HOCKEY: Double delight for Jess

Jess Ball
Jess Ball
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Spalding ladies first team warmed up for Saturday’s derby at Long Sutton with a five-star performance.

Following back-to-back wins over the previous weekend, they were up for the challenge against Wisbech 2nd at Glen Park.

From the start, Spalding took control of the game with instant pressure but strong defending denied them.

A solo effort from Ellie Pybus 12 minutes into the game saw her take the ball from deep in the Spalding half and power through several players, arriving into the D where she unleashed a shot inside the far post.

A great series of interplay by the young trio of forwards Ellie Holland, Evie Maltby and Jess Ball produced a second goal in the 18th minute.

Ball then doubled her tally just a minute later.

Wisbech only managed three attacks and the last short corner of the half saw another goal on the whistle by Amy Wells.

Holland made it 5-0 in the second period.

Four goals in the final 10 minutes were enough to gift table-toppers St Albans what appeared to be an easy 8-1 
victory against bottom-placed side Spalding’s men first team.

However, this detracted from what was far from a one-sided affair for an hour.

Both sides started well with some good passing and movement – but it was the former National League side who broke the deadlock after 10 minutes, squeezing home a short corner.

They doubled the lead with almost an exact replica finish and were gifted a third soon after.

Undeterred, Spalding continued to push hard and were unlucky not to get more from their efforts as the first half drew to a close.

In the second half, they put the visitors under more pressure and grabbed one back with Tom Everton’s deft touch finishing a fluid move which included a great run from Rob Dalton.

Despite the home team’s advances, they couldn’t find a way through the back line of St Albans who then punished 
Spalding on the break to restore the three-goal lead.

With 10 minutes remaining, the floodgates opened as Spalding capitulated and St Albans capitalised to give a flattering scoreline.

Spalding travel to Saffron Walden in a must-win game to keep their survival chances alive as they head towards the mid-season point.

Meanwhile, Long Sutton lost 4-2 at home to Upminster despite goals from Josh Baker and Matt Goodley.