Bourne Deeping Dragons claimed a crucial victory with a 2-1 success against a West Herts side who are close to them in the Premier B table.
Following the Dragons’ heavy defeat the previous week, the game started at a decent pace with both sides making occasional D entries.
The Dragons were helped by strong counter-attacking and ball-carrying from Vartan and Williams and the deadlock was broken after 10 minutes.
Stuart Biggs, up for the first short corner of the day, despatched a drag flick into the roof of the net leaving the West Herts keeper floundering.
Soon after West Herts won a few short corners of their own. However, the Dragons were thankful to Collins and Biggs who both made separate goalline clearances.
The first half continued at a frenetic end-to-end pace. Collins almost grabbed a second when he shimmied past four defenders only to have his shot parried onto the post.
Richardson also had an opportunity but was unable to make meaningful contact. The first half was closing when Collins received a green card, but the Dragons successfully negotiated this closing phase of play in the half through resolute defending from all.
The Dragons doubled their lead shortly after the restart with a wonderfully crafted move orchestrated by Slack which culminated in the captain walking in a simple ball made from Williams for a much-needed cushion.
It was now the time for West Herts to apply pressure as Bourne Deeping defended.
Discipline and work rate was tested not once, when Slack was given a green card, but twice as Cannings received a yellow.
Bourne Deeping were having to soak up waves of West Herts attacks and eventually they succumbed late in the day when a penalty flick, won by a body block on the line, was slotted home.
The Dragons had two minutes to play out which, barring a heart in the mouth moment in the middle from Collins, was managed effectively. The three points takes them above West Herts and further away from the relegation zone.
With up to seven players missing through injury or otherwise unavailable, including their talismanic skipper James Taverner who was called up to the first team, Bourne Deeping 2nds overcame a potential banana skin to win 3-2 at Leadenham as they target a coveted top two finish at Christmas.
The Division 3NW game started well for the away side as a new-look back four appeared organised and Bourne Deeping began to create chances at the other end.
Robin Edlington opened the scoring early on with a far post tap in on his way to a man of the match performance up front.
However, Leadenham were quickly back on terms with a short corner dragged low into the corner with none of the defence covering themselves in glory in their efforts to block the equaliser.
Conceding in such a tame way seemed to rattle the defence and, as Leadenham scented blood, the tackles became more and more haphazard and the passes more and more wayward.
Leadenham capitalised with another tame shot blocked by Wray in goal. With the resulting rebound lost under his feet and a sluggish defence slow to react, it was a home forward who was first to the ball for an easy tap in to take the lead.
The Dragons were still creating chances, one particular stunning diving save from the Leadenham keeper low to his left hand side drawing gasps from the crowd, but they never looked comfortable and were guilty of giving the ball away too much.
The second half saw a much more determined Dragons side take the field. Clarkson and Rudman in the centre began to dictate things with Downie and Brewer pushing forward from centre back to try and put Leadenham on the back foot.
For the next 20 minutes it was all Bourne Deeping as they showed true grit and determination to battle their way back into this game.
Clarkson grabbed the equaliser just five minutes after the restart, finishing off Dodds’ goal-bound shot from virtually on the line after a well worked short corner.
Callum Howitt then completed the comeback with a sublime first time finish to make it 3-2.
There was still time for Leadenham to threaten with a couple of short corners of their own, though Edlington nearly made it four were it not for another excellent save from the home side’s goalie.
A late thunderbolt from Mike Gregson determined the outcome of a closer Division 4NW match than it should have been as Bourne Deeping 3rds defeated Cambridge South 3rds 4-3.
Taking a 3-1 lead at half-time courtesy of a Jonny Meadows double and another one from Andrew Vartan, Bourne should have taken the match comfortably.
The lead at this point was well deserved with plenty of possession in what was a fast paced first half with plenty of opportunities.
A clumsy mistake in defence at the start of the second half let Cambs South right back in and, despite numerous short corners, Bourne Deeping could not stretch their lead.
An error led to an equaliser with only three minutes to go, but justice was served with a strike a minute from time giving Bourne Deeping their points.
Bourne Deeping 4ths were narrowly edged out after a 3-2 defeat against a strong Cambridge South 2nds side in Division 4NW.
The early exchanges were even with Tim Kisiel flashing a shot past the post for the 4ths and Cambs having some chances.
Cambs took an early lead through an unlucky short corner beating Lee Langley in goal, but the 4ths equalised shortly afterwards through a well worked trademark short corner routine which started with an excellent ball out by Walden , a dummy by Mann and which ended with Steadman shifting the ball and then drilling it low into the corner to make it 1-1 at half time.
The second half started like the first with chances at both ends. Cambs eventually scored a second however it was not long before the equaliser came from another trademark short corner routine which involved another superb push out by Walden to Mann who picked out Mike Bradshaw to rifle the ball into the bottom left to make it 2-2.
The 4ths continued to press with good runs from Ben Walden, Kev Baker and new boy Tom Day who put in some great dribbling runs.
The 4ths created a number of good chances to take the lead but could not find that final touch. Cambs then won another short corner which they scored from to take the game to their great relief.
Despite a huge effort and pressure from the 4ths in the last 10 minutes, they could not find another equaliser.
Bourne Deeping 5ths moved up three places in Division 6NW(N) after a useful 3-0 victory against perennial rivals City of Peterborough 8ths.
After some good early play by a young Peterborough team, the Dragons began to play with more precision in their passing and it was well deserved when James Watkins pushed in a long cross from the right side by Jeremy Phipps to open the scoring.
Despite one fine save by keeper Edwin Sarsby, the Dragons’ defence was rarely troubled, cutting out the too frequent long balls and pushing forward.
This was the case in the second half when the returning Magnus Windsor played an inch perfect pass to lead to a run down the wing and a cross for Matthew Allan to score.
Further dominance in the midfield continued with confident skilful play by brothers Leo and Hector Clack, with few chances going Peterborough’s way.
It was not surprising then when after some fine quick passing, James Watkins was able to add another goal after an initial shot was saved by the Peterborough keeper.
Bourne Deeping Ladies stormed back to the top of Division 3NW after an 8-0 hammering of Haverhill on Saturday.
The Dragons showed great composure in the D with five different players on the scoresheet as they worked the ball at pace from back to front.
They scored four goals in the first period and kept up the same intensity after the break to repeat the same goalscoring feat.
Jo Addison, Hannah Curtis and Sue Oakley all bagged braces for Bourne Deeping with Izzie Oakley and Carol Murray also on target.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 3rds recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season after a 2-0 victory over Louth 2nds.
The Dragons got off a roaring start as Ella Henson and Kat Kennedy combined for the latter to open the scoring.
Louth rallied, but Bourne regained possession as Lucy Cowell, Lucy Scrafton, Mia Barford and Henson all linked up well.
Vicky Edward then teed up Gill Flook who found Henson to double the Bourne Deeping advantage before the break.
Louth picked up their game after the break, but solid defending from Rose Taylor-Jackson, Nic Stazicker, Cara Gatward-Clarke, Emily Longharne and Fran Baker kept them at bay to secure a hard-fought victory.