Graham Abrey is a hat-trick hero as Potters Bar make a winning start to the new year
PUBLISHED: 11:39 16 January 2020
A hat-trick from Graham Abrey helped move Potters Bar up to second in East League Division One with a 3-0 win over struggling East London.
It wasn't as straight forward as it sounded though with the Dame Alice Owen's-based hockey club restricted to just the bare 11 players due to work and unavailability.
One player missing was goalkeeper Ben Balmforth which meant a first-team debut for youngster Alex Martin who had a relatively trouble-free afternoon.
That was predominantly down to the fact that this was a scrappy encounter.
Bar were rarely able to create much in the way of either meaningful territorial dominance or chances while East London's final pass was often lacking.
The visitors' cause was also hampered by the first two goals arriving in the first 15 minutes.
There had been no chances of note before Bar were awarded a short corner after 12 minutes when Tom Clarke was needlessly fouled inside the D.
Abrey made no mistake with a shot that flew into the top corner and three minutes later he was presented with a penalty flick following an illegal block on the line from a Mark Turpin shot. That too was emphatically dispatched.
They spent the rest of the half either defending resolutely or keeping possession at the back and Martin was only really called into action once.
East London certainly had the best chances of the opening 10 minutes of the second half but although they were able to get a couple of shots on target, Martin was on hand to maintain the lead, scrambling one away from his goal and blocking another from a high flick.
At the other end Ed Whybrow was twice denied as was Tom Clarke but Potters Bar finally put the match to bed on 67 minutes.
Harry Wilkinson won the ball in the middle of the field and then burst forward before playing a wonderful pass into the D to Turpin who was shaping to shoot when he was deliberately fouled.
Abrey once again made the penalty flick look easy.
The only thing left to do after that was preserve Martin's clean sheet which they did in relative comfort.
Their next match takes them to Cambridge City on Saturday.