The Isle of Man’s under-16 boys’ team battled their way into the final of the England Hockey Tier 2 Plate with a hard-fought 3-0 win over Guildford B at Horsham.
From the whistle it was clear that the Manx boys were the more skilful team, but Guildford were physical and well organised.
An early short corner for the Isle of Man went over the bar and then the Guildford keeper pulled off the first of several impressive saves to keep the scoresheet blank.
The remainder of the first half was a battle for dominance with the IoM holding their own against some robust Guildford tackling.
Early in the second half Kyle Gunnion held up the ball well on the edge of the Guildford area and fired the ball in for Cory Corkhill to control and strike a powerful shot to put the island side one up.
Guildford were stung into a strong response, with the IoM back line of Liam Taverner, Archie Cox and Corbin Stewart holding off waves of pressure, and Tom Babb making an important save.
This was interspersed with regular forays forward by the IoM, with the Guildford keeper again keeping his side in the game.
A second breakthrough came with 10 minutes to go as sustained midfield pressure by the IoM culminated in Joe Savage forcing his way into the area past a crowd of Guildford defenders and tucking the second goal away.
Further Manx defending ensued until a burst through midfield by Leo Plass put Cameron Roome into the Guildford area and he evaded a tackle and knocked the ball into the net with a one-handed shot.
Guildford pressed again but it was the IoM who had the last goal attempt, again saved well by the Guildford keeper.
This was the hardest game of the campaign for the Isle of Man boys and they came through it with great character and determination. Archie Cox and Leo Plass were joint winners of the team vote for man of the match.
The final will take place in Nottingham a week on Sunday, April 2.