HOCKEY: OLTON pulled off a remarkable comeback against Birmingham University on Saturday afternoon to move joint top of the Men’s Hockey League Conference West.
Buoyed by last week’s success – and the added benefit of a home game – Olton weathered the expected opening onslaught by their rivals.
Throughout the first half, Olton battled away to keep a clean sheet and try to get the goals that they needed.
Their plan proved partially successful as both teams ended the opening half goalless.
But the visiting side proved faster out of the blocks at the start of the second half, and soon Birmingham were 1-0 up.
Olton weren’t at their best, and with eight minutes remaining Olton conceded a second goal which appeared to put the game beyond doubt.
Remarkably though, Olton clawed their way back into the game with three minutes left when David Ebbage’s corner found the back of the net.
The home side pulled their keeper and were soon level with only a minute of play left when Beck scored from a penalty corner.
In that same minute, Olton launched an aerial ball forward which found Harry Sherlock.
Sherlock picked up the ball and struck with a reverse stick past the keeper to earn Olton a huge win.
Olton are back in action this weekend when they face Clifton Robinsons away in Bristol.
Saturday also saw Olton’s Ladies side take to the pitch in an away contest against Oxford, a game which ended in a draw.
Olton started the game well, working the ball between the lines effectively and moving out of congested areas to create some promising chances on goal.
The defence played its part, doing exactly as coach Sally Walton instructed by transferring the ball around the back.
Olton’s first goal came from a short corner, converted by Walton in the first half.
With 35 minutes remaining, Olton were in a promising position. But Oxford equalised ten minutes into the second half from a short corner.
The home side used their momentum to effect and quickly took the lead minutes later.
A resilient Olton side were determined not to leave Oxfordshire empty handed.
During the final 15 minutes of play, an accurate cross from the attacking 25 yard line by Laura Collins sailed the ball to the far post where Harriet Payne was able to get a touch on the ball and send it into the Oxford net, levelling the score at 2-2.
Later chances couldn’t be converted as the game ended in a draw.
Next week Olton are at home to Swansea at midday.
Picture: Manjit Narotra.