Three late goals delivered a harsh lesson for Eastbourne Hockey Club as they squandered a two-goal lead to suffer a crushing defeat to Oxford Hawks.
The home side were two goals to the good and cruising thanks to strikes from James Caffyn and Pat Skinner, but a lack of concentration in a crucial final ten minutes saw Oxford find their way back into the contest.
At 2-2, Eastbourne missed a penalty and they were harshly made to pay for their wasted opportunity as Hawks sealed the 3-2 win with the very last hit of the m atch.
Manager David Adelston believes, though, that the no doubt deflating defeat will help teach his young squad a lesson ahead of their tough clash with second-placed Brighton this weekend.
Adelston said, “The result is extremely disappointing but we are becoming more and more competitive.
“Chris (Bristow, first team coach) is both encouraged and frustrated - encouraged by our improving performances but frustrated by our lack of composure.
“We have a very young side where only two of the players are over 25 and so they have a lot to learn.
“Our last few games have been very tight but we’ve been playing very, very well so need to start picking up points from these matches.
“Brighton are flying at the moment and I don’t think many will expect us to get anything from them, but it will be an interesting game.
“Team sports are all about how you learn from defeats and bounce back. Everyone needs to keep their heads and pull togther with some self-belief.”