A stunning last-quarter effort from the Ranchi Rays, led by skipper Ashley Jackson helped them pick up five points and join the league leaders. The Rays defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-2 at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Lucknow on Friday. The Wizards, who were leading for most part of the game were jolted by two goals from Ashley Jackson that came minutes before close of play.
UP Wizards hold on to lead, Sreejesh impresses under the goal:
Ramandeep Singh got the UP Wizards off to a flyer as he managed to find the back of the net in the 4th minute itself with a well-executed reverse-stick shot. The visitors retaliated almost immediately but were denied by Indian custodian PR Sreejesh who made two saves in quick succession to keep his side in the lead.
The Wizards continued to apply pressure in the opponents’ half but could not deliver the finishes that were required. Both Ramandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh were kept under check by the Ranchi defenders and the home side went into half-time with a slender lead.
Ashley Jackson leads fightback for Ranchi:
The Ranchi Rays opened their account in the third quarter through Sarvanjit Singh who converted from a penalty corner in the 45th minute. The visitors decided to up the ante in the fourth quarter as the British duo of Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson breathed fire in the final third. The 48th minute saw Middleton push in a through-pass for Ashley Jackson and the skipper slapped the ball past PR Sreejesh, into the goal. He followed up with another penalty corner conversion in the dying seconds of the game to gain an unassailable 4-2 lead.