Potters Bar go top after vital promotion win and shock loss for leaders
PUBLISHED: 06:06 06 February 2020
A goal in each half from Tom Clarke gave Potters Bar a 2-1 win away to Crostyx and sent them top of the East Hockey League Division One table.
The game at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre pitted the sides in second and third with Potters Bar's sole aim at the start of the day to extend or at the very least conserves their six-point gap over their hosts.
However, Wapping's surprise defeat to Cambridge City has now given them a points advantage, even if the east London side do have a game in hand.
The opening exchanges were typically nervous with neither team creating any worthwhile chances.
The first rotation of players from the Bar bench almost made an immediate impact but Mark Turpin's stabbed effort was saved and then Graham Abrey's short corner was ruled out for being too high.
The next time the ball hit the net it did count though. A first-time cross from Turpin, having been set away by a long Ed Seaman pass, was steered home with aplomb by Clarke.
However, the lead lasted for just a minute as Crostyx converted a penalty flick, Ben Balmforth in the Bar goal getting a lot on it but not enough to keep it out.
It remained that way until the second half although the umpires were busy warning both teams for dissent.
The visitors did get one card as warned, losing the services of a player for two minutes, but Crostyx saw four cards come their way in the second period.
That allowed Potters Bar to gain control for long periods although the game was still very much in the balance, a Crostyx shot off the frame of the goal proving that.
But having soaked up those chances Bar counter-attacked to perfection on 58 minutes to grab the winner.
Ed Whybrow played what looked like a hopeful ball down the middle of the pitch but when the last defender failed to stop it, Clarke raced through and found the gap to the side of the keeper.
Only a win would have done for Crostyx and they threw everything at Bar late on, including putting on an extra attacker for their goalkeeper.
Two good saves from Balmforth stopped any chance of an equaliser and although the visitors failed to take a chance of their own, they held on for three valuable points in the promotion race.