Sutton topple promoted Bury with Baker's double at Peele Leisure Centre
LONG SUTTON LADIES' 1STS 2,
BURY ST EDMUNDS 1STS 0
Sutton achieved a morale-boosting win against promoted Bury just a week after a disappointing home loss to Cambridge University 3rds.
The incentive of improving on Sutton's result in the first half of the season, a 2-2 draw at Bury in November 2019, was strong for what looked to be a tough ask at Peele Leisure Centre.
As expected, Bury started the game well and were in control.
However Sutton have established a composure in defence this season which helped keep the visitors at bay.
Goalkeeper Lorraine Wallis could only watch as Lisa Baker, Tania White, Maisie Sullivan and Jess Burton all dealt with the Bury forwards.
With Gemma Parr restored in front of the back four, Sutton gradually began to get a foothold in the game.
Excellent running by Jemima Dodd, Katie Collingwood Smith and Emmy Gittins eventually saw the ball moved forward to Connie Gittins and Amber Jones in search of the all-important opening goal.
Then Sutton won a short corner which found its way to Connie Gittins at the top of the D.
The ball was then slipped through to Hannah Baker whose shot evaded the Bury keeper to give Sutton the lead.
In the second half, Sutton's confidence rose and another short corner led to a doubling of their lead when Baker's shot was inexplicably left by both the Bury defender and goalkeeper to beat them.
Caution was still needed, however, as Sutton had been 2-0 up at Bury before conceding twice to draw the previous game.
This time, however, Bury were unable to make a number of short corners awarded to them count and Sutton can boast in having given up only a single point to the side promoted out of Division 2NW.
LETCHWORTH 1STS 5,
SPALDING 1STS 2
A young Spalding side took on Premier B table-topping Letchworth determined to reverse their 4-3 defeat against the same team last November.
The game started very competitively, however, it was Letchworth who scored first from a debatable short corner.
Spalding lifted their heads and quickly got back into the game with a good goal from Stuart Cunnington who broke into the D with a darting run and gently pushed the ball into the bottom corner.
Letchworth then caught their opponents napping after a mistimed challenge led to another goal for a short corner.
In the second half, Spalding looked like the more dangerous team until Letchworth broke away on a counter-attack and won yet debatable another short corner which they were able to convert.
The same set-piece route was used by Letchworth to stretch their lead to 4-1 before Spalding managed to get a good shot off, only for it to be saved.
But the ball came out to Will Baker who pushed it into the goal.
Unfortunately, as Spalding were celebrating, a Letchworth defender claimed to have kept the ball out and the umpires then disallowed the goal.
Spalding kept pushing and eventually won a short corner of their own which Stuart Cunnington duly converted.
But as the game progressed, Letchworth scored again to seal the win.
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LADIES' 3RDS 2,
SPALDING LADIES 1STS 1
A disorganised start from the Spalding team handed the impetus to the fast Cambridge students in their Division 2NW match.
Fast-paced, slick hockey set up the students to score twice in the 15 fifteen minutes, leaving the visitors dazed.
Spalding then needed to cling on to limit the damage before they could break for half-time.
Two goals down but still feeling they had a chance to fight back in the game, Spalding worked the university's defenders hard, with Charlotte Maplethorpe's pace causing problems.
Meanwhile, Spalding's player of the match Jess Ball worked hard to break down the fluid play of the home team.
Spalding's goal came from a long ball that broke through the Cambridge defence which led to a neat interchange between the forward players, giving Maplethorpe the chance to get a goal back.
Unfortunately, an equaliser never came and Spalding had nothing to show for their endeavours.
LEADENHAM LADIES 1STS 0,
SPALDING LADIES 3RDS 2
Spalding followed up their derby win against Bourne Deeping 3rds with another result against Leadenham in their Division 4NW(N) match at Glen Park.
Leadenham broke down Spalding's play often until the home side finally settled and played some effective hockey.
Rachel Perkins made some excellent interceptions and worked hard to deliver the ball down the line, often finding Maisie Foden.
An early chance for Samantha Foston was saved, while at the other end, Christina Dewing had to be alert to keep the game goalless at half time.
After a few positional changes, Spalding dominated the second half and the opening goal eventually came from a pass by Ali Willson who found Amy Naylor in a one-on-one situation which she scored from brilliantly.
Lisa Dean and captain Charlotte Morris kept out Leadenham's short corner chances before Kate Amess latched onto a pass in the D and slotted the ball home to cement Spalding's win.
SUNDAY: SPALDING 1STS 6,
WALTHAM FOREST 1STS 3
Spalding fared better in the second game of their weekend double-header with a home win in front of a large crowd at Glen Park on Sunday.
Hoping to overturn their 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture last October, Spalding found themselves 2-0 up within 12 minutes, with both goals scored by Glenn Richardson.
A neat finish from Waltham Forest's centre forward made it 2-1 before Matthew Peach extended the lead to two goals again.
Joe Higgins and Jacob Baker, player of the match because of his speed and determination, scored one each to put Spalding 5-2 up at the break.
However, the pace steadied in the second half before a solitary, short-corner finish from Stu Cunnington rounded off the scoring for Spalding in what was a well-deserved victory.
OTHER RESULTS: Division 3NW: March Town 1sts 2, Long Sutton 2nds 4; City of Peterborough 4ths 5, Spalding 2nds 2.
Division 4NW: Spalding 3rds 5 (Hugh Cruickshank x 2, Dave Burrell x 2, Matt Hicks), Wisbech Town 2nds 8.
Division 5NW: March Town 2nds 2, Spalding 4ths 0.
Division 6NW(N): City of Peterborough 8ths 4, Long Sutton 3rds 1.
Ladies' Division 3NW: Spalding 2nds 3 (Kelly Tizzano x 2, A.J. Bunyan), Bourne Deeping 2nds 0.
SUNDAY: Bedford under-14 Boys 1, Spalding under-14 Boys 7 (Oli Dring x 3, Adolfo Chantre. George Morris, Haydn Lewis, Tiago Read).
Kettering under-16 Girls 0, Spalding under-16 Girls 6.