Nick Finlayson in action earlier this year. He scored for Dalefield on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough. PHOTO/FILE

HOCKEY

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Farriers Dalefield premier men’s player-coach Dane Lett had spoken last week of the dangers a side like Northern United could pose for his team, and he was proven right as Northern claimed an upset 3-2 win on Saturday.

Lett was unavailable for the match due to a Black Sticks training camp in Auckland, while three others were away with the Capital Under-18s.

Dalefield would still have expected to have enough firepower to get the job done, but the loss means their two defeats this season have come against teams in the bottom three on the points table.

Dalefield have now won nine of their 11 matches and are tied with Hutt United at the top of the table on 30 points, although Hutt United have a game in hand and a far superior goal difference.

Luckily for Dalefield, it is really only a two-team race for top spot in the competition because third-placed Naenae have only won five of their 10 matches and sit on 16 points.

Dalefield assistant manager Mike van Woerkom said they had been on the back foot early.

“We were chasing the game the whole time.

“After three minutes, their striker scored a cracker of a goal from the top of the circle.”

Dalefield had at least four chances to score in the first quarter, but it wasn’t until the closing stages that Rowan Yeo finally found the back of the net to level the scores.

The second quarter was goal-less, but Northern again hit the front early in the third quarter when the ball was smashed into the circle and deflected into the goal.

Dalefield responded quickly, and it was Nick Finlayson who equalised two minutes later.

The rest of the match was an arm wrestle for both sides, but it was Northern who had the final say with seven minutes remaining when they worked the ball into the circle and scored.

Van Woerkom said Dalefield had created plenty of opportunities, but their opposition had simply wanted it more and taken their chances.

“They just wanted it a bit more than we did and we made too many mistakes.

“We had some poor option-taking and a lack of finishing which hurt us in the end.”

Dalefield will be looking to bounce back when they host bottom-placed Kapiti at Clareville next weekend.