Saturday, October 10, 2009

Glenanne bow out of maiden EHL

Glenanne bowed out of their maiden EuroHockey League campaign in disappointing fashion as they were thumped 6-1 by Polish champions WKS Grunwald Poznan in Barcelona this afternoon.

In truth, the greens were scarcely in the game as an immaculate Poznan opening sequence, coupled with a tired, nervy looking Glens’ performance meant the game was out of reach at half-time.

It was the second time the Poles had eliminated Irish opposition, repeating their 2007/08 defeat of Pembroke. This was a much more emphatic affair, though.

Barely two minutes had passed when the deadlock was broken when Artur Mikula found all sorts of space down the flank following an error and he played in Patryk Petrykowski for a simple opener.

The lead doubled in fortuitous circumstances – one of three improvised corner efforts as Poznan’s push-out and stopper combo failed to function. The stopper missed the ball but a crash-ball from the 25 was touched in by Szymon Hutek at the back post in the 11th minute.

The Poles were defending the circle brilliantly, using indoor-style tackling to deny Glenanne a single circle penetration throughout the opening 35 minutes.

And when Tomasz Dutkiewicz planted a second corner under Stephen Doran for 3-0 near half time the tie was as good as over. It was another odd effort. Skipping the stopper stage, Dutkiewicz slipped as he shot initially only for the ball to spin around the number one runner Alan Lewis.

It settled nicely for Dutkiewicz to fire in at the second time of asking and he made no mistake. A more direct approach yielded some early dividends with Brendan Parsons finding space from Graham Shaw’s pass while Alan Lewis earned a corner with an inventive run.

It came to nought, though, and Poznan’s third corner put any fight-back firmly to bed. It was not trapped properly for a third successive time but the ball found its way to Mikula on the flick spot. His shot hit the post but dinged out to pusher-out Hutek who scrambled in – 4-0 in the 49th minute.

Mikula made it five a minute into the fourth quarter before Pawel Bratkowski completed the half dozen with the first clean corner of the game, beating sub goalkeeper Gareth Carragher low to the right with six minutes left on the clock.

Glenanne finally got reward for their endeavours when Jonathan Kane’s excellent first-time touch from Eddie O’Malley’s threaded pass but, with 13 seconds to go, it was the epitome of a consolation goal.

The support was more sedate than Friday but still by a distance the biggest and loudest of any club in Barcelona and will likely live on in the EHL’s highlight’s reel. The intense experience, though, left the Glenanne players out on their feet on the final whistle as Poznan go through with UHC Hamburg from Pool H.

* For Frank Uijlenbroek's photos from the game click here and to read the The Hook's live match-tracker, click here.

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