Wests player/coach Darren Manson (middle) talks to his winless team at halftime during Saturday’s A-grade match at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Wests player/coach Darren Manson (middle) talks to his winless team at halftime during Saturday’s A-grade match at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Claudia Baxter

Late strike robs Wests win

WESTS were that close to their first victory of the season they could hear a small celebration building in the dressing room.

However, with just two minutes left, their hopes were shattered.

Toowoomba side Rangeville converted a late penalty corner to secure a 1-1 draw at the Ipswich Hockey Complex on Saturday.

Player/coach Darren Manson put on a brave face as he emerged from a quiet post-game review.

"We're disappointed," Manson said.

"We played well for the majority but just some silly things.

"I'm really happy with the way we're moving the ball around. It's just the last 10 minutes we go back to making some poor decisions and we lose the game because of that.

"We should have won."

Without some key players, including injured playmaker Todd Watson, Wests did well to set up a shot at victory. Watson is expected to be sidelined for three weeks.

"The guys that filled in were probably our best players," Manson said.

Manson was encouraged by the effort of left winger Mitchell Thomas and defenders Lucas Alchin and Aaron Gotting.

Greg Walker scored Wests' goal and goalkeeper Mark Sharrad saved a penalty stroke.

Manson said the Magpies would keep plugging away in the lead-up to the finals.

"We've improved from where we were at the start," the experienced campaigner said.

"We've just got to be more consistent.

"Our fitness is not quite where it needs to be.

"Our skill on the ball in the split decision, we just need to be a bit clearer.

"We're unsure at times . . . and turn the ball over."

Manson came on in the last 10 minutes to try and help his side on Saturday.

"I wanted to watch tonight, I didn't want to play too much," he said. "I might start playing a little bit more now I think."

In the other A-grade men's matches over the weekend, defending premiers Easts hit back from a previous loss to thump Toowoomba Past High 7-0. Steve Bayliss netted four.

Hancock Brothers worked hard for an important 3-2 victory over early pacesetters Norths.



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