Reds off to false start in Annadale IHL encounter

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White / PressEye'Men's Hockey: Irish Hockey League'Teams: Annadale (white) v Cookstown (red)'Venue: Lough Moss'Date: 11th October 2014'Caption: Keith Black, Cookstown and Connor Roberts, Annadale
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White / PressEye'Men's Hockey: Irish Hockey League'Teams: Annadale (white) v Cookstown (red)'Venue: Lough Moss'Date: 11th October 2014'Caption: Keith Black, Cookstown and Connor Roberts, Annadale

Cookstown were held to a 1-1 draw against Annadale on Saturday in what will be considered a wasted opportunity to get their IHL campaign off to a winning start.

Travelling without Ewan Butler as well as the on-form Greg Allen, Cookstown headed to Carryduff on Saturday for their IHL opening game against an Annadale side that they had comfortably beaten earlier in the season.

However, it was ‘Dale who started the brighter of the two sides with Cookstown looking sluggish from the off. Despite Annadale looking the more likely to score during the first quarter, Andy Smyth broke loose and was denied an opener against the run of play, his reverse stick shot coming off the goal keeper’s helmet and streaming wide.

The second quarter deadlock was broken, unsurprisingly, by Annadale when an aerial ball evaded the Cookstown defence, leaving a ‘Dale forward one on one with a charging Ian Hughes. As he began his reverse stick shot, Dan Crooks bravely stepped in to thwart the attack albeit giving a seemingly unjust stroke to the Carryduff men. Youthful international, Michael Robson calmly placed the ball into the side netting to have Cookstown chasing the game going into the second half.

Playing away from the sun the Reds began the second half with a lot more composure than earlier on in the game and their efforts were finally rewarded with a stroke of their own: Keith Black flicking high into the net after a breakdown following a penalty corner.

Continuing the pressure late into the game, Cookstown searched for a winner and won a number of short corners late in the game but were sadly unable to convert.

Annadale also had a number of chances to win the game only for the on-point Ian Hughes in the away goal.