Kelburne Lose on Penalties

Kelburne lost out 5-4 to French side St Germain in a penalty shoot-out on Monday after the sides were locked 2-2 in normal time, leaving the Scots sharing bottom place with Polish side Pocztowiec Poznan in the European Club Championships in Bloomendaal.

However, the Paisley outfit are fortunate there is no automatic relegation this year, as this competition is to be replaced by the new Euro-Hockey League next season.

The first penalty barrage ended 3-3, with only Michael Christie, Niall Stott and Chris Nelson finding the target. But in sudden death Mark Ralph scored, then Christie`s next effort was saved by the French goalkeeper, and the tie was cruelly lost.

It all started so well for Kelburne as they went ahead in only eight minutes with a lofted pass from Mark Ralph finding Kenny Bain on the left side of the circle, his square pass was swatted home by Gareth Hall.

Poor defending let the St Germain back into proceedings. Goalkeeper Mark Fulton made a brilliant double save, but the French were allowed time to slot home the rebound. Midway through the half Kelburne went behind to a penalty corner, despite Chris Nelson blocking the initial shot.

Kelburne appeared to be back in business when a Mark Ralph drag-flick appeared to hit the stomach of a defender on the line, but the umpire waved play on. Just on the interval, a great passing move between Niall Stott and Chris Nelson opened up the French defence, and Gordon McIntyre was available at the left hand post to tuck the ball away for the equaliser.

The second half was splattered with missed chances as Hall, Stott and Jonny Christie all found the goalkeeper rather than the net, but the heat of the occasion took its toll as Kelburne played out the closing minutes with only nine players, Stott and Kenny Bain finding their way to the sin bin.

But Stott almost stole the show when he returned to the fray in the final minute. He waltzed into the French circle, but his square pass to Jonny Christie went behind him and the chance was spurned.