Cookstown 4 Annadale 2
COOKSTOWN recorded their fifth straight league victory after a convincing with over a youthful Annadale side. The Reds have enjoyed a superb week as they claimed 9 points out of 9 in their three league encounters.
Victories over NICS, Banbridge and Annadale have pushed the Coolnfranky outfit up the table.
The Reds settled the quicker in this game and soon had Dale under pressure but were lacking the final pass as Davy Smyth in the visitors defence marshalled his troops well. Twelve minutes into the game and Stephen Sloan made a great run along the bye line before finding Mark Crooks who opened the scoring.
Dale did not sit back and Fraser Mills squandered three half decent chances to bring his side back into the game. After 20 minutes Cookstown doubled their lead when the impressive Smyth sent Crooks free. Crooks hit the circle at pace and unleashed an unstoppable shot, off two boards, to the delight of the home support. With a couple of minutes remaining until the half. Crooks was again found in the circle by Greg Allen, and the young forward completed his hat-trick with a crafty and cheeky chop over the advancing keeper. So three up at half-time and the game seemed safe.
Dale came out stronger in the second half and soon had Cookstown under pressure. The visitors won a penalty corner and James Cox beat Hughes with a drag down the middle. Cookstown responded and a great run along the bye line by Allen resulted in a Sloan reverse strike going narrowly wide.
The Reds resumed their three goal lead when Smyth was able to bundle the ball over the goal-line from six inches, probably his best goal of the season to date. Yet again Andy Barbour put in a great shift in mid-field, his tackling and distribution was first class.
Play was evenly contested for the remainder of the game as Dale’s youngsters grew in confidence. Indeed Andy Smyth is putting together a decent side that will be a force to be reckoned with in the future as Annadale rebuild.
On the final whistle Annadale won a penalty corner which in turn resulted in another corner. Cox this time drove his drag into the net to leave the final scoreline 4-2 in Cookstown’s favour.
Next Saturday sees Kilkeel the visitors to Coolnafranky as Cookstown look to continue their recent impressive form.
Good luck to the second string who travel to Kilkeel for their Irish Junior Cup quarter final clash with a date at the National Hockey stadium awaiting the victors.