Harrogate Men secure crucial victory on the road at Neston

Charles Edmondson set Harrogate Mens 1s on their way to victory at Neston South Wirral. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Charles Edmondson set Harrogate Mens 1s on their way to victory at Neston South Wirral. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Hockey Club Mens 1s eased their relegation fears when they recorded a first victory since early November, triumphing 3-2 at Neston South Wirral.

Six defeats in their previous seven outings had seen Will Rogers’ side plummet towards the North Division One drop zone, but Saturday’s success over their fellow strugglers leaves the men from Ainsty Road four points clear of the bottom two.

‘Gate started the brighter of the sides and took a deserved lead through Charles Edmonson, scoring on the rebound following some good work by the returning Luke Lambert.

The visitors continued to dominate the game, dictating the pace and creating more chance, adding a second goal thanks to a calm finish from Alfie Weaver.

Going 2-0 behind seemed to spark Neston into life and they forced away ‘keeper Rob Stanworth into making a double save from a penalty-corner as ‘Gate held firm until the interval.

The game started to open after the break with the teams sharing possession, but moments after a Harry Henderson yellow card, the hosts pulled a goal back.

As Neston searched for an equaliser and Harrogate worked hard to deny them one, the contest became frantic and explosive.

The Ainsty Road outfit had Tom Nash to thank for keeping their noses in front with a crucial goal-line clearance before Jack Bass coolly slotted home for 3-1, sending the away fans into raptures.

More resolute defending and some effective time-wasting then saw the away side to a long-overdue and much-needed three points, but not before Sam Mackarell had conceded a penalty stroke with just seconds remaining, allowing Neston to reduce the deficit.

Harrogate 2s enjoyed their biggest win of the season, demolishing local rivals Boston Spa 1s.

A nervy opening 10-minute spell saw ‘Gate on the back foot but they eventually settled down and scored three times before the interval.

A smart finish from captain Josh Lyon and two drag-flicked penalty-corner strikes by Ben Collinson and Tom Gugan set the hosts on their way.

Harrogate bossed the game in the second half and went 4-0 up through Simon Lockwood’s close-range hit.

Collinson then scored his second of the day from a tight angle and Lyon’s volley then put the game to bed.

The result leaves the 2nd XI fourth in the Yorkshire Premier Division.

‘Gate 3s were also in fine form, winning 3-2 away at Sheffield Hallam 5s, while the 4th XI drew 1-1 with City of York 5ths.