Spalding Tigers finished one point ahead of Long Sutton A at the top of Under-12 Division One in round two of the Lincolnshire Friendly League for boys and girls at Lincoln.
Spalding Lions were runners-up in Division Two behind Horncastle who had a 100 per cent record.
Sutton’s B team – who finished in fourth place – started their life in the top league with three new players in Charlie Roberts, Harry Walsh and Joshua Lambert and without their co-captain Hannah Baker.
The opening game saw Spalding beat Lincoln 3-0 with James Mayhew leading the way ably supported by Joe Maltby.
Long Sutton A started against Bourne Deeping who asked the first questions of the goalkeepers.
Alfie O’Shea had to be alert to keep out an early attack while Emmy Gittins was attacking down the left whenever possible as Sutton started to create chances and short corners.
From one of these, Josh Baker found some space to slam home from close range. This settled the Sutton side and good work from Connie Gittins and Jacob Synnott allowed Baker to make it 2-0.
Long Sutton B took on Louth and were content to stay defensive until they became comfortable.
During this time Louth attacked with purpose but they were kept at bay until a crisp shot found a way past Pablo Batista.
This spurred Long Sutton on and they started pushing forward through Roberts, McKenzie East and Maisie Sullivan.
One attack found East on the top of the D who played the ball to the far post where Sullivan gratefully received it but instead of shooting at the angle, dropped it back to Walsh who scored his maiden goal for Long Sutton.
Sutton continued to push forward and Roberts drove thorough the midfield and into the D before rifling home to open his account. Louth attacked but found Jess Burton and Lambert in solid form.
Bourne Deeping took on Spalding who ran out 5-1 winners while Lincoln drew 1-1 with Louth.
Long Sutton A put three without reply past their club-mates.
The A team played good passing hockey but were kept away from goal for much of the game. A succession of short corners resulted in Baker scoring past the unfortunate Batista.
Baker doubled his tally before Jude Thompson made space for himself and calmly scored the third.
Louth took a surprise lead before Spalding started to gain control and another run from Mayhew led to the equaliser. Maltby added a couple more before Louth pulled one back, only for Spalding to get their fourth.
Long Sutton A played Lincoln and this was more even than the 3-0 scoreline.
The first goal came from a fortuitous break of the ball to Synnott who broke forward before Jude Thompson continued to press and found Gittins on the far post for a well-deserved goal.
Kieron Smith was playing soundly and Sutton made space for Gittins to score her second after good work from her sister Connie on the left-hand side. Thompson scored his second of the day.
Long Sutton B played Bourne Deeping and spent most of the game defending.
Burton, Lambert and Batista kept the score at 0-0 and Bourne Deeping were probably unlucky to come away with the draw, although Walsh did have the chance to steal all three points near the end.
Long Sutton A took on Spalding in the most anticipated game of the day.
Spalding controlled the early possession without creating a chance until Mayhew went on a run and got clear to unleash a shot which left O’Shea no chance.
This spurred Spalding on and the second goal quickly followed through Mayhew again.
Sutton, for once, were unable to answer Spalding’s questions and they completed the scoring to make it 3-0 towards the end. On the balance of play and control, Spalding fully deserved their victory.
Long Sutton B took on Lincoln but found this to be a tough match.
Bourne Deeping won 3-0 against Louth before Long Sutton B took on Spalding.
They showed a steely determination to stop Mayhew and Spalding. This did include putting their bodies on the line as Lambert took one to the chest, East found the ball smacking into his shin and Batista stopped everything. Burton cleared one of the line, Batista made one excellent save but the ball dribbled towards the goal only for East to clear the ball.
Sullivan was breaking up anything she could in midfield but Spalding kept pushing more players forward in search of the goal and one Spalding attack led to Batista kicking clear. The ball went straight up the middle to Walsh who was unmarked. He ran the length of the Spalding half and slammed the ball past the keeper.
This was a shock scoreline and still Spalding were denied.
Eventually, however, Mayhew got his reward for his running with the ball and managed to score the equaliser.
The game continued to be played in the Sutton D and when the final whistle went, the delight on the Sutton faces was only matched by the despair on Spalding’s. The B team showed that with hard work and commitment, anything is possible.
Long Sutton A played Louth who again started well by scoring the first of the game.
Sutton responded with the desire which was missing from their previous outing. Baker ran through and scored four, Emmy Gittins finished off some great play with a good goal and Thompson got his name on the sheet.
Lincoln finished off with a 1-0 loss against Bourne Deeping.
Long Sutton player of the tournament was Walsh whose running and commitment, tackling and shooting will make him one to watch in the next few years.
Mayhew, who ran every defence ragged and played very well, must take the pundits choice for Spalding alongside Maltby who scored nine goals.