Round one of the Lincolnshire Friendly League was held at Spalding with a number of last year’s under-12 players stepping up into the under-14 teams.
The opening game in Division One was between old adversaries Long Sutton A and Spalding Lions – and it was evident this was the first match of the season.
Both teams were a little slow to get into top gear as Long Sutton dominated possession but Spalding defended very well.
Matt Goodley shot wide from a goalmouth scramble while Lucas Thompson, making his debut for Long Sutton, made some excellent runs down the left – feeding Josh Baker who shot wide on a few occasions and found the Spalding keeper on the others. The final whistle blew at 0-0.
Lincoln A are a very strong outfit again this year and showed that they meant business with a 3-0 victory over Louth.
They passed the ball fluently and will be a handful all year.
Bourne-Deeping played out another 0-0 draw with Lincoln B as both keepers made some impressive saves.
Spalding took on Louth and followed the pattern of the morning with a 3-0 win over Louth.
They were starting to play the flowing hockey expected of them and moved the ball very well.
Long Sutton won by the same scoreline against Bourne-Deeping.
Thompson continued to open up the left-hand side with his penetrating runs. One of these led to a short corner which was duly converted by Goodley.
Will Taylor, playing on the right of midfield, proved that Sutton can attack both sided and some great interplay in midfield led to Taylor smacking it home for 2-0.
Goodley rounded off the scoring with a rebound from a Thompson shot after another fine save from the keeper.
Lincoln A beat their Lincoln B team-mates 3-0 and Spalding lost 1-0 to Bourne-Deeping who again defended very well and counter-attacked with purpose to register a great win.
Long Sutton A took on Lincoln A in the top-of-the-table clash.
Sutton attacked from the off using the width of the pitch and were unlucky on a number of occasions, finding the Lincoln keeper on top form stopping everything sent his way.
In the Sutton goal Brad Whitmore cleaned up anything that got through the solid defence of captain Tom Burton and vice-captain Ed Lanning.
One Whitmore save showed that hard work in training does pay off and 0-0 was probably a fair result, although a short corner on the final whistle led to a chance for Goodley but he couldn’t make it go goalwards.
Spalding Lions lost to Lincoln A 2-0 despite having chances to register.
Long Sutton got another 3-0 win against Lincoln B.
The selfless passing and vision paid off handsomely as the Sutton goals came from passes inside the D when the shot was on.
The first goal was a short corner which looped to hit the backboard from Baker.
The second goal came from Thompson’s mazy run down the left, drawing the keeper and then slipping to Goodley to score.
Baker hit the post twice before a Taylor run led to Thompson scoring his first goal for the Green Army.
Long Sutton scored five goals without reply past Louth.
Thompson had yet another run, beating two players before cutting inside and finding the back of the net early on.
Taylor passed to Baker to make it 2-0, Goodley ran through and laid on Baker’s next goal before Taylor scored again and Baker rounded it off with another goal after Charlotte Maplethorpe had a good effort saved by the Louth keeper.
Lincoln topped the group and deservedly so but on this showing it will be a very close season.
They will be strong all year, Spalding have players to come back and will continue to strengthen and Long Sutton showed they have strength in depth and players who wear the green with pride.
A great start and the passing, fluid hockey was beautiful to watch especially so early in the season.