For the second week in succession the Reds started tentatively and Paul Thompson had to be alert to clear danger from his circle within the first minute of the game.
Annadale started with a high tempo and throughout this first quarter were always first to the ball as Cookstown struggled to string passes together. From another Dale attack Matthew Rollins did really well to shepherd the attacker towards the bye line and force the subsequent effort to hit the side netting.
From Cookstown’s first meaningful attack they almost scored. Godfrey Irwin found Paul Thompson who quickly transferred to Greg Allen and his effort sailed just over the bar. Again Annadale came forward and Ian Hughes made a smart save from a reverse effort. On the hooter to end the quarter, Cookstown pressed the self-destruct button when an easy clearance was lifted into an Annadale forward and a penalty corner awarded; thankfully this came to nothing.
Cookstown started the second quarter with a good spell of possession making Dale work hard to get the ball. Stuart Smyth fizzed over a great reverse cross but it flashed across the face of the goal.
Stephen Sloan found Andy Barbour who hit the circle and his reverse effort was saved by Moore. The Reds were now settling to their task and definitely bossed this quarter as they pressed for the opening goal. Good work down the right from Ewan Butler led to another cross into the circle where Allen controlled and his snapshot went inches wide with Moore beaten.
From another good piece of work from Andy Barbour, Cookstown were awarded their first penalty corner. The pull out was mis-directed but Barbour controlled and saw his strike go into the corner of the net to put the Reds ahead.
Smyth put another reverse across the face of the goal and Gareth Cuddy just missed the touch to send it goalwards. Although under the cosh for most of this quarter, Dale mounted a quick breakaway and again Hughes made a good save. A crash ball into the Dale circle ended up in the net with Cookstown claiming that it had come off a defender, but the umpire was not convinced.
With less than a minute left Cookstown gave the ball away and again Hughes kept his goal intact. This was a good quarter from Cookstown with more possession and chances created.
The third quarter was only five minutes old when Annadale got themselves back into the game although somewhat luckily. A blantant feet from a Dale player was missed by the umpire and instead of getting a free, Cookstown found themselves trying to defend. William Edgar got his shot away which beat Hughes and the scores were level.
Buoyed by this Annadale attacked again and Cookstown got a let off when a cross was deflected just wide of their goal. Allen then received a green card for a run-of-the-mill clash of sticks. Two minutes later, Allen returned and vented his fury by turning a bouncy ball into the net at the near post to put Cookstown ahead going into the last quarter.
The Reds almost increased their lead early in the final quarter, but Purcell raced back to take Stuart Smyth’s effort off the line. Cookstown needed another goal to make the game safe and a reverse sweep from Allen went wide as the Reds kept up the pressure.
Annadale had to come forward now but Irwin put in some great tackles to keep Cookstown ahead. Dale were then reduced to 10 men and, realistically, their chance to win was over as Cookstown were content to keep possession around the back and see out time.
A great start to their double header weekend for the Reds saw them sitting joint top with Monkstown who beat Instonians 3-0.