SALISBURY men’s hockey XI were left to reflect what might have been after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip through their fingers against promotion-challenging Southampton University, who hit back to win 4-3.
The city side had the chances to have the points wrapped up after James Hayward and Rory McTaggart had given them a two-goal cushion, writes Mike Vimpany.
But two good goal-scoring opportunities went begging before the previously subdued students began their comeback, which eventually sent Salisbury home pointless.
Fortunately for them, Salisbury’s rivals in distress - Romsey and Haslemere - at the bottom of Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 both lost, so Salisbury remain two points clear of the drop zone.
Salisbury certainly began brightly at Wide Lane and, with youthful talent Nick Easterby the architect and Tom Morton the eventual provider, James Hayward put the visitors ahead with a trademark tap-in.
When Rory McTaggart doubled the lead, Salisbury were in a position to go on and win the game.
But they allowed two glorious chances to get away – and then felt the backlash.
Weary from early year examinations, University pulled a goal back from an Adam Cope penalty corner drag flick.
Nick Wake equalised soon after half-time, but Chris Warde restored Salisbury’s lead from another set piece.
With a limited 12-man squad, Salisbury found themselves stretched as University stepped up the pressure and eventually took the game away from the visitors.
Wake made it 3-3 with a deflected short corner and then teed up Cope to fire home the students’ drag flick winner.
It was a different story for the ladies, who increased their leading gap to 12 points in West Women’s League Premier Division 2A with a 6-3 trouncing over Gloucester 2.
The ladies travel to Swindon on Saturday.
The men have a rest before they host Basingstoke on Saturday, February 8.