Harrogate Hockey captain Graeme Bevington says that his side can now target finishing in the top half of North Division One after a crucial 3-2 win away at Crewe Vagrants, writes Rob Stanworth.
The three points moves ‘Gate up to sixth position ahead of the visit of Sheffield Hallam this weekend (midday push back), a result which importantly creates an eight-point cushion from the bottom three sides.
The skipper left his players in no doubt that the pressure was on them ahead of the visit to Crewe, knowing that a defeat would have pulled Harrogate into a relegation scrap.
However, he was pleased with how his troops rose to the occasion and believes that his side can now look upwards rather than over their shoulders.
At a windswept Crewe, Stu Norman gave Harrogate a deserved early lead when he reacted quickest to deflect home a short corner, before Russ Bowen fired home after creating space to get a shot away.
Harrogate’s two goals were sandwiched by a brace of short corner conversions from Crewe’s only attacking weapon, but ‘Gate headed into the half-time break with the lead as Joe Horne found the net shortly before the break.
The score line remained the same at full-time, but ‘Gate were frustrated that they wasted numerous chances which kept the game in the balance.
Bevington said: “With this being the first game after the Christmas break I was very pleased with the commitment and work rate. We completely dominated and the score line doesn’t do us justice.
“There was rustiness to our play at times and we’ll need to work hard at training this week as there will be tougher tests.
“Hallam will be a much more difficult opponent on Saturday and we need to make sure that we match our level of effort from last weekend while being more clinical in front of goal. We’ll be missing Nick Wilcock and Othon Sennett, which leaves us a bit light defensively, while it looks like Steve Couture will be out for the season which is disappointing for him and us.”
Harrogate’s ladies side failed in their bid to make a winning start to the second half of their North Division One campaign as they went down 3-2 to Morpeth.
They are also in action at Granby on Saturday, taking on Wakefield (1.30pm push back).