Inland left bitterly disappointed after losing to underdogs Northerns

2009-07-09 00:00

WHILE there is merit in flashes of brilliance, sustained success in sport is about consistency, and that maxim was borne out in the KZN Inland boys versus Northern Gauteng match at the National U13 Hockey Festival.

Yesterday saw Inland confident after their close match with top team KZN Coastals the day before, while Northerns were underdogs, having lost to Coastals 6-1 earlier in the week.

The locals were all over NG from the outset, the Pretoria side defending desperately, although a full-stretch stick save low to his right and just inside the post by Inland goalkeeper Casey Malan gave Northerns heart.

Facing a territorial and possession disadvantage, Northerns had to be content with long ball to high-hanging strikers. With the more skilful Inland line-up’s precise build-up in attack, short passes to players running intelligently off the ball, the result seemed inevitable.

However, the Inland penalty corner — a weak point all week — wasn’t working and chances were frittered away throughout the match. Three minutes to half-time the match turned as a rare Northerns PC saw their defender, Tiago de Serra hammer in a second shot for the opener.

At 1-0 Northerns were on top mentally and another well-timed De Serra penalty corner strike made it 2-0 four minutes after the changeover. With nine minutes left Northerns keeper Laythan Vrey pulled off a stunning stick save low to his right from an Inland PC, then defender Tristan Hanlann was called up to have a go, but his full-blooded PC strike into the net was correctly disallowed. With four minutes left, outstanding Inland captain Mudiwa Llobell’s reverse-stick shot cannoned into the upright, then another Llobell effort was saved, before yet another PC was blocked and the match was gone, leaving Northerns ecstatic and Inland deeply disappointed.

The Inland girls finished well, beating North Gauteng 2-1. KZN Coastals boys had another good win, thumping Southern Free State 4-0, while Coastals girls drew 1-1 with SFS.

Meanwhile, KZN Inland were unfortunate in the U16 girls’ IPT in Bloemfontein yesterday not to go through to today’s final.

RESULTS:

Girls (AB Jackson Greenfields Turf): WP 2 Border 1; South Gauteng 1 EP 0; KZN Coastal 1 Southern Free State 1; KZN Inland 2 North Gauteng 1; SWD 0 Boland 0; East Gauteng 2 North Cape 1; North West 4 Limpopo 0; North Free State 1 Mpumalanga 1.

Boys (PMB College’s Pape’s Astro): Bol 0 SWD 0; NC 3 EG 2; NW 2 Lim 0; NFS 1 Mpu 1; Bor 0 WP 0; SG 1 EP 1; Coastals 4 SFS 0; North Gauteng 2 Inland 0.

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