Inverleith and Anchor take it to the shootout!

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The dreaded running penalties aren't always an ideal way to finish any match.  But for this final it seemed a fitting end to a really exciting end-to-end game of hockey - a match that, if allowed, could have gone on for hours, with both sides continually cancelling each other out with equalising goals beyond the actual 4-4 score line within the 70 minutes.

Yep, in terms of excitement this was probably the game of the day, played in front of the large crowd that turned out to support.  And it was a tetchy affair as well with two green and five yellow cards being shown to various offenders.  It was a match that was well umpired, with both umpires keeping the lid on a near simmering atmosphere that could have got out of hand but didn't.

The eight goal bonanza, in regular time, got started early by Inverleith in the third minute thanks to Rory MacDougall.  Eight minutes later and Anchor were right back in it with a Chris Caldwell strike, but the men from Edinburgh took the lead again three minutes later with a Paul Taylor goal in a match that was proving engrossing. 

Second half underway, and within seconds of the pushback Anchor got their second equaliser courtesy of Andrew McCrystal.  It had been end to end stuff so far with Anchor probably winning it slightly in terms of possession and chances created - but, Inverleith were highly effective on their breakaways; and they took the lead once again on the 56 minute mark with Hanru Weymeyer slotting the ball home.  The joy was short-lived with Anchor's Stephen Berry scoring, taking this high-charged Plate game to 3-3! 

The really large support got louder and louder as proceedings heaved closer towards a possible penalty shootout.  But, it seemed Anchor were having none of it as they took the initiative 6 minutes from time with an Alan Walker goal.  At that point it looked like Anchor's day...

Not to be...3 minutes to go and Inverleith equalised, with Rory MacDougall getting his second goal of the day. 

And so it went to those running penalties.  Are they exciting?  Well, yes, they definitely are.  But they can be ugly (and comical) to watch a lot of the time, with no real definitive way to execute them it seems.  There's certainly a lot of luck involved as players run into the circle trying to second guess the goalie whilst frantically trying to beat the stopwatch.

This running penalty shootout saw three goals, with two of them from Inverleith. 

And that was that.  Inverleith lifted the Plate after a really great 70 minutes of exciting hockey from both sides.  It could just have easily been Anchor's day had the shootout lottery gone their way.

Anchor hockey club has a long history - they've had their ups and downs like a lot of small clubs - it was great to see them make this final, show piecing in particular the young talent they've got amongst their ranks.

Congratulations to an Inverleith side who brought a mostly young, vibrant side, who, unlike their first team down recent years, resisted the temptation to throw long lofted balls from the back every few seconds.  No, thankfully this was an Inverleith side who played a really good, mostly ground passing game that befitted the occasion - an exciting end to end match, not a bore-fest.

FINAL SCORE:  Inverleith 6  Anchor 5

Overall match entertainment  ★★★★★

Team performances rated:

Inverleith ★★★★☆

Anchor     ★★★★☆

For all the action click here .

Andy Lovat - 07:15hrs - 03/04/2016

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