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By Jamie Arrowsmith Wednesday 06 March 2013 Updated: 06/03 19:33
Olton and WW 3 Sheffield Hallam 3
EHL Northern Conference
OLTON put a severe dent in Sheffield’s title chances at Grange Road on Sunday when securing a creditable draw against the high-flyers.
It could have been even better for the hosts as they held a two-goal lead at one stage but the visitors battled back to avoid falling to a fourth defeat of the campaign.
Sam Mee got Olton off to the perfect start when continuing his recent run of good form by striking in the third minute.
The lead was quickly doubled when James Simpson won a penalty corner after embarking on a trademark mazy run. The initial effort at goal was saved but man of the match Andrew Brookes was on hand to hammer home the rebound and complete the scoring for the first half.
Sheffield struck from a penalty corner two minutes into the second half to cut the gap to one and the contest became frantic from that point.
A couple of wild challenges saw Olton lose players to the sin bin but they managed to steady the ship before moving 3-1 ahead in the 49th minute when Mee broke down the right and crossed for Martin Webb to finish calmly at the back post.
Sheffield struck twice in the next ten minutes to set up a nervous and tense finale but neither side was able to find the crucial goal as both had to settle for a point.
THE Ladies improved their chances of beating the drop with a 5-4 Premier Division victory at Sutton Coldfield.
Olton remain in the relegation-play off place in the table but with three games to go their hopes of catching University of Birmingham, who they play in the final game of the season, remain alive.
Emma McCabe went close for Olton in the early stages but it was Sutton who struck first when Jane Sixsmith netted in the fifth minute.
Lucilla Parkes was having a big impact on the game on her return to action and it was she who set up Amy Hone to level with her first touch of the game in the seventh minute.
Pascale Massey impressed again and put Olton 2-1 ahead three minutes later before Parkes and Kerry Thompson-Moore made it 4-1 by the 22nd minute.
Sutton scored twice in the next six minutes to trail by just one going into the break, setting up an intriguing second half.
McCabe gave Olton breathing space again in the 44th minute but Sutton refused to lie down and made it 5-4 from a short corner in the 61st minute.
Olton ensured they did not concede again though with the defence holding firm for the remainder of the contest to give renewed hope they can beat the drop in the final three games of the campaign.
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