Vets’ date with Bristol side

Gloucester City 2, Sidmouth HC Vets 3

SIDMOUTH Hockey Club’s veteran team came back from two goals down to reach the last 16 of the national over 40s knock-out competition for the second successive year, writes John Goodwin.

Their run appeared to be coming to an end when Gloucester netted from a short corner five minutes into the second half. But some rash stick work saw one of the home side twice sin binned and another shown the red card.

While the home numbers were depleted Sidmouth regained a foothold and a hat-trick of goals poached from three yards out by Graham Pidgeon saw Sidmouth into the draw for the next round. Sidmouth will be away to Robinsons of Bristol on February 19.

The game began brightly but Gloucester responded and an outstretched pad by goalkeeper John Goodwin diverted a shot to safety. Goodwin was outsmarted shortly after with a clever reverse flick past his left shoulder for Gloucester’s first goal.

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Sidmouth failed to force any short corners in the first half while their defence had to beat out the shots that resulted from three at the other end. The first home short corner of the second half saw Sidmouth go two goals down. Andrew Mapson had a chance to reduce the arrears but his hurried reverse flick from the edge of the D floated over the bar. It appeared Sidmouth had made a mess of one of their short corners when Nick Wright fluffed the injection. Mark Mingo got to the ball and dragged it out of the D before firing it across to the unmarked Pidgeon who got the decisive touch.

Stout defensive work was needed for Sidmouth to restrict the deficit with Goodwin, Keith Baker and Paul Gannon called into action.

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The dividends were reaped when a mazy run by Andrew Welch from deep in his own half set up Pidgeon for the equaliser.

A dangerously wielded stick saw Gloucester’s most influential player sent off and, with a colleague already off, the home side were up against it. Wright’s cross set up Pidgeon’s third with an open goal.

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