Easts go down fighting
A DETERMINED Coraki defeated an unlucky East Lismore 3-2 in the Far North Coast A-grade men's hockey preliminary final on Saturday and will go on to play Star in the grand final.
Coraki had the ascendancy early and Easts did well to hold them. Their positional play and possession was first class and their attack relentless.
When East Lismore did make some raids Corey Thomas and Chris Morgan broke them down.
After 14 minutes David Brown made his way into the circle from the right side and found an unmarked Adrian McGrath on the left who made no mistake.
Easts rallied and put it to Coraki for the next 10 minutes as the game evened out.
Ryan Holding and Michael Broadbent set up most of Easts' play but the connection was not there.
As the half closed Ben Moss made a break from beyond the 25-yard line, beat two defenders and laid off to Scott Gallagher, who eliminated a defender and put it back to Moss at the seven for Coraki to go up 2-0.
Two minutes into the second half the game was stopped due to an injury to Coraki's Mitch Dunstan but after treatment he was able to stay on the field.
Holding for Easts continued to try to lift his team with guts and determination.
Jordan Ryan in goals for Coraki made two great saves from penalty corners, but Easts were looking good.
Marcus Currie finished off a play and opened Easts' account with 14 minutes to go but things went downhill just after that when Chris Clark was suspended for 10 minutes, although most observers wondered why.
With 10 to go Daniel Hughes hit what looked a certain equaliser, but Ryan again denied Easts.
When all seemed lost and with 10 men Dan Riley defied the odds and scored a brilliant goal to tie things up with five minutes left.
But with just two minutes left Mitch Dunstan found McGrath in space to drive in the winning goal for Coraki.
Easts had a chance with a penalty corner after the full-time hooter but could not convert.
Best for Coraki were Ryan, Moss, Mitchell Scotcher and Trent Brown, while for Easts, Holding, Currie, Jason Rodda, Dan Riley and Jamie Hetherington were the pick.
Other preliminary finals:
Reserve grade: Coraki 5 d East Lismore 3
B-grade: North Lismore 2 d East Lismore 1
C-grade: Ballina 5 d Northern Star 4