Doncaster set for vital tussle with Preston

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Doncaster’s men are looking over their shoulder after a 2-1 home defeat to University of Durham.

The reverse left them sixth in the Conference North table.

But they are only five points better off than bottom side Preston who visit Town Fields on Sunday.

In the absence of defensive stalwart Pete Bartlett, coach Alan Stoves reshuffled his back line to try and nullify Durham’s attacking threat and in a high quality first half both sides played some fluent hockey without showing a clinical edge in the attacking circles.

It was a defensive error that led to the opening goal as Durham skipper Rory Patterson took advantage of some indecision in the home ranks to fire past Ashley Watson ten minutes before half time.

Four minutes into the second half Doncaster drew level, with possibly their goal of the season.

A flowing attack down the left released Dan Legg whose stunning cross-field pass found Tom Brickman in space and his pass was neatly deflected home by Jonny Powell.

It appeared that Doncaster were gaining the upper hand and shortly afterwards Durham had Patterson sent to the sin bin for a rash tackle.

But again Doncaster’s concentration lapsed while their opponents were down to ten. Ferdinand Von Oertzen’s cross found its way to Elliott Dowley who finished smartly from close range.

Shortly afterwards Von Oertzen was lucky to stay on the pitch after striking out at Brickman but neither umpire saw the incident.

Doncaster pressed hard for the equaliser but Durham hung on for a hard fought victory to stay fourth.

n Doncaster’s ladies maintained their promotion push with a 3-0 win at Alderley Edge.

They sit in third place in the Northern Premier Division.