South Saxons Hockey Club’s men’s first team missed out on reaching a county final in agonising fashion.
Saxons were edged out 6-5 on penalty flicks after their Sussex Plate semi-final at home to Penguin on Saturday finished 2-2 in normal time.
With a couple of key players missing, unbeaten Sussex Open Hockey League Division One leaders Saxons knew they were in for a tough game against second-placed Penguin as they returned to action after the festive break.
The opposition was in fine form. Playing the ball around and over the Saxons players, Penguin took a 1-0 lead at half time. Saxons were quick off the mark at the start of the second period, though, and equalised when an Alex Coombs run and cross presented Olli Beal with an easy tap in.
Saxons sustained the pressure and took the lead when Beal deflected home Andrew Orr’s pass from the edge of the D.
A rare lapse in the Saxons defence in the dying minutes, however, allowed Penguin to level things up again and force a penalty shoot-out.
Both goalkeepers made great saves from each team’s first flick, but the others went in and it went to sudden death. After Penguin scored, stand-in Saxons captain Paddy Cornish saw his effort saved and Penguin went through to a final against Middleton.
Saxons will begin the second half of their league campaign this coming Saturday with a tricky trip to fifth-placed Horsham III. They will again be without holidaying skipper Jamie Busbridge.
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