HOCKEY: Long Sutton all set for derby day

Long Sutton and Spalding meet again on Saturday
Long Sutton and Spalding meet again on Saturday

Long Sutton ladies first team returned to winning ways ahead of Saturday’s derby date with Spalding.

They kept in touch at the top of the table with a 3-0 victory at Cambridge Nomads.

With two draws since the festive break, Sutton went into the game with a slight change of formation to combat some gaps that the opposition had been taking advantage of.

The opening 30 minutes were a very tight affair with both teams closing down and cancelling each other out.

Leanne Woodhead missed two golden opportunities to put Sutton ahead, skying the ball over the goal on both 
occasions.

The defensive unit of Rachel Gadsden, Lisa Baker, Tania White and Jo Bland restricted Nomads to only a couple of incursions into the D which keeper Lorraine Wallis dealt with comfortably.

The midfield quartet of Louise Southgate, Leah Goodley, Charlie Leuty and Connie Gittins – along with replacements Emmie Gittins and Jess Hudson – began to exert more pressure which brought the two forwards of Woodhead and Lyn Tancred into the game.

With little more than a minute to the interval, Sutton were awarded a penalty corner.

Woodhead’s strike found Baker who expertly went around the keeper and stuck the ball towards the backboard from close range.

Ten minutes into the second half, Sutton again penetrated their opponents’ D with the ball breaking to Emmie Gittins whose shot at goal was deflected over the line by a Nomads foot.

However, the umpire had stopped play and gave Sutton a flick instead of awarding the goal.

Up stepped White from the back to place the ball crisply to the keeper’s right and Sutton had doubled their 
advantage.

Another attack on the left flank saw Southgate lash a shot high towards the goal for skipper Woodhead to divert the ball into the top corner for a 3-0 lead to complete a great all-round performance.