Long Sutton Hockey Club Ladies’ F+irst team were left to reflect on missed opportunities after letting a two-goal lead slip in their game against lower placed Cambridge University Thirds on Saturday.
Sutton started well but the early exchanges were fairly equal.
The first real chance of the game fell to the University side on eight minutes but Sutton keeper Lorraine Wallis cleared with her right boot.
Two minutes later, Sutton took the lead. Charlene Leuty collected the ball from some good work down the right by Leah Goodley. Leuty then switched play across goal, finding centre forward Lyn Tancred in clear space to tap in from close range.
Sutton failed to press on from their early advantage and Wallis was called upon to make a couple more saves to deny Cambridge.
Sutton’s back four of Rachael Gadsden, Tania White, Gemma Parr and Lisa Baker found themselves being tested and the midfield was at times overrun by the university’s energetic attacking line.
However, with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Sutton started to play at a level commensurate with their league position. Connie Gittins went close after receiving a smart pass from Emmie Gittins, and a minute later another good effort from Gittins was thwarted.
Sutton stepped up the pressure on the university defence and, on 32 minutes, from a quickly taken free hit, Leuty found Jess Hudson on the left. She passed to Tancred, who fired across goal finding Gittins well placed to smartly steer the ball past the helpless Cambridge keeper, to put Sutton 2-0 ahead.
At this stage, Sutton might have been expected to ease past the university side in the second half, but their opponents had other ideas.
Tancred had a couple of half chances and Louise Southgate on the right threaded two great passes into the D but no-one could take advantage. At the other end, Jo Bland had to clear a goalbound effort from a Cambridge short corner.
With 16 minutes remaining Sutton conceded from a break down the centre left. A neat pass picked out Rachael Roberts, unmarked to the right of the goal, and she fired past the sprawling Wallis to reduce Sutton’s lead to one goal.
Sutton had a great opportunity to quickly restore their two-goal advantage following a strong break by Leanne Woodhead, but Tancred was unable to apply the finishing touch when one on one with the keeper.
Cambridge sensed they could rescue something from the game but it took an uncharacteristic error of judgement by Wallis in the Sutton goal to give them their equaliser.
Instead of allowing a hopeful punt from the Cambridge midfield to roll harmlessly over the goal line, Wallis, eager to speed up the game, kicked back.
However, the firmly hit effort went back from where it had come. This gave Cambridge the opportunity to surge forward and Hannah Roberts was on hand to fire home to level the scores.
Sutton’s player of the match was Charlene Leuty, who worked tirelessly and had a hand in both her side’s goals.