Convicts’s late surge so cruel on Leopards
RATHONES OV Convicts booked a place in the Upton after retaining the Senior Cup at Les Quennevais on Saturday.
A 7-1 victory against JHC Leopards secured an inter-island club match against Guernsey Colombians next month. Yet there was no sign of what was a flattering victory for Jersey’s club champions at half time.
A well-balanced game turned around at 2-1 in Convicts’ favour, before the floodgates opened late on, resulting in the emphatic final scoreline.
Phil Cuming tapped home from close range to put Convicts ahead after just seven minutes, the opportunity coming after a well-worked move down their right ended in Sam Habin drilling the ball against the post, with Cuming following up to score.
Earlier, goalkeeper Andy Brown had produced a strong left-hand save to keep out Sam Dunstan’s rising goal-bound effort. After the opening goal Brown kept out Nick Ferraby’s forceful low shot with an outstretched boot.
Dunstan, who worked hard throughout, waltzed his way past three defenders only to squander the chance of an equaliser by narrowly missing the target.
Tom Millar, Reuben Gower and Peter Millar all had opportunities to extend Convicts’ lead, but chances went amiss at the opposite end as well.
Ferraby was thwarted by Brown and Gower and Dunstan were guilty of directing well-struck efforts just off target.
Bobby Minty made an excellent interception to prevent Dunstan going clear and the game continued to flow end-to-end, with Leopard’s defender Paul Frankham clearing Peter Millar’s shot off the goal-line.
Ferraby eventually levelled the scores when his rising dragflick from a short corner flew past the Convict’s back line.
Leopards’ celebrations, however, were quickly cut short after they conceded a short corner – and a goal. Peter Millar twisted and turned his way past several defenders and when his shot was blocked on the line Minty netted Convicts’ second from close range.
After the resumption, Leopard’s stopper John Beswick saved well from the Millar brothers before Brown made the save of the match, with his stick stretching to his right, to prevent a second Ferraby equaliser.
Both ’keepers made a further save apiece before Convicts went 3-1 up – captain Tom Millar touching on Peter Millar’s dragflick into the goal.
Leopards, who had won and drawn games with league champions Convicts this season, responded with a handful of efforts.
But Brown stood tall to keep out Bolton twice, and the same player was just off the mark with another effort, before Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel drilled the ball into Brown’s body, with the loose ball being cleared.
With ten minutes left it was still anyone’s game.
Convicts then moved up a gear and, as Leopards tried to push forward, punished them hard.
Peter Millar, at the heart of most of Convicts’ attacking moves, made it 4-1 after a tidy exchange of passes with Tom Millar at a short corner.
Just 60 seconds later it was 5-1 as Massimo Furness finished off a flowing move with a reverse stick flick. Further goals, from Gower and James O’Garra, completed the unlikely rout.
Convicts captain Tom Millar said: ‘It was a flattering final score and it does not show how close and intense it was for 50 minutes or so.
‘At 2-1 it could have gone either way and Andy Brown kept us in it with a terrific save with his stick from Nick Ferraby’s short corner.
‘Once we got our third from a short corner we kicked on.
‘The fourth killed it off and as they [Leopards] pushed forward they left a lot of space, resulting in us running away with it.
‘We deserved to win but I don’t think [7-1] was a true reflection of the game.
‘We were clinical in the last ten minutes when we capitalised on those areas of space.
‘Hockey is a game where a lot of goals are scored on the rebound.
‘John Beswick made a couple of excellent saves on the first shot, but we always seemed to be quickest to the rebound when the ’keeper was on the floor.’
Leopards skipper Jamie Bolton said: ‘We’re very disappointed with the final score, we were well in the game for a good 50 to 55 minutes of the 70 and I think their fourth goal killed us off.
‘We all just switched off then . . . stopped tracking players and working as a unit.
‘Convicts are a good side and if you stop playing then they are going to hurt you . . . and that’s what happened.
‘We played some really nice stuff for a good part of the game and we missed some good chances, myself included.
‘In the first half I thought we were the better team and we could have gone in leading at half time.
‘We had some really good chances but we were not clinical enough on the day.
‘Credit to OVs’ they put us to bed. They didn’t switch off and they made sure we couldn’t get back into the game.’
OV Convicts: Andy Brown, Bobby Minty, Richard White, Tom Millar, Peter Millar, Phil Cuming, Massimo Furness, Rueben Gower, James O’Garra, Mike James, Alex Bolton, Sam Habin, Matt Wilson and Nat Watkins.
Leopards: John Beswick, James Wetherall, Neil Merrit, Jamie Bolton, Harry Goss, Sam Dunstan, Ed Prow, Nick Ferraby, Jack Le Bihan, Ed Meredith, Paul Frankham, Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel.
Umpires: Ed Daubeney and Matt Cooper.