Hockey: Neave rues ‘sloppy’ play as title race goes to wire

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STUART NEAVE today promised that his Inverleith squad will show a 100 per cent improvement on the final day of the Scottish indoor hockey title race.

The team lost concentration and squandered gilt-edged chances in Saturday’s double-header at Perth.

Neave was frustrated following the 7-4 win over Kelburne after holding a 7-1 lead, only to allow the Paisley side to claim three late goals.

And only a Derek Salmond goal 55 seconds from time 
allowed the Division One pace-setters to squeak past struggling Dundee Wanderers 6-5 in their second outing.

Inverleith, title winners two seasons ago, go into Saturday’s triple-header against lowly Harris, much-improved Edinburgh rivals Grange and Grove Menzieshill, the defending champions, with a one-point advantage.

And Inverleith only have a two-game rest period between their second and third game, while Grove have a four-match break.

Neave said: “Derek (Salmond)
scored his goal with 55 seconds left on the clock against Wanderers and I’m happy that we took six points from the two games.

“However, I’m not happy with the way we played. There were times when we played really good indoor hockey, but we can’t keep throwing away chances. We must have created twice as many opportunities on Saturday than counted as goals and we have to be better.

“We spurned chances in both games and we must take them.”

Neave added: “We have three games next Saturday against Harris, Grange and Grove and, realistically, we need to win two and draw the other to take the title.

“Against Kelburne and Wanderers we lost concentration. We let in three late goals in the last five minutes against Kelburne after being 7-1 ahead and then we were 5-3 up against Wanderers and lost two goals. That was sloppy stuff and we will be 100 per cent better next weekend.”