Penalty strokes haunt South again

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Raphoe 2 South Antrim 2

(5-4 to Raphoe on penalty strokes)

South Antrim travelled to Donegal to face a Raphoe side for the third time in as many matches.

This time the occasion was the Quarter Final of the Irish Hockey Trophy - a competition South won in the 2010/11 season. Unfortunately, their successes were not to be repeated as after a gruelling 80 minutes of hockey, which ended 2-2, South bowed out of the tournament losing 5-4 on penalty strokes.

The game started brightly for the visitors with the South back four composed on the ball.

Ward Phillips was having an effective game on the left and after stealing the ball in Raphoe’s “25”, he combined well with Adam Glass who clinically dispatched the ball into the top right corner from a narrow angle.

Raphoe began to exert their presence more as the half wore on, and won two short corners; the first of which resulted in the hosts drawing level.

In the second half, Raphoe upped the ante to try and take a foothold in the game.

It was South that continued to carve out the better chances. Schoolboys Patric Cochrane and Adam Marshall proved to be an effective duo in midfield.

It wasn’t until ten minutes from time that South got their noses in front again. A well rehearsed short corner variation resulted in a stroke after Lee Marshall’s effort was cynically blocked on the line by foot. And it was young Cochrane who stepped up to the mark and fired the ball home.

The visitors thought they had the game won, but Raphoe had other ideas. A cross somehow evaded all South defenders and fell to Stephen Cleverly at the back post who duly slotted the ball home for a last gasp equaliser.

After extra-time, the score remained 2-2 and the game went to penalty strokes. As was the outcome in the Linden Cup Semi-final prior to Christmas, this lottery didn’t end well for South and the hosts progressed with a 5-4 penalty stroke victory.