Ten goal thriller sees Cookstown top table

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Cookstown continued with their weekend double-header with a timely end to the Instonians hoodoo and an emphatic win.

The Reds started this game well with a good early tempo and when thay didn’t have the ball they put their opponents under pressure. Stuart Smyth had the Reds first effort but his reverse effort went over the bar.

Then, in the 8th minute, Cookstown had a bit of luck when a crash ball into the Inst circle came off a defender and into the net to put the Reds 1-0 ahead.

Cookstown maintained their high tempo and earned themselves a penalty corner. Ewan Butler’s effort was saved by the keeper and the rebound fell to Andy Barbour who promptly despatched the ball into the corner of the net. Inst tried to respond and the Cookstown defence allowed the ball to run across their circle where John Watson beat Hughes with a reverse sweep for 2-1.

Towards the end of this quarter, Cookstown had chances to increase their lead. A Stephen Sloan shot was saved and a Jon Ames reverse effport went just wide.

Inst mounted pressure early in the second quarter and were awarded their first penalty corner when Cookstown thought the decision was in their favour. Gleghorne equalised for Inst with a trademark drag despite Hughes getting a strong stick to the effort.

A great ball out of defence from Godfrey Irwin found Jon Ames who worked hard to win Cookstown’s second penalty corner. The straight strike was saved and looped over the bar.

The Reds then scored a magical goal to go ahead to the delight of their supporters. A sideline aerial from Andy Barbour dropped in front of the speedy Ryan Miller who struck a sweet reverse across the circle. Greg Allen had made up the hard yardage and, although his first touch was not true, he dived to sweep the ball over the onrushing keeper and high into the net to leave Cookstown 3-2 ahead at half time.

The Reds really bossed proceedings during the third quarter and scored a couple of quick goals to leave Inst with a mountain to climb. A variation at penalty corner time saw Simon Todd’s strike deflected home by Jon Ames. Towards the end of the quarter a great ball from Stuart Smyth into the Inst circle was deflected past the keeper by Todd to put Cookstown in the demanding position with a 5-2 lead.

Cookstown kept the momentum going throughout the last quarter to cement the win. Andy Barbour capped a great personal double header weekend with yet another man of the match performance.

Jon Ames also had a great last quarter but saw the Instonian keeper save his effort after he was found with a great Ewan Butler pass. With all the squad utilised, the Reds were allowed an easy run in when Inst were reduced to ten men.

Stephen Sloan found Ames down the left and Ames beat his man and then the keeper to score from a tight angle. Inst were not finished yet however and again Watson was allowed to turn and get his shot away to beat Hughes to make the scoreline 6-3.

Undeterred Cookstown again pushed forward and Sloan found Ryan Miller free in the Inst circle. Although driven wide by the keeper Miller got his reverse away to score Cookstown’s final goal.

Cookstown: Ian Hughes; David Best; Matthew Rollins; Godfrey Irwin; Paul Thompson; Ewan Butler; Jon Ames; Andrew Barbour; Stephen Sloan; Simon Todd; Ryan Miller; Gareth Cuddy; Greg Allen (C); Stuart Smyth; Andrew McWhirter; Andy Smyth