It all ends in tears for unlucky Loughts
Old Loughtonians 2 Oxted 2 OLD LOUGHTONIANS men had to fight back the tears in the dressing room on Sunday after their promotion dreams were dashed in the final 45 seconds against Oxted. The Luxborough Lane club went into the fixture in second place in Co
Old Loughtonians 2 Oxted 2
OLD LOUGHTONIANS men had to fight back the tears in the dressing room on Sunday after their promotion dreams were dashed in the final 45 seconds against Oxted.
The Luxborough Lane club went into the fixture in second place in Conference East, needing a victory against their mid-table opponents and hoping that leaders Canterbury could be held or beaten at Holcombe.
With manager Richard Hamilton in regular contact with the game in Kent, Loughts appeared on course for an unlikely turnaround and impromptu party in the dying moments as they led 2-1 and Canterbury collapsed to a 5-3 defeat.
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However, they paid the ultimate price in the final minute, as Oxted launched a counter-attack, were awarded a penalty corner and scored to deny Loughts the chance to play-off for a place in the Premier Division, the top tier of English hockey.
"It was a painful one, the game was there for the taking," said a dejected Hamilton.
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"We should have been probably 6-0 up by half-time. We certainly had the chances to be that far ahead in the game.
"No matter what happened in the other game our aim was to always go out, win and then whatever would be at Holcombe, would be.
"Holcombe, as they said to us they would, gave Canterbury a tough game and obviously came out the victors and we were 45 seconds from victory."
He added, of the mood in the dressing room after the game: "It was very, very quiet. A few of the guys were close to tears.
"Some of the guys just sat there and didn't say anything. It's not the reason why you play sport really, moments like that.
"It's a long season. We started in July and to get within 45 seconds of achieving our goal for the season, and then have it taken away from us, is painful."
Oliver Didham opened the scoring for Old Loughts and, after several missed opportunities, Darren Cheeseman put them two up.
Oxted pulled one back before half time and then, as the home side tried to keep the ball in the corner at the end, the visitors were awarded the decision which cost the Chigwell side the title.
"If the shoe was on the other foot, and we were in that position, I would have expected us to win a penalty corner from the tackle that had gone in," said the manager.
"It was a very big decision for the umpire to make and I think he got it right. I don't have too many complaints about that.
"I've got to look at what our team did and the chances we missed. If we'd have put the chances away in the first half, and a number in the second, then we wouldn't have been in that position to concede a goal in the last minute and knock us out of the title race.