LONG SUTTON 4th 1 ALFORD & DISTRICT 2nd 0: AFTER 553 long days, Long Sutton finally ended their whopping winless streak to get up and running in Division 6NW (N) on Saturday.
Man-of-the-match James Burton fired the crucial goal, which ensured his side started the new campaign in the best possible manner.
The youthful Sutton side put in a top showing – but they rode their luck a little, as Alford hit the woodwork twice.
Keeper Josh Thody was outstanding throughout, ably backed up by some fine tackling from Sam Gray, Calvin Bishop and Ollie Gayford.
Going forward, Scott Ingram’s mobility was crucial, George Smith had one of his best games for the club and youngsters Harry Thorpe and Stephen Milnes made promising debuts in men’s hockey.
Adam Sisson also looks like a star in the making, but it was Burton who took the top plaudits.
He found so much space on the pitch, while his ball control were exemplary. His finish – a canny sliding push past the keeper – was a little piece of magic fit to win any game.
Skipper Ian White said: “Thanks to everyone in the team – it was a real pleasure to captain such a willing and hard working bunch.
“We should enjoy this winning feeling, but keep that level of hard work to make sure we don’t have to wait another 553 days to experience it again.”
LETCHWORTH 1st 5
LONG SUTTON 1st 0
SUTTON took none of their fine Premier B form from the previous week to Letchworth.
The hosts opened the scoring from a soft short corner and soon added a second after when Sutton conceded a number of tame fouls.
Sutton did create some good chances before the break, but couldn’t find their finishing touch.
Three more Letchworth goals arrived after the break, putting the game to bed.
Despite valiant efforts from Jacob Loweth and Ross Gavaghan, Sutton lacked the quality and team effort they showed through pre-season.
SPALDING 1st 0
BOURNE/DEEPING 1st 4
SPALDING were outplayed in their opening home match of the new 2N season.
An injury to Marcus Drury in the first minute didn’t help things for Spalding, who are sponsored by Univeg this year, as they had to reshuffle early on.
Neither side were really on top until Bourne/Deeping converted two quick-fire penalties to lead 2-0 at the break.
Spalding improved in the second half, but rarely threatened and they were hit twice more. The third goal came through a neat deflection, before an excellent short corner drag flick sealed the win.
BOURNE/DEEPING 2nd 1
SPALDING 2nd 1
HONOURS were even in 4NW as Spalding held a strong Bourne/Deeping side.
Spalding went ahead when a marauding run down the left by James Lowson saw him slot a cool finish through the keeper’s legs.
Bourne/Deeping started the second half strongly, throwing everything at Spalding’s defence and keeper Rob Callaby, who made some great saves.
But he could do nothing from a rebounded shot at a short corner as the game was tied.
Although Bourne/Deeping had the lion’s share of possession, Spalding showed great determination throughout.
SPALDING 3rd 0
ST NEOTS 2nd 4
DEPLETED Spalding suffered their first 4NW loss of the campaign.
With nine regular team members unavailable, Spalding’s side looked very youthful. The team defended to the best of their abilities, but the Saints side was too experienced and overran the youngsters.
With skipper Luke Jackson forced to play as a make-shift keeper, the score was kept to only 2-0 at half time.
Great passing play from Hector Moore and Harry Higgins found the stick of Joe Higgins on many occasions, but St Neots’ skilful keeper was on-song. His side netted two more to seal the victory.
LEADENHAM 1st 1
LONG SUTTON 3rd 1
A DRAW was the right result between two teams chasing 6NW (N) glory.
Leadenham, with their 15-man ‘Olympic rotation’ squad, started strongly and took an early lead.
However, Sutton were level after some strong work from James Slator, Ben Maris and Michael Donaghy got them back into the game. It was no surprise when Luke Lovegrove fired home from an Ed White short corner pass.
Alex Canham was unlucky not to snatch a late winner, as he fired an effort off the post.
LONG SUTTON LADIES’ 1st 0
PELICANS LADIES’ 1st 0
THIS 1N clash ended in stalemate, despite a super first half from Sutton.
With an all-round team effort and some fast and fluid play, chances went the way of Becky Kierman, Leanne Woodhead and Charlene Leuty.
Pelicans came back into it after the break, but Lorraine Wallis was very accomplished in goal to secure a draw.
SPALDING POACHERS 1st 3
SHEFFORD & SANDY LADIES’ 1st 0
POACHERS continue to impress in 2NW after Karen Timby’s brace inspired another classy win.
The away side started well, but Spalding’s defence worked tirelessly to prevent any clear strikes on goal.
The Poachers’ midfield hassled well and drove the team forward – which eventually resulted in their first penalty corner of the game. Annie Dalton worked her magic with a pass to Timby, who slotted home the opener.
Roz Dennis was unlucky to see another effort ruled out before the break, but it was 2-0 when player-of-the-match Emma Dalton set up Annie Dalton, who showed super stick skills before firing in.
There was still time for another, as Timby crashed home a fantastic strike from the top of the D.
ST IVES POACHERS’ 2nd 4
SPALDING POACHERS 2nd 0
PLUCKY Poachers slipped to a first Cambs Premier League loss of the campaign.
Within the first five minutes Spalding were a goal down from a well-worked short corner, but they then spurned the chance to level from a short corner.
Well-drilled St Ives then slotted in two more goals before the half time whistle.
After the break, Spalding pulled together with some excellent play from Belinda Providence and Kelly Varley on the right. Although St Ives scored another, Poachers produced some great play in midfield – especially from player-of-the-match Karen Breen.
GRANTHAM LADIES’ 1st 7
LONG SUTTON LADIES’ 2nd 2
STARTING with nine players, Sutton made a decent fist of their trip to Grantham.
That got even worse when they lost another player to injury – so the face they only trailed 5-1 at half-time was a great effort. Emma Howell got the goal just before the break.
Only two more goals were shipped in the second half, with Lisa Baker netting for Sutton – who also had three goals ruled out.