Guernsey Press

Guernsey knocked out by cruel late blow

GUERNSEY suffered an agonising late defeat on Saturday after matching one of the biggest clubs in England hockey throughout a pulsating national knockout clash at Footes Lane.

Zak Damarell attempts to block as an East Grinstead opponent plays the ball forward on Saturday at Footes Lane. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32979144)

The home side were two goals to the good at half-time thanks to a couple of Matt Stokes drag flicks, but East Grinstead Seconds replied in kind after the turnaround, with Keith Turner scoring a hat-trick from penalty-corners, landing the knockout blow two minutes from time in a 3-2 win.

‘We played really, really well, and we’ve got to take the positives from that,’ said Guernsey coach Ed Benfield.

‘I felt we lost our way for a crucial 10-15 minutes in the second half, which they ultimately capitalised on, but we created enough chances to win the game, unfortunately.’

He added that his message at half-time was simply more of the same after seeing his side move the ball quickly and use the wide spaces in the first half ton continue creating chances.

However, Guernsey knew they would be running the risk of giving their visitors a way back into the game if they conceded short-corners and so it proved.

‘We spoke a lot about that before the game, about not letting them have those chances, those short-corner chances, but it wasn’t quite to be in the second half,’ Benfield said.

While understandably disappointed at the final whistle, the Guernsey coach was also a proud man.

‘To go toe to toe with them for 68 minutes, it shows how far we’ve come over the last few months.

‘So things are looking positive, although it’s difficult to say that after a defeat,’ he said.

• Match report in Monday's Guernsey Press.