‘Gate Men ease relegation fears with victory at Preston

Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1s
Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1s

Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1st XI put more distance between themselves and the North Division One relegation zone when they beat Preston 4-1 away from home.

Will Rogers’ team registered a first victory since early November last time out as they saw off Neston South Wirral, and they followed up that win with another to move seven points clear of the bottom two.

The game started in a fast and physical fashion, and Charles Edmonson was denied an all-but-certain goal by some overzealous defending, resulting in a penalty stroke.

Andy Clemerson made no mistake to break the deadlock and put ‘Gate 1-0 up.

The visitors had chances to extend their lead, but at the other end, Preston also threatened, forcing two outstanding saves from goalkeeper Rob Stanworth before the break.

Preston came out after the re-start with more purpose and enjoyed plenty of the ball as they tried to force the issue.

Harrogate’s Toby Harris cleared off the line spectacularly when Stanworth was finally beaten, with Jim MacLaverty also putting his body on the line to deny the hosts an equaliser.

Kayron Stagno eventually levelled matters with a drag-flick with around 15 minutes remaining, but undeterred, the Granby outfit re-started with a sense of urgency.

Sam Mackarell won his side a corner from which Alfie Weaver put his side in front and, just two minutes later, skipper Rogers added a third.

Preston were then reduced to nine men as they exerted too much physical pressure trying win the ball back, and ‘Gate profited when Rogers turned provider for Jack Bass to wrap things up.

The 1s have a double-header this weekend, firstly welcoming local rivals City of York on Saturday (1.30pm) and then Chapeltown on the Sunday (2pm).