Late Netherlands goal leaves Havant in fear of relegation

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The Independent Online
HOCKEY

Matthew Cross, with an inspired second-half performance, led a brave fightback for Havant yesterday in the European Club Championship here, but his tormenting of the Amsterdam defence was to no avail as Jacques Brinkman snatched a 69th-minute goal to give the Dutch team a 3-2 win and a place in today's final against Uhlenhorst, the German champions. Havant must now beat Royal Baudouin from Belgium to keep England's place in the A Division.

Havant started brightly yesterday, but two controversial decisions by the German umpire Christian Siebrecht saw them go into the half-time interval two goals down.

The Australian international Graham Reid gave the Dutch the lead in the ninth minute with Edwin Peters putting them further ahead 10 minutes before the interval.

Cross led Havant's fightback, creating a series of chances which failed to produce goals before winning a penalty corner in the 58th minute. Although Calum Giles's first two attempts were saved, he succeeded from the third.

Two minutes later, Cross ripped through the Dutch defence to hit the upright, winning another corner as the ball was scrambled away. Giles's scoop was blocked, but it fell to Don Williams who won a penalty stroke as he was bundled off the ball. Giles converted from the spot.

Havant, with the prospect of a bronze-medal game in sight, went flat out for victory, but sadly conceded the goal to Brinkman on the break.

In Utrecht, Balsam Leicester were beaten 1-0 by Berliner in the women's A Division and like Havant must win today when they play Swansea to keep England's A Division place.

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