey had to make another good block to maintain this four goal advantage at the half time interval.

Harlequins began the second half with much more purpose and took full advantage of some sloppy Garvey defending to pull a Neil Anderson goal back in the 44th minute and this was the pattern of the second half apart from a fifth goal scored by Andy Forrest after a lightning quick break by Timmy Cockram.

With the score line at 5-1 and then 6-1 through Sean Murray, the Garvey defence totally ‘went to sleep’ conceding no less than three goals in a disastrous 15 minute period. The Garvey defence simply could not organise itself against a Harlequins team which sniffed indecision and hard as keeper John Tormey tried the defenders in front of him crumbled letting in first Robyn Quigley and Chris Lemon for two strikes to take the score to 6-3 in the 60th minute.

Things went from bad to worse when James Hutchinson scored from a rebound at Harlequins second penalty corner of the match in the 65th minute to leave Garvey in tatters at the back but able to come away with a valuable 6-4 win which leaves them still five points behind League leaders Banbridge with six games to be played including their old rivals in their last match at Havelock Park.

Garvey’s next match is against Annadale at Lough Moss on Saturday (2.30pm) and is the first of a series of more difficult games over the coming weeks. Coach Errol Lutton has a lot of work to do on his young defence if Garvey are to continue their winning sequence and at least keep pressure on Banbridge.

After Saturday, the next games are against Cookstown at home on Thursday 12th March, Annadale on Tuesday 17th March also at home.