Old Loughtonians return home and keep Conference East promotion bid alive
Old Loughtonians men’s hockey team keep promotion hopes alive with double win
Old Loughtonians christened their brand new pitch at Luxborough Lane with two wins in two days to keep their promotion push on track.
A 2-1 victory over City of Peterborough on Saturday was followed by a 5-0 demolition of Wimbledon on Sunday, as Loughts moved to second in Conference East.
With work on their new home pitch – which mirrors the turf at the Olympic Park and will be used as a training base during Games time – now complete, Loughts were back at Luxborough Lane for the first time this season, after temporarily relocating to Chigwell School.
Determined to make a flying start to the second half of the season, Loughts moved in front on 17 minutes when Oliver Didham took a quick free-hit and produced a powerful shot that flew into the back of the net.
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The home side had the best moments of an open first half, but City of Peterborough levelled from their first shot on goal with a scooped finish from Gareth Andrew over Stuart Hendy.
Loughts came out after half-time with the same high intensity and pressure as the first half, but lost their shape and let Peterborough back in the game and forced a string of fine saves from Hendy.
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But with three minutes remaining Paul Nicholls took a quick free-hit just outside the circle and won a short corner that Alex Jennings managed to flick low and hard into the bottom corner to claim a vital three points.
The following day Loughts recorded a far more routine victory to keep the pressure on leaders Canterbury.
Didham put the home side ahead on three minutes with his 100th EHL goal and doubled the advantage just two minutes later with a reverse stick shot.
After a fast and furious start the game settled down and it took until the 59th minute for Loughts to rattle in the third – Luke Mepham netting his first goal in two seasons.
A great weekend was complete with two late goals from Ranjeev Deol and Paul Nicholls.
Old Loughtonians will hope to continue their momentum this weekend at home to Teddington on Saturday (2.30pm) and away to Harleston Magpies on Sunday (2.15pm).
? The ladies firsts could not follow suit and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Harleston Magpies on Saturday.
However, Emily Defroand struck the only goal of the game, with an eighth minute penalty corner against Horsham on Sunday to record Loughts second victory of the season.
As a result, Loughts moved up to eighth place – one point clear of the relegation zone.