Bears snatch last gasp draw
A PERFECTLY executed penalty corner by City Bears after the full-time siren helped them snatch a thrilling 3-all draw against Coffs Southside in men’s A grade hockey yesterday.
Southside players were fuming after the penalty was awarded and they were even more irate when Bears go-to-man Mark Pollack hammered the ball into the back of the net
Southside looked to have the game wrapped up after making a remarkable comeback of their own in the second half.
Looking down the barrel of their first loss of the season, Southside were in trouble early in the second half, down 2-0.
A spirited fightback saw them grab a 3-2 lead late in the game until the controversial penalty left them pondering what went wrong.
It was a game of contrasting halves with the young Bears’ side dominating play in the first stanza, only to see Southside hit their straps after the break.
Bears were first to strike after good lead-up by Mitch Lollback and Mark Pollock found Brent Russ unmarked who calmly slotted the ball into the backboard.
Dave Dart put the home side further ahead when he hammered the ball into the bottom corner of the net with a well-timed back-stick.
Complacency crept into the Bears’ game and they paid the ultimate price when a turnover gave Southside captain Dean Herbert an opportunity to score, and he didn’t disappoint.
Southside were at it again shortly after when against the run of play Herbert picked up his double for the day, flicking the ball past the Bears goalkeeper.
Things suddenly became tense with Southside being accused of ‘chopping’. Heated exchanges ensued from both the field and the dugout.
A Heath Edwards special gave the visitors the lead for the first time and with the clock running down, Southside looked home and hosed until Pollock’s gem found the net. Bears coach Dave Dart was ecstatic after his side’s ‘get out of jail’ draw and pointed to his younger players as playing a big part in the game.
“Our young players proved they can step up to A grade standard, although they need some fine tuning,” Dart said after the game.
“Our first half was good, but we went away from the game plan in the second half. The pleasing thing is we have a lot of improvement in us.”
Lollback at centre-half was sensational, continually making inroads into the Southside defence and for Southside their captain Dean Herbert was a standout.
With a new-look side this season and going for a youth policy City Bears may have finally shed the tag of the ‘North Coast Bears’.