Mixed feelings as MK teams are made to settle for draws

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IT was draws all round for Milton Keynes Hockey Club’s leading sides on Saturday, but the Ladies 1sts also suffered a narrow defeat in the national trophy competition.

Three wins on the spin was the carrot in front of the Men’s 1sts when they went up against Spencer, and they made a strong start with Jamie Dodd converting from a penalty corner inside five minutes.

Spencer soon hit back to level the score, but MK were given the perfect opportunity to go back in front when the London side’s keeper rushed out recklessly to challenge Toby King, giving away a penalty flick and earning a yellow card in the process.

An outfield player donned the helmet and the gloves and remarkably saved the flick, before Spencer held out during the five-minute suspension to take the game through to half time with the score at 1-1.

The second half saw the game open up, and it was Spencer who scored next to go in front for the first time. However, the lead didn’t last long as Ali McColl deflected the ball into the D for Rich Townsend to finish.

And MK turned the match completely on its head a few minutes later when Ben Woodford converted a pass into the circle from Brett Holland after a penalty corner broke down, making it 3-2.

However, a dramatic second half wasn’t finished just yet as Spencer netted on the counter attack to bring the score level for a third time, ending MK’s hopes of making it three league wins on the bounce.

It was a similar story for the Ladies’ 1sts as all four goals in their draw with Staines 2nds came in the second half.

Helen Cooke and Sarah Lowry worked tirelessly to link MK’s defence to midfield, but the ball just kept coming back at them and goalkeeper Laura Pellington-Woodrow was forced into making some fine saves to keep the first half a goalless affair.

With only eight minutes of the second half played, the visitors broke the deadlock by scoring from the narrowest of angles to take the lead, before adding a second goal only a couple of minutes later.

However, MK responded well, attacking with pace and determination to find a way back into the contest. Player of the match Alice Vigor was instrumental in driving the team forward with excellent runs down the right side and creating chances in the D .

It was from one of those runs that MK won a penalty corner and a reverse stick effort from Sophie Reynolds hit the back of the net.

And the equaliser soon followed as Lou Reynolds found herself in space and coolly slotted the ball past the Staines keeper to make it 2-2.

It was straight back to action the next day as the Ladies’ 1sts went to Shefford & Sandy in the England Hockey Investec Women’s Trophy.

Having reached the final of the England Hockey Investec Vase last season and now playing at a higher level, MK controlled the first half of the second round tie and took the lead through Mally Dolphin, converting a cross from Alice Vigor.

The score remained 1-0 until 10 minutes from time when Shefford & Sandy found a way through with a scrappy goal.

Sofie Sokolowski and Ellie Walsh helped MK force a series of short corners in reply, but the goal just wasn’t forthcoming. And against the run of play, Shefford & Sandy won a short corner of their own and made no mistake to take the lead, and close out the final stages to win the tie.

Meanwhile goals from Mel West and Zoe Carter helped the Ladies’ 2nds to a 2-0 win over Wychwood, while the Ladies’ 3rds lost 5-0 to Newbury & Thatcham.

The Men’s 2nds crashed 5-1 to Marlow, despite the best efforts of Doug Spencer, who scored a consolation goal, and man of the match Mike Anderson.

The Men’s 4ths fell 9-2 to Oxford Hawks, with Andy Webb grabbing both goals, while the Men’s 5ths lost 9-1 to Eastcote – Gary Avery getting the goal – and the Samurai team beat Reading Rovers 2-1.