Hockey: Cookstown raise their game against Brazil

Cookstown captain Gregg Allen on the break during last Thursday night's clash with Brasil at Steelweld Park.INMM1415-345

Cookstown captain Gregg Allen on the break during last Thursday night's clash with Brasil at Steelweld Park.INMM1415-345

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Cookstown were proud to play host to the Brazil National Team at Steelweld Park on Thursday evening.

Conditions were less than appealing, but a large local crowd filled the stands as the South Americans made their first appearance during a three-week European training camp ahead of the Pan American Games.

It was Brazil who took the lead from a well-worked short corner routine following a super save from Ian Hughes in the Cookstown goal.

Nevertheless, the Reds crafted a number of opportunities through the strong running threat of Mark Crooks and the returning Paul Thompson. It was through the skill of the flying winger that Cookstown claimed an equaliser, Andy Smyth eventually slotting home from Crooks’ cross.

Hughes was again called into action to save from another Brazil break before Ryan Millar made it 2-1 with defiant dig from the top of the circle.

Millar grabbed his second of the game soon afterwards from a broken down short corner. Raymond Miller rescued the set piece before Andy Barbour picked out an unmarked Millar at the back post.

As the monsoon conditions continued, Cookstown found themselves 4-1 up when Crooks sealed a fine first half with a goal following a fine save from the Brazil goalkeeper.

Greg Allen made it 5-1 in the third quarter when his reverse squirmed past the outstretched foot of the Brazil goalkeeper.

The game descended into a battle in the midfield as the South Americans upped their efforts and began carrying the ball into space.

Despite this, Cookstown were able to sit back and control a fair bit of possession at the back through Godfrey Irwin and Keith Black. A couple of quick passes saw Brazil under pressure, but their centre back and goalkeeper were equal to the task and snuffed out the danger.

A Brazil break saw Hughes called into action again to make another super save, but he could do nothing to prevent the South Americans getting a well-deserved goal moments later when a powerful shot from the Brazilian centre forward struck him in the chest before drifting over the line and make it 5-2.