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Late heroics lift Havering

Havering celebrate their success at the East Indoor finals Havering celebrate their success at the East Indoor finals

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
5:00 PM

Hockey men reach National Indoor League

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Havering booked their place in the National Indoor League competition after topping the East Premier League table in Cambridge at the weekend.

They remained unbeaten in five matches, but needed a last-gasp strike from Luke Mepham to draw their decider against the hosts and claim a place in the Division Two North group.

Havering will now travel to Lilleshall next weekend (January 4-5) and captain Paul Johnson said: “It was an epic final match and a fitting end to what had been a great tournament.

“It could have gone either way. Cambridge were gracious in defeat and wished the boys the best for the next round.”

Paul Dover opened the scoring in Havering’s first match against Spalding with a brace, before Connor Poulain and Harry Andrews added doubles of their own in a 6-1 win.

Johnson cancelled out an early Ipswich & East Suffolk goal in the second match and netted again before Nick Lampkin got in on the act.

Stuart Garnell made it 5-1 with Poulain and Andrews finishing with braces in an 8-2 success.

Havering began the second day with a 9-3 win over Peterborough as Mepham netted four times, Andrews added a hat-trick and Lampkin and Johnson also struck.

And a resounding 12-1 success against Blueharts, with the goals shared throughout the team, gave Havering a better goal difference than Cambridge ahead of their group decider.

The hosts included GB international Nicky Thompson and were boosted by a large support, but Havering raced into a two-goal lead as Dover and Mepham netted.

Cambridge hit back before Mepham rounded the keeper and found the net from a tight angle to make it 3-1 at half time.

And Dover restored the two-goal cushion after the home side opened the second-half scoring before nerves and tiredness began to creep in.

Cambridge cut the gap to one from a corner, then hit a post from a penalty flick before levelling from another corner.

And Havering’s hopes looked to have been shattered as the hosts moved 5-4 up with a hotly disputed goal with only three minutes left.

Goalie Marc Lloyd was withdrawn for a fifth outfield player and Lampkin won a corner, which he pushed out to Dover to tee up Mepham for a superb flick into the roof of the net with only seconds remaining.

Havering: Alastair Lewis, Paul Johnson, Harry Andrews, Stuart Garnell, Paul Dover, Josh Cipa, Connor Poulain, Nick Lampkin, Marc Lloyd, Luke Mepham.

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