Big finish wins it for Star
NORTHERN Star will play in their fourth consecutive Far North Coast A-grade men’s hockey grand final after defeating Coraki 5-3 in the major semi at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday.
The game was tough and fast from the outset.
Coraki opened the scoring after five minutes when Ben Moss converted their first penalty corner.
Star equalised at the 17th minute mark when Ash Waring scored from the top of the circle.
Then, when Matt Harmon put Star in front, Coraki appeared a little rattled.
Star took control for the rest of the half but failed to convert numerous opportunities.
Four minutes into the second half Zach Clark brought Coraki level with a mature finish to a penalty corner when, from the right post, he neatly put the ball into the back of the net offa Ben Moss shot.
Six minutes later Clark was at it again when he took a shot which Aaron Head saved but then nailed the rebound like a veteran.
Star brought the game alive when Harmon created a penalty stroke opportunity and Thomas Vantaggiato made no mistake, levelling the scores with 20 minutesto go.
Almost immediately Harmon created a one-on-one with goalkeeper Ryan and another stroke was awarded, which Vantaggiato again put away in fine style.
Star went two up with 14 minutes left when Waring gave the perfect pass for Mitch Carter to score.
Coraki threw everything at Star and only for Head in goals they would have pegged back at least one goal, if not two.
But the minor premiers kept their composure.
Harmon, Head and Vantaggiato were Star’s best, while for Coraki Ben Ward, Chris Morgan and Trent Brown played well.
The minor semi-final between Alstonville and East Lismore could have gone either way.
As it turned out, Daniel Hughes converted a penalty corner in the final five minutes to secure a 2-1 win and a crack at Coraki in the preliminary final.
Both sides failed to capitalise on their opportunities until 15 minutes to go when Marcus Currie put Easts in front with a solid shot from the top of the circle.
Alstonville levelled four minutes later with a drag flick conversion of a penalty corner to Heath Edwards, and extra time and a drop-off looked on the cards.
However Hughes, who has found form at the right end of the season, came up with the decisive goal.
Hughes, Holding, Jason Rodd and Matt Rodda did well for Easts, while Alstonville’s best were McKendrick, Edwards and Seymour.