A SHORT corner blowout robbed the Spitfires of a chance for a major upset in Capital League hockey on Saturday.
The Hockey Albury Wodonga men led 2-0 deep into the first half before giving up two short corners that led to the scores being level at the break.
The story continued in the second stanza with another three short corners all leading to goals for the second placed Old Canberrans.
Spitfires coach Matt Smart said the 7-3 scoreline didn’t reflect the game.
“I just don’t know what is going on — they got five short corners and scored every time,” he said.
“If we can keep them in the field and not give up these goals we win 3-2.
“We were all over them at the start of the game and they couldn’t get out of their own half in the first 25 minutes.
“After the game they admitted they were rattled before the break.”
But hamstring injuries to captain Tony Donnelley and Jeremy Payne limited the Spitfires run in the second half.
“Those injuries reduced our bench and we just ran out of legs late in the second half,” he said.
“Overall our defence was outstanding, the best on the park were Josh MacVean, Andrew Wilkes and Jamin Barrett but it was hard to say there was a bad player out there on Saturday.
“The boys are now getting the system — releasing and pushing up — so that’s the positive we can take out of that.”
Meanwhile, an understrength Strikers came away from the National Hockey Centre with a 2-2 draw against the same foe on Saturday.
Maddison Horsburgh with two “tomahawk” strikes was rated among the best for the Hockey Albury Wodonga women.
Coach Tony Jones said they were a little unlucky not to take all three points.
“Their equaliser in the second half was just one of those goalmouth scrambles and after that we just peppered their goals,” he said.
“It’s a little disappointing not to get the three points but we didn’t die wondering, we threw everything at them late in the game.
“Horsburgh’s two goals came from tomahawks, the first midway through the first half at the end of some great team play.
“With a number of players missing the girls really stepped up — Jade Mann in the starting 11 for the first time, Chloe Jones and Kate Mason were good.”