Title hopes all but over for Potters Bar but heavy defeat fails to tell the whole story
PUBLISHED: 13:38 03 March 2020
Wapping put a firm hand on the East Hockey League Division One trophy with a 4-0 win over Potters Bar – although the final score did not reflect the true nature of the contest.
The battle between the league's top two at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre ended with the London side five points clear with only three games remaining.
A later pushback on Saturday meant the visitors had travelled from their Dame Alice Owen's base with a full squad of 14, Miles Tomkins and Harry Wilkinson both available.
And knowing the importance of the first goal, Bar went close on three different occasions.
Graham Abrey put a short corner just past the post while Tom Clarke's pass across goal was just too far in front of Jonathan Elms.
The final effort came after a wonderful flowing move involving Ed Seaman, Rory Kenney-Herbert and Mark Turpin but Clarke's deflection was just off target.
And those chances proved costly when Wapping took the lead on 10 minutes following a defensive error.
The goal seemed to knock the wind out of the Bar sails who remained competitive for the remainder of the half but without creating the types of chances that came in the opening minutes.
Wapping meanwhile continued to look threatening but big saves from Ben Balmforth and a goal ruled out for a trip on Ray Li meant it stayed at 1-0 by half-time.
The second half started like the first with a good chance for Potters Bar. This time though Turpin's effort was well saved by the Wapping keeper.
Bar's best spell came midway through the half with a shot coming back off the post in a scramble their best chance and at this point the game was very much in the balance.
But three goals in the last 12 minutes ended the visitors' hopes. The first was another defensive mix-up and with Bar pushing forward, gaps opened up behind them and Wapping took full advantage.
But while the title is now probably out of reach, promotion remains very much within their grasp.
They are three points clear of Crostyx in third and are back at home on Saturday for the first game of the run-in against West Herts.
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