Spitfires men dominate contest but come up short against ANU

The Albury-Wodonga Spitfires men suffered their fifth straight loss of the season with a frustrating 2-1 defeat to ANU at Albury Hockey Centre on Saturday.

Despite dominating the contest, the Border side failed to make the most of its chances in attack.

ANU opened the scoring from a short corner, but the Spitfires nabbed the instant reply before half-time through Jeremy Maggs.

The hosts were in control after the break, but couldn’t find the go-ahead goal, before ANU converted another short corner in the 54th minute to take a 2-1 lead.

Just as all seemed lost for the Spitfires, co-coach Jeremy Payne recovered from a poor trap from a penalty corner in the final minutes, before making an excellent run and flicking the ball to an unmarked Charley Wallace at the back post.

However, Wallace couldn’t convert, allowing ANU to escape with the points.

Spitfires’ co-coach Tony Donnolley said it was an extremely disappointing result.

“Our build-up and structure was fantastic first half,” he said.

“They pretty much got one or two short corners against the run of play and managed to get a goal out of it.

“The positive to take out of that was we scored straight after and it was all looking good coming into the second half.

“I thought we’d be able to take it to them and run over them, but we forgot to put in the hard yards again.

“The structure went out the window, the re-leads stopped and people started holding onto it too long.

“We’ve just got to stay positive, we’re rebuilding as a team and haven’t been together really long.”

After an excellent result to start the season in round two, Donnolley said the side can’t afford to dwell on its recent performances.

“It’s only round six and there’s plenty of time to come back,” he said.

“Hopefully we can step up and get on the same page.

“We’ve managed to do it for a half at the moment, but we’ve got to keep it going.

“It’s not like the boys come off gassed or anything, there’s plenty left in the tank.

“I don’t know whether they’re mentally drained or we just seem to be going walkabout.

“I get disappointed, but I see the look of the other boys and there’s no point harping on it, you can see how disappointed they are.”

Experienced duo Matt Bardy and Josh MacVean pulled up sore with hamstring complaints.