Ben Rhydding's young battlers are defeated by Oxton in thriller

Ilkley Gazette: Ben Rhydding's George Sweeting on the floor as Harry Sherlock looks on Ben Rhydding's George Sweeting on the floor as Harry Sherlock looks on

Oxton 5 Ben Rhydding 4

Ben Rhydding had to turn to their talented young players when injuries robbed them of a number of their key personnel and they put up a brave fight in theie Men's North Premier League match.

Oxton are an experienced outfit but they were pushed all the way by Rhydding who can draw confidence for the second half of the season from this display.

The visitors had to mop up early pressure but they executed an intelligent press that forced the ball onto Danny Foster at half back which allowed them to counter attack.

The attack was looking lively with Will Musgrave giving another superb performance. He created an array of glittering chances Oxton’s keeper was in exceptional form and had to make a number of impress- ive saves to keep Rhydding out.

It was against the run of play that Oxton scored the first goal.

A penalty corner strike hit the post and fell nicely in the path of an Oxton forward who smashed it across goal for his colleague to tap in.

Rhydding replied within a minute when Musgrave crossed for Callum Franks to slot away the chance.

Oxton made it 2-1 after capitalising on poor marking and extended their lead with a penalty stroke. Oxton might have thought the game was turning in their favour but Rhydding had other ideas.

Another immaculate delivery into the circle from Will Musgrave found Elliot Dowley. He coolly picked his spot and flicked it past the keeper.

Musgrave dealt the first blow in the second half with a stunning reverse shot to equalise.

However, within minutes Oxton had Rhydding on the back foot.

The visitors had two players sent off and they they had to soak up intense pressure with just nine men on the park.

Thoughtful and composed defending from Andy Clem- erson and Ali Jordan saw their side through this patch and Rhydding even managed to create chances.

Josh Sykes was solid at centre half and Kieran Borrett ran the midfield ragged, breaking lines over and again.

Harry Sherlock found his legs and put some beautiful connections together.

Back to full strength, Rhydding took the game to Oxton and in a bold onslaught, the Oxton keeper made a series of five saves before Connor Dowley shelled the ball into the top corner.

Rhydding were unable to hang on. Oxton put in a last shift that was to see them equalise from a corner.

Both sides now battled for the winner and it was Oxton who got the decider from a fast break.

The result was disa- ppointing for Rhydding but the spectators enjoyed the entertaining hockey.

Rhydding resume their campaign on January 11 against Doncaster away.

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