Hockey: Late Lambert strike ends Harrogate's away day blues

Harrogate Hockey in action
Harrogate Hockey in action

Away day blues finally turned rosy for Harrogate Hockey as a late Luke Lambert goal earned their first win on the road this season.

Lambert tapped home 13 seconds before the final whistle blew against Lancaster and Morecambe as Harrogate ended on the right side of a nine-goal thriller 5-4.

Luke Lambert scored Harrogate's late winner

Luke Lambert scored Harrogate's late winner

Fifth-placed Harrogate had previously lost all four matches on their travels in North Hockey Men’s League Division One.

And they were staring at the prospect of another away defeat when 4-3 down with 10 minutes to play.

Captain Will Rogers said: “We showed fantastic character. Many teams would have given up at 4-3 but we knew we could still get the win and it was a fantastic reaction . ”

Chris Dunning and Steve Couture missed out on the long away trip due to injury while Mark Gibbons failed a late fitness test.

Edmondson shot wide early while Gonzalo Ayala forced a good save from the Lancaster goalkeeper. The early pressure paid off, and after Lambert was fouled, Ayala dispatched a drag flick into the corner.

Harrogater were enjoying the majority of possession with space developing in Lancaster’s midfield, allowingAndy Clemerson to dictate the play in arguably his best performance since joining from Ben Rhydding.

Harrogate should have extended their lead with Edmondson firing wide and Lambert scuffing a shot. And they were to rue their profligacy as the home side’s route one approach finally paid off. Some lax defending left the simplest of finishes and it was 1-1.

Joe Horne was making his first start for Harrogate since his move back to the club and after the goalkeeper denied Edmondson, the Spofforth-born forward was on hand to sweep in the rebound.

But the lead did not last long and Lancaster turned the tide with two quick-fire goals, one a gift inside the area and the second, a powerful drag flick leaving Rob Stanworth with no chance in goal.

The pendulum swung back into Harrogate’s favour when an error from a home defender was pounced upon by Ayala, who, off-balance, stroked a reverse stick effort into the corner.

At 3-3, Harrogate carried the greater threat and Lambert forced a good save while a combination of Clemmerson, Rogers and Henderson continued to dominate the middle. But against the run of play, ‘Gate found themselves trailing. Another crash ball into the ‘D’ took a deflection and fell kindly to an onrushing forward.

However, Gate responded to level the scoreline when a Henderson cross struck a foot and a short corner was fired in by Edmondson.

With minutes left, both teams poured forward and Rogers should have done a lot better after some fantastic work by Toby Harris. However, in the final minute, Harrogate deservedly had the final say. The home side’s persistent failure to second-guess Edmondson’s slick movement allowed him to accelerate down the left and arrow an accurate cross to the back post, where Lambert was waiting to tap home.

Harrogate will now look to extend their 100 per cent record at home against Lindum at Granby on Saturday.