HOCKEY: Raphoe come close, but fail to return anything from opening league away trip

HOCKEY: Raphoe come close, but fail to return anything from opening league away trip

Mossley 3 - 2 Raphoe
(S. Goudie 34, T. Orr 51)

The opening fixture of the Ulster Premier League saw Raphoe go to Newtownabbey to face Mossley hockey club. Mossley finished seven places better off than Raphoe last season so it was an opportunity to test this season's team league credentials.
In the first quarter of the match Mossley dominated possession. The Belfast side came close on a few occasion with Raphoe demonstrating some last ditch defending but struggled to maintain possession on the fast water-based surface.
The pressure resulted with Mossley going in front at the end of the quarter when the forward turned sharply in the D and flicked into the corne. From a rare period of possession, Adrian Crumley came close for Raphoe, but was denied by a diving save from Mossley's keeper.
Raphoe enjoyed more possession in the second quarter. With the Donegal side finally able to retain possession pressure grew against the home defence. In the final minute of the quarter, John Watt won a penalty corner for Raphoe. Simon Goudie, who was making his first appearance of the season, stepped up to score with a drag flick.
The game became more expansive after the half time interval with Mossley scoring at the start of 3rd quarter. Raphoe failed to defend a cross into the 'D' which saw a Mossley forward to be able to wander unmarked to the back post to deflect home.
On 49 minutes, Raphoe went down to 10 men when George Patterson received a green card, which is a two minute personal penalty. Shortly after returning to the full complement of players Raphoe saw Lee Stewart receive a yellow card for an “alleged” slide tackle. It was deemed to be dangerous by the umpires who ignored the Raphoe pleads.
Raphoe did manage to find a second equaliser at the end of the third quarter through a penalty corner. Jonny Long passing to Tommy Orr to score at back post. A clever set piece variation.
In the final quarter Mossley found the eventual winner. On 54 minutes a crashed ball into the 'D', capitalised on more loose marking seeing Mossley tap in at the back post. Raphoe stepped up pressure to find an equaliser, the Donegal men completely dominated the remainder of the quarter. Mossley, briefly, went to 9 men for a green card (dissent) and yellow (bad stick tackle)
The space saw Raphoe increase the intensity of pressure. Tommy Orr missed a great chance for Raphoe, when his reverse stick shot flew over the bar. On 61 minutes, Raphoe thought they should have awarded a penalty stroke in the final few minutes but umpire gave a penalty corner. From the resulting set piece Ian McGonigle forced a save from the keeper with a low shot.
The game finished with Raphoe frustrated looking to salvage a point but encouraged by the performance.

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