North Notts Hockey Club face anxious wait after Sikh Union defeat

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North Notts face an anxious wait to see if they will be relegated after they were beaten 5-3 by Sikh Union.

Jay Faulkner’s men went into their final league game of the season knowing that only maximum points would guarantee safety by moving them into eighth place in the league table.

At present the Manor Park based side are still safe, but with Belper already relegated from the National League back into the Midlands league and Barford Tigers, along with Leek, having to play-off with Teddington there is a possibility that relegation from the Midlands 2 League could see four teams relegated instead of the standard two.

Following the defeat, Faulkner has vowed to make improvements for next season.

“Congratulations to Sikh Union who secured promotion today, again we’ve pushed a top team to their limit and come up short,” he said.

“Next season we will have to learn one way or another to finish these games off if we are to start progressing up the league tables.

“We will be looking to recruit next season and players from local clubs are welcome to enquire about joining into our training sessions as we look to continue to expand the club.”

Notts started the game at a fast pace and could have easily had the game wrapped up by half-time, but for a combination of sloppy finishing and bad luck.

Notts first real chance in the opening exchanges saw them win their first penalty corner on seven minutes, which fizzed wide of the post after a great Will Butler strike.

Two minutes later Notts were again denied with a goalline clearance from an Alex Greer penalty corner which was heading for the goal.

On 20 minutes Notts made the breakthrough they were looking for through Allen Butler.

A period of sustained pressure then saw Notts having to defend quite resiliently and, on 25 minutes, the Alarm bells were again ringing as a Sikh Union short corner fizzed wide of the Notts post.

Five inutes later Sikh Union made there pressure tell by finding the equaliser from a well worked set piece.

Notts went out for their final 35 minutes of the season with the mathematics simple, win and secure safety.

But disaster struck 42 minutes in when Sikh Union went ahead to leave Notts in trouble for the first time in the game.

On 55 minutes Sikh Union scored the goal of the game from a break away.

Three minutes later Notts lost Jephson on a yellow card.

Notts however showed a resilience that will stand them in good stead for next season and, despite the numerical advantage, the Sikhs were struggling to cope with Cooper and Singleton who were running the midfield.

A drilled ball into the “D” found an unmarked Greer who deflected the ball home on 56 minutes to give Notts a glimmer of hope.

The hope was soon diminished when Kanalas was dismissed for another theatrical dive from the opposition.

Notts nine players were unable to quell the Sikh attack who sensed an opportunity to kill off the game and took it on 59 minutes to lead 4-2.

With Notts back to full strength they reduced the deficit to one goal on 64 minutes when Greer added his second from a short corner.

As Notts threw caution to the wind and threw bodies forward it was going to be a make or break final minutes and, unfortunately for Notts, the dying seconds summed up the home side’s season as Sikh union broke away to add a fifth goal and leave Notts awaiting their fate from the play offs in April.