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HOCKEY: Relegation fight goes to the final day
6:00am Thursday 14th March 2013 in Sport
SWINDON’S battle to avoid relegation is set to go down to the final day after they slumped to a 3-1 home defeat to Cardiff University.
The Premiership strugglers now sit one place and a single point above the relegation zone, with one game to go away at University of Exeter this weekend.
The Isambard side dominated their visitors during the first half and were in control for long periods, but had keeper Alan Gough to thank as a string of fine saves ensured the score was level at the break.
The second half couldn’t have started any worse for Swindon, and within a minute of the restart Cardiff broke quickly and even a double save from keeper Gough couldn’t prevent the students winning a stroke after Tom Saunders saved on the line.
The penalty stroke was dispatched high into the Swindon goal, but the Wiltshire side continued to battle and the momentum swung with Cardiff Uni reduced to ten men and then to nine men with some poor tackling and disruptive play.
Swindon also saw themselves reduced with Mark Preston being sent out for a poorly timed challenge, but with Swindon down to ten and Cardiff back to full strength it was the home side who found the net thanks to a great finish from Lewis James.
But it didn’t prove enough for Swindon, and the students ran riot in the final minutes of the match, scoring two late goals to seal three points.
Having already won the East Central 1 title, North Wilts travelled to Yate and continued their superb form with a 3-1 victory.
Wilts dictated the pace of the game from the start, and after a succession of short corners Colin Fisher was able to clinically convert to put his side into the lead.
The advantage was doubled thanks to a deflection from Darren Hillier, and although Yate pulled one back, James Towers struck to secure the win.
Wootton Bassett ended their home season in style with a 6-2 victory over West Wilts A, with a hat-trick for Jake Nunns and goals for Mark Turner, Patrick Law and Lawrence Winter completing the scoring.