Harris pegs back Nottingham University to send Khalsa top

Khalsa break forward at pace during their 2-0 win over Belper last Saturday. Picture: Jass Lall
Khalsa break forward at pace during their 2-0 win over Belper last Saturday. Picture: Jass Lall

Khalsa top the Midlands Premier on goal difference after coming from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to title rivals Nottingham University on Sunday.

Khalsa went into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over Belper the previous day which put them level on points with the students and Leek at the summit of the table.

Aaron Nagra and Ben Scott had scored Khalsa’s goals in the win over the Derbyshire side, with Nagra flicking home a short corner and Scott converting a penalty stroke after a shot had been stopped on the line illegally.

The following day, Khalsa were looking to take advantage of their game in hand on Leek to move three points clear.

However, they came up against an energetic Nottingham University side and both teams cancelled each other out as they pressed high up the pitch.

A reverse-stick effort from Stuart Gooderham failed to hit the target but spurred the home side on to win two successive penalty corners for Aaron Nagra, both of which were charged down by the onrushing defenders.

Nottingham University responded with a penalty corner of their own but they were denied by a solid save low to keeper Elliot Rider’s left.

The game opened up after the break with both teams pushing for an opener.

A piercing run into the Nottingham circle from Gooderham invited some last-ditch tackling and earned Khalsa a penalty stroke after a shooting chance was denied.

David Harris stepped up and slotted the ball home to give Khalsa the lead.

Excellent defensive work from Jo Colantonio in the wider areas restricted Nottingham’s space but a break down the baseline and a bobbled cross was deflected into the net for a fortunate equaliser.

Buoyed by the leveller, Nottingham won another penalty corner after Chris Darling brought down a Nottingham attacker.

However, a great save from Rider and excellent mopping up from Scott Angliss and Ben Stephenson ensured the score remained level.

Nottingham University were not to be denied, though, and after Rider had produced an excellent save to keep out a shot on the counter, the ball fell kindly for a visiting player to flick home.

Behind for the first time in the match, Khalsa went all out in search of an equaliser.

Some direct hockey from Alex Idoine and Amritpal Atwal created issues for the Nottingham defence but clearcut chances were at a premium.

Another short-corner routine from Khalsa ended with Harris deliberately fouled in the circle to earn the hosts another penalty stroke.

However, this time Harris was denied by an upright.

Khalsa’s last throw of the dice saw a shift in formation and Harris was to make amends for his penalty miss late on.

A piercing run from Gooderham took him into the circle and he squared the ball for Harris to drill home and earn Khalsa the most valuable of points.