Sothern the major threat as Mossley target semis
Mossley coach Ricky Lee will have to come up with a way of stopping Irish international Alan Sothern if his team are to enjoy a second lengthy run in knock-out competitions this season.
The Newtownabbey lads reached the Boxing Day Kirk Cup final before losing to Kilkeel in a shoot-out, but on Saturday they reached the Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals by ousting Belfast Harlequins, this time the shoot-out going in their favour.
Now it's Dublin side Pembroke Wanderers next up with a place in the semi-finals at stake, with the tie earmarked for The Glade this Saturday.
Home advantage may well help Mossley's cause, but unless they can keep the lethal Sothern off the scoresheet, then their chances of progressing to the last four are slim.
Sothern scored twice as Pembroke beat South Antrim 4-3 on Saturday and that takes his tally to over 20 already this season.
That includes 17 from 10 Irish Hockey League games and three from two Irish Senior Cup ties, as well as a few in Leinster's Neville Cup campaign and a couple for the international team.
And that leaves him double the amount ahead of his nearest rival in the IHL scoring charts, a remarkable feat so early in the season.
Sothern certainly enjoys coming north of the border - he scored twice in Pembroke's IHL win at Cookstown, twice in their 3-0 IHL win at Annadale, and now twice in the Irish Senior Cup 4-3 win at South Antrim.
One thing which might work in Mossley's favour, though, is that Pembroke almost threw the game away at South Antrim - they romped to a 4-0 lead but were left desperately trying to hold on as the Lisburn lads pulled goals back through Adam Glass, Chris Henry and Rory Brown.
Mossley needed a shoot-out to finally see off Belfast Harlequins, with Harry Dow their marksman and Luke McClelland keeping up his goalscoring feats for the Quins.
Lisnagarvey's tie against Railway Union was postponed late on after the pitch began to freeze when temperatures dipped, and will have to try a third time to get it sorted.
Meanwhile, Bangor continue to ride a crest of a wave - five days after landing the Linden Cup they ended Kilkeel's unbeaten run in the Ulster Premier League to maintain their top spot.
Ryan Burgess and Michael McCombe were their marksmen in a game which could go a long way in deciding where the title ends up this season.
Eddie Agnew was the Mourne team's scorer but it proved a disappointment after their Boxing Day Kirk up final success.
Instonians remain Bangor's main rivals after William Robinson scored twice in a 4-0 success over Cliftonville which keeps them two points behind the leaders but with a vital game in hand.
There were also wins for North Down when they made the trip to Raphoe (3-0), for Queen's at Antrim (5-2) and Civil Service at home to Newry Olympic (4-3).
Service were trailing 3-1 but fought back to chalk up a win, which sets them up nicely for their Irish Hockey Trophy 1st round tie against Kilkenny at Stormont this Saturday.
Irish Senior Cup 2nd round: Mossley 1 (H Dow) Belfast Harlequins 1 (L McClelland) Mossley won 5-4 after shoot-out; South Antrim 3 (A Glass, C Henry, R Brown) Pembroke Wanderers 4 (A Sothern 2, G Chambers, T Hill); Lisnagarvey v Railway Union (postponed)
Ulster Premier League: Raphoe 0 North Down 3 (J Clarke, G McKeown, P Wilson); Civil Service 4 (E Whittington, D Bradley, R Anderson, C Bannister) Newry Olympic 3 (R Irwin, A Irwin, D England); Instonians 4 (W Robinson 2, J Palmer, S Kelso) Cliftonville 0; Antrim 2 (L Kane, T Allen) Queen's 5 (C Anderson 2, R Wolsely, F Harkins, A Doyle); Bangor 2 (R Burgess, M McCombe) Kilkeel 1 (E Agnew)