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Braves come out tops

Early goals by Taine Paton and Matt Fairweather helped the Brothers Sport Braves take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the EagleTurf All Star Series after a 2-1 win over the iTrainer Warriors in an action-packed men’s hockey encounter at Hillcrest, KZN on Monday.

Both goals came inside the opening 12 minutes of play, allowing the Braves to settle in nicely and control the rest of the game, reports Thahir Asmal.

They did that admirably and, apart from a few scares in the second half, they again looked the stronger of the two squads midway through the four-game contest, which has been arranged as part of a training camp for the national players to prepare for upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Team captain Justin Reid-Ross did manage to pull a goal back in the 68th minute, but it proved only a consolation with his side falling short at Kearsney College.

They were dominated at the start and Paton could have put them in front sooner, only to be denied by the excellent Gowan Jones, who closed down on the attacker.

But moments later the goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the midfielder scoring into an empty net ÔÇô he had fallen over from making another fine save, this time with his feet.

In the 12th minute the lead was doubled when Matt Fairweather flicked into the bottom left of the goal from a penalty corner. Craig Haley, the goalscoring hero from Friday’s first game, then found himself at the end of a sweeping counter-attack, involving Grant Robertson and Nick Gonsalves, but again Jones was there to rescue the situation.

Moments before the break, Lloyd Norris-Jones almost pulled one back for the Warriors, when he turned blindly and powerfully flicked, only to be denied by the left upright.

After the restart Rhett Halkett was green carded for dangerous play, spurring the Warriors on to throw more men forward. In the 42nd minute they even managed to get the ball into the back of the net, but it was ruled out after it went in via the leg of Reid-Ross.

The pressure continued to come with Brendon Botes then forced into his first real save of the night.

However, the chasing side were dealt a blow when Wade Paton took a blow to the jaw area and had to be replaced. Marvin Harper should have done better with yet another chance, but found the side-netting after squeezing himself into space down the left.

Halkett earned another five minutes on the sidelines for a yellow card in the 53rd minute when he again fouled.

The Warriors failed to capitalise, though, and had Jones to thank twice after he kept out Haley in the closing stages, while at the other end Botes had to be equally sharp to deny Migs da Graca

They were finally on the scoresheet with just over two minutes remaining when Jonty Robinson’s penalty corner was flicked in by Reid-Ross. There was one final opportunity after the final hooter sounded, but this time the flick from the penalty corner ended wide.

Game three of the series is at the same venue on Tuesday evening, with the final match to be played at the Riverside Sports Club on Wednesday.


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