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Cookstown v Annadale - Match Report

Cookstown suffered a 4-1 defeat at Steelweld Park at the hands of Ulster rivals Annadale in round four of the EY Hockey League on Saturday. 

They were not helped with injuries - both Greg Allen and Mark Crooks limped off with leg problems just after half time - but in truth it was at times an error-strewn showing by the Reds.

The Dale were off the mark fast from the start and forced a penalty corner inside 90 seconds after good work down the right by David Tremlett but Josh McCabe was equal to Rhiley Carr's flick. Dale quickly forced another three long corners as they continued to press home their early advantage, but David Smyth had to be quick off the mark as Johnny Ames pinched the ball in the midfield and tried to send Greg Allen clear.

Allen went close on 12 minutes, beating two defenders to open up the chance, and Michael Kerr twice got into good positions without troubling Johnny Moore in the Annadale goal.

With the end of the quarter approaching, Annadale took the lead after Tremlett nicked the ball and drove into the circle to win a penalty corner, Aussie signing Carr sending the ball high into the net to make it 1-0.

They were quick into the game in the second quarter, winning two penalty corners which Cookstown were able to clear and then Josh McCabe made a great stop as former Reds player Troy Chambers ran clear. Cookstown were twice down to ten men as Paul Thompson and Dan Crooks were sin-binned but they also started to come back into the game.

Michael Kerr volleyed the ball over the bar after smashing work down the right hand side by his younger brother, Danny.  Ryan Millar was also left disappointed when he sprinted clear from a brilliant Keith Black pass.

The Reds again found themselves down to ten men when Stuart Smyth made a stick tackle 10 seconds into the second half and he had only just stepped back on the pitch when Tremlett extended Annadale's lead after good work down the byline by Conor Roberts.

The rest of the third quarter was all Cookstown. Greg Allen hit the side-netting after four minutes after a brilliant run by Stuart Smyth and then three minutes later, Smyth's set-piece strike was stopped by Moore.

Ames had a deflection which drifted just wide but the Reds finally got back in the game through a penalty corner which was both won and converted by Stuart Smyth. The game changed 30 seconds into the final quarter when Cookstown, under no pressure, had a pass around the back intercepted by Peter Caruth. and the Annadale and Ireland striker raced clear and despite the best efforts of McCabe, his shot dribbled over the line to make it 3-1.

Cookstown kept pushing with Ames going close from a broken down short corner, but most of the action was in the middle of the pitch with Annadale putting together a number of important tackles. With time running out, Annadale made the points secure with three minutes remaining when from a set-piece, Carr converted, powering the ball high into the net to wrap up the win.

Stanley Best Estate Agents' MVP: Fergus Gibson, Annadale.

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