Meteors move into fourth spot after win
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
AN INSPIRED Meteors moved into outright fourth spot with a convincing 3-1 CQ Extended League men's hockey victory over Sparks at Rigby Park on Saturday.
The ledger between the two arch-rivals has tipped in Sparks' favour in recent years but confidence in the Meteors camp appeared sky high on the back of a sensational previous round victory over heavyweights CQU Wanderers.
Among Meteors' best was 15-year-old Mitch Ryan who again stamped his class up front on Saturday.
Ryan nailed the decisive goal in the 57th minute, sealing the result despite Sparks' response through Warwick Smith's two minutes later.
The Meteors teenager said Saturday's victory came as a result of his side's willingness to play an expansive game, stretching the Sparks defence.
"We decided we were going to throw the ball around ... it was good to finish off goals and make our chances,'' he said.
However, he said there was still room for improvement with Meteors' finishing.
Ryan said his confidence was growing with each top grade game he played, an assurance which was apparent in his well-struck shot for goal and general attacking play during which he combined well with veteran Craig Mathison.
Mathison gave his side the early advantage by opening the scoring for Meteors in the 10th minute ? the only goal of a tight first half.
He was unlucky not to add to his tally eight minutes into the second stanza when his shot smacked into the post but team-mate Shannon Bobart was on hand to finish off the rebound. For the second successive week, Sparks were guilty of blowing opportunities in front of goal, ruining good lead-up work and causing a major headache for coach Jason Burns.
In other Extended League results, Southside United upset Park Avenue Brothers 2-1 and CQU Wanderers hammered the hapless Frenchville Rovers 13-0.