Ramblers win not a stroll for Preston

David Sullivan (right) celebrates scoring the third goal with David Greenough
David Sullivan (right) celebrates scoring the third goal with David Greenough
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Preston Hockey Club 1sts secured their first win of the season in front of a large West Cliff crowd when they ran out 4-2 winners against Cheshire visitors Deeside Ramblers.

It was a dominant and controlled victory by the home side.

Preston started strongly and took the game to Deeside.

Solid defensive work from Jonathan Platt, Taylor and Thompson allowed the midfield freedom to attack hard and open up the opposition.

Despite some promising movement from Deeside’s ex-Pakistani international 
Ali Ghazanfar, Adam 
Wilson had the measure of him and outfought him in all areas.

But it was not until the 15th minute when Preston drew first blood.

David Greenough stole the ball from a Deeside defender, slid the ball to Steve Halfhead who forced his way through two defenders and reverse-slapped the ball to the back post, where the unlikely goalscorer Platt was at hand to find the net.

Preston continued to attack hard down the right with Ben Scott making piercing runs from right-half and giving the Deeside defenders plenty to think about.

Sutcliffe and Wilson linked up well in the middle, and provided the opening for the second goal.

Some neat inter-play allowed Sinclair the space to pick up the ball with his back to goal, jink past the defender and goalkeeper and pass the ball into the empty goal to make it 2-0.

Preston surged forward immediately and Deeside were again caught at the back and the turn-over was won by Preston.

Off the sideline ball, Adam Wilson hit a reverse-stick pass hard through a crowd of players.

But David Sullivan was on hand at the far post to deflect the ball home on the stroke of half-time.

Head coach Peter Nicholson stressed the importance of 
the Preston team 
continuing to play their brand of hockey and tire the opposition out.

And within three minutes of the restart, Preston went 4-0 up, Greenough being the provider as Ben Heywood deflected the ball home at the far post.

Eight minutes later, Deeside found a way through to win a short-corner, which was dispatched high and hard by Ghazanfar.

Despite a number of openings from Preston, including four second-half short corners, they could 
not hit the back of the net again.

Deeside scored a second goal through Joe Wright on 58 minutes, but that was to be the end of the goalscoring for the game.

Preston did have to hang on with nine men for a short period but they weathered the storm.

Nicholson said: “The team performed very well.

“It was extremely pleasing to see the passion and desire combine with the natural 
skill within the squad, 
reaping the rewards on the pitch.

“We look forward to meeting Saturday’s opponents Doncaster.”