Close marking works for A'ville

CLOSE marking of key players by Alstonville prevented Coraki playing their open and flowing game in Far North Coast A-grade men’s hockey at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday, with the game finishing in a 2-all draw.

It was the same scoreline between Northern Star and East Lismore.

Alstonville were a different side from last round and frustrated Coraki by continually breaking down their plays.

The first half was even with two penalty corners apiece.

A mistake by the Alstonville defence 17 minutes in left Coraki’s Ben Moss with a direct shot one-on-one with goalkeeper Todd Seymour and he made no mistake.

Mitch Harley scored a field goal on the 22-minute mark after the Alstonville defence broke down a Coraki penalty corner.

Immediately after, Mitchell Scotcher picked up a pass from an unmarked David Brown to put Coraki ahead 2-1.

Alex McKendrick brought the red-soilers level when he converted their second penalty corner just before half-time.

Neither side really penetrated in the second half– there were plenty of raids but no result.

Coraki piled on the pressure near the end but Seymour in goals was brilliantin denying them.

The Mid-Richmond men had six penalty corners to Alstonville’s two in the second half – three of those in the 34th minute – but they could not get past Seymour.

Beohm and Harvey also had good games for Alstonville, while Morgan, Ward and Simon Brown – back from injury and having only his fifth game of the season – did best for Coraki.

East Lismore had a chance to get the points in the dying moments against Northern Star but Aaron Head’s brilliance in goals prevented that happening.

Star dominated possession in the first half but could not get on the scoreboard.

The East Lismore defence was at its best and it continually denied Star.

Likewise, Star kept the Easts attack at bay and the teams went to the break nil-all.

It was the 46th minute before the first goal came, with a solo effort from Thomas Vantaggiato finding the net for Northern Star.

Almost immediately Daniel Hughes converted a penalty corner for Easts to tie things up again.

The goal-hungry Mitch Carter displayed more brilliance in a raid on Easts’ circle and made a precision pass to allow Simon Wallace to give Star the lead with 10 minutes to go.

In the final two minutes Dan Riley scored for Easts off a fantastic back-stick shot a metre from the back line, leaving Head with no chance.

In the final seconds Riley hit what appeared to be the match-winning shot but Head made the save of the season to hang on to the draw.

In a fast game, both sides showed they have what it takes to go all the way in this competition.

Best for Star were Darryl Hughes, James Harmon and Aaron Head; and for East Lismore, Chris Clark, Ryan Holding and Luke Kelso.

Scores from other FNC games at the weekend:

Reserve grade: East Lismore d Ballina 5-1, North Lismore drew with Northern Star 3-all, Coraki d Alstonville.

B-grade: East Lismore drew with Alstonville 3-all, Ballina d Northern Star 3-2, Coraki d North Lismore 5-2.

C-grade: Northern Star drew with Alstonville 3-all.

Apologies to Isaac Layton (Alstonville) and Matt Scurr (Coraki) after naming their brothers on Saturday in relation to making the State Under-13 trials.

Unfortunately neither boy made the team, but being selected in the squad was still a fine achievement.

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