The South West Strikers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they crashed to a 3-2 loss to lowlyWhitfords in their Willow Bridge Cup clash at the Busselton Hockey Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Leading 2-0 with 15 minutes to go, the Strikers were sunk by a three-goal salvo fromTodd Mulloy, who celebrated completing his hat-trick barely seconds from the final siren.
The 2-0 half-time lead, courtesy of striker Sean Beckett, who reeledin a stray pass and dived headlong to finish his slap shot at the 26-minute mark, and Liam Cremen on the cusp of the break, was well deserved. Whileit was not the Strikers’ best half of hockey, with a swag of great chances going begging, the South Westers were still on top.
Features of the first half were good defence from Tom Payne and Phil Moore, but agonising misses at the other end as the home team missed many opportunities to be further than two goals ahead.
One of the Strikers’ best, Moore, showed his character with a magnificent save on theline when he atoned for a wayward pass a few seconds earlier that put the Strikers in jeopardy.
The home team controlled an entertaining match until those final fateful 15 minutes, and while Whitfords scored three goals in that time there was still a reverse stick Strikers’ shot that flew just past the post, an unlucky missed deflection and two short corners superbly saved by Whitfords goal keeper Mike Smith.