Halifax pipped in thriller

Hockey - Halifax v Bradford. Michael Jones for Halifax.
Hockey - Halifax v Bradford. Michael Jones for Halifax.

Halifax Hockey Club’s men’s first team suffered an agonising 4-3 defeat to a last minute goal on their return to league action after the Christmas break at Boston Spa.

Matthew Metcalfe’s men battled back from 3-2 down with two minutes to go and looked to have sealed a vital away point.

However, their hosts blocked Elliot Bullick’s attempt at a winner and then raced the length of the park to win a penalty corner, which keeper Matty Breton was unable to stop.

In a scrappy first half, Halifax had plenty of opportunities with star man Michael Jones in the thick of the action. Jones dominated possession and linked up well with fellow midfielder Josh Foreman to set up most of their attacking plays.

Sam Spencer got onto the end of a Jones through ball to round the keeper and tee up youngster Jakob Morley with the goal at his mercy, but the Halifax winger opted for power rather than precision and the Boston defence blocked his strike.

However, Morley immediately gave Halifax the lead when he reacted quickest to Jones’ saved penalty corner and he crashed home his first goal for the side.

Jones turned from hero to villain, as his thunderous strike hit teammate Michael Broadbent in the side. Broadbent had to leave the field with suspected cracked ribs.

Breton made a number of fine saves in the first half as his defence came under pressure, but he was unable to prevent Boston equalising just before half time.

Halifax dominated for the next 20 minutes. Josh Sutcliffe produced a text book penalty corner routine and Jones fired home to restore their advantage.

However, Spa drew level with a close range strike and then piled on the pressure, winning a number of penalty corners.

Eventually the pressure told as they crashed the ball past a stranded Breton and the game looked to have gone, until Jones stepped up with another superb moved, side-stepping the on-rushing defender at another penalty corner and drilling home from six yards out.

A point would have been a fair result, but Boston had other ideas and sent the visitors home empty handed.

Reports from other Halifax hockey teams in Friday’s paper