THE ULSTER Elks had to battle hard to overcome a spirited challenge from Dublin side Glenanne as the students progressed to the last 16 with a 2-1 win at Jordanstown on Saturday.
Glenanne had won only one of their Leinster League outings going into the game whereas the Elks are expected to have a realistic chance of retaining their place in the Irish Hockey League for next season.
But the Dublin girls produced a very commited display and will be smarting from the fact they felt the game should have gone into extra time. They had a stoppage time penalty corner ‘goal’ disallowed for obstruction but most witnesses felt the decision was correct.
But the Elks also felt aggreived at a controversial decision when Jayne Clarke appeared to have scored but the ‘goal’ was ruled out after an appeal. As a result the home side had just one goal to show for their efforts at half time and Glenanne sensed a sneaky chance for themselves after that let off.
They equalised in the second half and the Elks never really rediscovered their rhythm so will just be happy that they eventually grabbed a winner.
The result has earned them a second round clash with Ards but they will acknowledge the fact they will need to play better if they are to overcome their top flight rivals.
The Jordanstown side got off to a dream start when Rachel King’s speculative reverse stick effort somehow found it’s way into the net.
The Elks were on top in terms of possession but they were unable to convert any of the chances that came their way as they were denied by the ‘keeper on a couple of occasions.
Caroline Smith had the best chance in the 17th minute but Susan Byrne raced off her line to block the shot in a one-on-one situation.
Kirstie Lammey had a couple of chances to score as she went close without being able to trouble the keeper.
In first half stoppage time Jayne Clarke collected a free from Lammey and fired the ball into the far corner of the net only to have it disallowed in the first of the two controversial incidents.
In the first minute of the second half the impressive Dawn Axon earned a penalty corner but Lammey’s shot from a switch went narrowly wide.
Glenanne got back into the game in the 37th minute when Audrey McCormack embarked on a great run and scrambled the ball home after some last ditch defending failed to avert the danger.
Rachel King had two chances in quick succession first forcing a great stop from Byrne and then shooting into the side netting.
In the 47th minute the Elks got what proved to be the winner as Danielle Wilson rifled the ball home from a set-piece.
At time the Elks lived dangerously and after squandering possession it took a great interception from Wilson to deny Glenanne the chance to equalise.
They thought they had done just that when a last gasp penalty corner found the net but the umpire disallowed it for obstruction and the Elks held on for the win.