Hockey: Upminster denied by last-gasp leveller

PUBLISHED: 15:43 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 08 February 2018

Upminster's Dave Hadsley looks on (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Upminster's Dave Hadsley looks on (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Upminster’s men were denied an East League Division One win at Shefford & Sandy after conceding a last-gasp goal in a 3-3 draw.

The visitors started slowly and found themselves under early pressure as Shefford moved the back well.

And after Phil Dixon had produced a couple of good saves to deny the home side, Upminster fell behind when a short corner was also saved, but the rebound tucked away.

Upminster began to put some decent passages of play together after that and Ollie Cipa fired the ball across the D to the unmarked debutant D Downes, who calmly slotted home with his first touch.

The match became a more even affair, with Shefford regaining the lead from another short corner, before Russ Murphy timed his run to the far post to claim a second Upminster equaliser.

The second half was fairly open, but there were not as many chances as the first period, with both sides knowing how key a win would be for their promotion hopes.

Upminster got their noses in front, though, when Cipa again found man of the match Dan Downes to net his second goal of the game and they looked set to record a vital victory in pursuit of leaders East London.

Shefford forced a trio of late corners, the third of which came seconds before the final whistle, and managed to put together a routine that saw the shot squeeze under the stick of Dixon to ensure the points were shared.

Nick Harris took the defender of the match award for shellshocked Upminster, who saw Shefford snatch a point in similar fashion in a 4-4 draw when the two sides met at Coopers earlier in the season.

They find themselves five points behind their rivals and a top-two spot, with six games left and are set to welcome Cambridge Nomads this weekend.

The seconds lost 3-2 to Brentwood, while the thirds drew 1-1 at Old Southendian and fourths were beaten 3-1 by Basildon.

And Upminster’s women were left empty-handed on their East One South trip to high-flying Brom & Becks.

A 2-1 defeat leaves them in seventh place and are at home to Tunbridge Wells on Saturday.

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