Hockey: Cookstown into third with Mossley win at the weekend

Cookstown's Stuart Smyth  in action against Banbridge. Pic: Rowland White / PressEye
Cookstown's Stuart Smyth in action against Banbridge. Pic: Rowland White / PressEye
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Cookstown 2 Mossley 0

Under the Friday night lights of Steelweld Park, the Reds met Mossley HC, hoping to do the double over the Glade Men with home and away league victories.

Cookstown lined up without midfielder Jon Ames but welcomed the debuting Paul Watt after a consistent string of performances with the 2nd XI.

The Reds started strongly and enjoyed the greater share of possession in the early stages.

Chances fell to Crooks and Miller in quick succession as the visiting keeper worked overtime.

Cookstown looked like they had eventually edged ahead and grabbed a lead before the break when Crooks beat the keeper from close range only to see his goal disallowed by the umpire.

The two teams entered the break at 0-0, with Cookstown frustrated by Mossley’s long ball style of play.

However, it wasn’t long into the second half when Cookstown took the lead through Stuart Smyth, who unleashed a reverse high into the keeper’s top left hand corner.

Stewartstown striker Ray Miller should have doubled the lead moments after only to see his effort saved by Ben McMillan in the away goal.

Cookstown continued to create chances as Mossley found it difficult to maintain their high intensity play.

Town’ increased their lead midway through the half when Mark Crooks fired home from a second phase short corner.

Mossley, to their credit, searched for a way back into the game and almost had it with five minutes remaining but Neal Glassey was unable to find the target.

A hammer blow for the away side who had managed to withhold Cookstown in the first half but their game-plan was very difficult to maintain for the full seventy minutes.

Cookstown coach Stephen Cuddy said: “I thought we started very well but were unable to find a lead in the first half, they absorbed the pressure well.

“We changed our set-up at half-time and were much settled thanks to that early strike from Stuarty. I think we deserved more goals but I’m happy with the win.”

Cookstown now face a difficult week ahead against 2nd placed Lisnagarvey and 4th placed Instonians HC.