Martin strikes late to help knock leaders Gloucestershire off the top

Hockey(29of38)-February 29, 2012

Ian Martin’s last-minute winner saw Swansea University deny Gloucestershire the league title.

While the 3rds are out of contention for the league, the victory has enabled Swansea 2nds to leapfrog Gloucestershire into top spot.

“It was the best finish to a game I’ve played,” said Martin.

“We knew we had a chance to get something out of the game in the second half, which forced us to produce some of the best hockey we’ve played all season.

“With regard to my goal, it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time and being fortunate that it came to me.”

Swansea could not have made a worse start to the match conceding a goal after just 43 seconds.

Gloucestershire’s Toby Devine intercepted a sloppy pass in the Swansea area and put his side in front.

But Swansea came back at the visitors immediately applying pressure and were rewarded in the 17th minute with the equaliser.

A scramble in the Gloucestershire area resulted in the ball rebounding off the post.

And keeper Tom Gill failed to clear the rebound, instead sliced the ball into the net.

And soon after Swansea took the lead when Tom Skirrow struck the ball fiercely from distance into the top corner.

Despite Swansea’s dominance, they were pegged back right on the stroke of half-time, when they failed to clear the ball.

Gloucestershire’s Matt Stillman had time and space and struck low to make  it 2-2.

The second half saw chances for both sides but Swansea’s pressure intensified and eventually told in the final minute of the game.

Great work down the right flank allowed the ball to be cut across goal and Martin turned the ball home for the winner.

His yellow card for removing his shirt while celebrating meant Swansea finished with 10 men but held on.

Swansea 3rds produced a fine display a week later in which they took a point off champions Swansea 2nds.

They will now look towards next season.

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