HOCKEY: Long Sutton take lead in derby but lose to Bourne Deeping at Peele Leisure Centre
Long Sutton Ladies were in confident mood going into this game, even though results have not gone their way of late.
Even a forced change to the starting line up, due to injury to centre back Maisie Sullivan, didn't dampen their spirits, with Lisa Baker stepping once again into the fold.
With coach Neil Evans in attendance for the first time this season, the instructions were to go for the jugular from the off, with a short corner or a goal the target within the first eight minutes of the game.
Sutton didn't disappoint, starting with great work rate and determination. The goal came from a clearance out of defence, passed through the mid-field with speed and Emmy Gittins on hand to smash home. In about 8-10 minutes, as requested.
Sutton, however, were not able to add to their tally and Bourne Deeping slowly began to have more attacks.
A short corner was dealt with well by the defence; however a carbon copy, a few moments later, was dispatched for 1-1. This knocked Sutton's confidence and unfortunately, Bourne Deeping were able to capitalise, as one of their forwards slipped past Sutton's defence to run at the back line and pass across goal, only for the unfortunate Jess Burton to inadvertently slot home.
At half-time, the talk from the coach was that this was a close game in which the home side had had the better of the chances in the first half and was one that we could certainly go on to win.
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The second half was pretty much dominated by Sutton and chance after chance went begging. Great workrate from captain Jo Bland, who was linking well with the midfield of Jemima Dodd and Emmy Gittins and some super running from forwards Amber Jones and Connie Gittins all came to nothing.
Bourne Deeping were dangerous on the counter but the ever-calm presence of Tania White mopped up for Sutton. However, an unfortunate slip by Baker led to a carbon copy of Bourne Deeping's second goal, with keeper Lorraine Wallis static as the ball was played across goal and tapped in, despite the best efforts of Lauren Cooper.
Hannah Baker was thrown into the fold in attack to try to force something out of the game, but unfortunately, she was not able to conjure up the goal which would have led to a tense finish. She did, however, show that she is more than capable of playing the two steps higher than is normally asked of her.
Halfway through the league and joint bottom, now is not the time for panic, but for calm heads and hard work in training to try to turn this season around.
To their credit, although the chips are down, the spirit on the pitch was not lacking and Sutton are determined to turn it around together.