Derwent Hockey Club pinch the points in thrilling finish
DERWENT'S relegation battle took an extraordinary turn when they stole their third successive victory from under the noses of Leicester Thursday in the last four minutes.
Incredibly, all five goals in a largely forgettable East Midlands Premier Division match came in the last 10 minutes – with Leicester blowing a two-goal lead.
Derwent coach Heath Roberts could hardly believe his luck.
"It was the worst we've played all season, so to come away with three points is a bit of a surprise, albeit a very nice one," he said.
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"After our strong performances last week, I felt too many people were taking things for granted and thought all they needed to do was to turn up.
"We got very lucky – and with Nottingham winning, the relegation battle is hotting up.
"We simply can't perform like that again and expect to get away with it."
Defences were firmly on top for the first hour of the game with neither side able to find any fluency going forward.
A goalless stalemate seemed the only logical outcome.
Then, with 10 minutes left, a surreal passage of play unfolded.
Leicester's Chris Sibson, who had been anonymous by his high standards, was left with too much space and he was quick to capitalise.
Seeing Derwent keeper Jamie Carlin coming sliding out, Sibson cleverly lifted and flicked the ball in one motion to open the scoring.
With five minutes left, Sibson scored again, from close range, and Derwent looked dead and buried, their efforts in winning last week's double header wasted.
The slightest glimpse of a lifeline came when Leicester were reduced to 10 men following dissent shown towards the umpire.
It still seemed only a consolation when George Taylor let fly with a well-placed hit outside the area.
The ball flew through a mass of players and deflected off the goalkeeper's foot into the path of Matt Bacon, who claimed the goal from inches out.
With two minutes left, the same approach worked again.
This time, Taylor's cross hit a Leicester stick in the area, looped over the keeper and James Woodard gratefully knocked in his first goal for Derwent.
There were only 30 seconds of normal time on the clock when Derwent secured a penalty corner.
From that, the ball fell to Rich Wildgoose, who had the composure to slot home and the Wirksworth-based side had a valuable and highly improbable three points in the bag.
Derwent have a blank weekend coming up and will hope that Nottingham, a point behind them, will find a trip to promotion-chasing North Notts is too much.