Exiles see off Cheshunt challenge to put promotion within their grasp
Exiles 5 Cheshunt 1 East League Division 4SW Exiles travelled to their nearest rivals in the league knowing that a win would make promotion almost certain, especially as leaders Potters Bar were playing fourth placed Broxbourne II at the same time. With a
Exiles 5 Cheshunt 1
East League Division 4SW
Exiles travelled to their nearest rivals in the league knowing that a win would make promotion almost certain, especially as leaders Potters Bar were playing fourth placed Broxbourne II at the same time.
With a full strength squad all making the trip, Exiles knew that if they played at the level from the previous week they would come out second best, as Cheshunt came into the game in good form.
Exiles blasted out of the blocks from the first whistle and were 1-0 ahead after just a couple minutes. With Exiles wingers having acres of room, the ball was played into the D and Simon White made no mistake. Exiles doubled the lead minutes later when more quick decisive passing sliced open the Cheshunt defence and Jon Freedman found the back of the net.
Exiles were on top, but from the restart Cheshunt were given a succession of penalty corners. The first two were direct hit at goal which gave Jerry Fretter no trouble, however, the third penalty was slipped to the side and despite a valiant effort on the line, the ball found the Exiles net.
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The fast, true surface made for some good, fast hockey from two well matched teams. Exiles looked likely to score on every attack, but Cheshunt were also quick to break when they got the chance. Exiles had a number of penalty corners of their own, but could not find their target.
Despite chances at both ends the teams turned round at half time with Exiles holding a slender 2-1 lead.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first as a quick 16 metre hit was played out to James and on to Black who hit a long cross field pass to Cowan.
Cowan beat his defender to play the ball to White who rounded the 'keeper to give the Exiles a 3-1 lead.
A few minutes later Exiles increased the lead further when White rounded the 'keeper again and with the goal at his mercy he was fouled by the 'keeper's stick. The umpire had no choice but to give a penalty stroke, but was rather lenient with only a green card for the 'keeper. Captain Lister made no mistake from the spot, firing low and hard giving the diving 'keeper no chance.
Mid-way through the second half, Cheshunt pulled a goal back when an initial error by Nick James was punished with a penalty corner. Despite frustrating the first effort, the ball broke to the edge of the D to a Cheshunt forward who stuck towards goal, a shot which Jerry Fretter had covered and prepared to kick away. However, James thought otherwise and stabbed the ball into his own net.
With time running out, Exiles scored a fifth when the lively Cowan found himself completely free and one-on-one with the Cheshunt 'keeper. He made no mistake from five yards. This made up for a comedy classic moment when striking the ball at goal, swung himself off his feet and ended up flat on his face with the ball trickling over the goal line.
Exiles were now safe and were even able to play some time wasting hockey in the Cheshunt corners, with particularly deft play from Black. With the umpires whistle in his mouth Exiles had a hit away, which went directly to a Cheshunt forward, who smashed to ball, with some anger, low into the net. It was only a consolation, as the Umpires brought a good game of hockey to a close.
News that Potters Bar also won means that unless East League promotion rules are altered, the Exiles have secured promotion to 3SW next season with four games to spare. Next week they have a 10.30am start at Clarence Park against Stevenage, before a Championship decider with Potters Bar the week after.
Exiles: Fretter, Dorsett, O'Toole, Winter, James, Cowan, Freedman, Lister (Capt), Dill, Jones, White, Black, Bird