Bourne Deeping Dragons returned disappointed from their long trip to the national stadium in London after being edged 4-3 by Premier B high-flyers Wapping 2nds on Saturday.
The game began with both sides equally creating chances, with good work from Miles, Shorter and Slack, but to no avail.
The Bourne Deeping defence of Kind, Arnold and Cannings held steadfast as Wapping increasingly grew into the game and mounted their assault.
After a string of short corners for the home side, the deadlock was broken by a drag flick luckily deflected off a Dragons defender and beating goalkeeper Carlton to give Wapping a half-time lead.
The Dragons were urged to give an extra 30-40 per cent in the second half to really take control of a winnable game and they started the second half well with a well-worked goal to level the scores.
The ball went from Kind to Slack and was crossed into the centre of the D where Treve Wagstaff slapped the ball into the roof of the net with a first-time shot.
The game then remained very even with neither side really producing an attack with a clinical edge to go ahead.
It was Wapping who eventually made the breakthrough with tiredness beginning to creep into Bourne Deeping game due to a slightly-depleted squad.
Two goals in quick succession really put the Dragons on the back foot, although having come back from 3-1 down earlier this season against IES, they only grew stronger and attacked with more intent.
This resurgence led to many chances being created for the away side with man of the match Miles as the catalyst.
It was only fitting that he would go on to score Bourne Deeping’s second goal during this good run of play.
However, another goal from Wapping that caught Bourne Deeping out on the break with too many men forward, really sealed the result.
It was a huge task for the Dragons to score two goals in the last five minutes to get a positive result out of the game.
Nevertheless, they didn’t let this affect their game and still attacked with the same want and desire to score.
The away side won a short corner as a result, which was expertly dispatched by Miles, but their bid to find another goal fell just short.
Bourne Deeping 2nds sent out a statement to the rest of Division 3NW after handing out a rare drubbing promotion rivals March.
The Dragons started the game on the front foot and after five minutes the inspired Stuart Biggs picked the ball up in his own half and, after rounding several March defenders, drew out the keeper and calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the goal.
This was followed some sustained pressure from March but to no avail as the Dragons struck a second thanks to Biggs.
A third was quick to follow, Robin Edlington won a short corner for the Dragons and a drag flick was saved by the March keeper which sprung up off his pads only to be met with an overhead smash into the goal from Ollie Brown.
March then flung through what appeared to be nothing, but the Dragons keeper Joe Wray came out and misjudged the pitch of the ball which glanced off his chest to leave the March forward with an open goal to make it 3-1.
Some stunning interplay from the Dragons and some excellent skill from Edlington put the ball on a plate for Biggs to tip the ball off the keepers toe for his hat-trick.
Two minutes later the ball was picked up on the right and finally squared to captain James Taverner who smashed the ball into the bottom right of the goal.
Next up was some very poor defending which allowed a March forward to pick up the ball unmarked, pick his spot and slot home, but Dragons still took a 5-2 lead into half-time.
In a strange second half the Dragons added four more goals and, had it not been for a very well-worked March goal, they would have walked off the pitch ecstatic but were more annoyed they couldn’t make it double figures.
A 4-1 defeat didn’t reflect how close the Division 4NW game was between Bourne Deeping 3rds and Long Sutton 2nds.
Long Sutton converted every single one of their chances while Bourne Deeping had more chances in open play and a plethora of penalty corners, but suffered from a lack of their regular strikers.
As such the clinical nature of Long Sutton saw them run out comfortable winners in the end and emphasise why they are where they are in the league.
The game, close for most of the 70 minutes, saw Long Sutton take a 2-0 lead before a close range effort from Richard Arnold on his comeback game from injury reduced the arrears.
The first ten minutes of the second half was all Bourne Deeping’s with numerous attacking chances from open play and set pieces.
None were converted and, having ridden the storm, Long Sutton took two late goals and all the points.
Bourne Deeping 4ths showed a vast improvement after last week’s dismal display to share the Division 4NW spoils with Cambridge South 3rds.
The last meeting between these two sides back in October had seen a fiercely competitive game with Cambs running out narrow winners.
As the opening exchanges took place, Cambs took an early foothold in the game and several excellent saves from Langley between the sticks and some well-timed challenges from the centre back pairing of Stedman and Jackson just managed to keep the scoreline blank.
Deeping too though had their chances, but fell behind on the counter-attack when a swift move by Cambs saw them fashion a shooting opportunity, which was initially saved by Langley, only to see the rebound fall straight to another Cambs player, who made no mistake.
Despite this setback, the Dragons immediately pressed higher up the pitch and this was rewarded with their first short corner of the game.
A good injection created the time Stedman needed to drive the ball low to the Cambs keeper’s left where a waiting Kev Baker did what he does best, deflecting the ball between the defender on the post and the stranded keeper to level the score with just five minutes remaining of the half.
The second half began exactly like the first had ended, with both teams breaking on counters.
Cambs adopted a running approach which was rewarded with a short corner and a clatter of sticks between keeper and defender saw the ball deflected high into the roof of the net.
Bourne Deeping again continued to play their passing game and this paid dividends when Stewart Dacre found James Watkins in midfield.
He saw the ever running Leo Clack on the left wing, who strode forward with confidence, passing the ball across the Cambs ‘D’ past the keeper, to Hector Clack to stroke into an empty net.
As with much of this game, the action continued to be end to end, with the Bourne Deeping back four of Zack Morley, Lewis Stedman, Paul Jackson and Stewart Dacre coming under increasing pressure, as Cambs pressed to find a winner.
The hosts were then awarded a controversial drag flick but it was superbly saved yet again by Langley to earn Dragons a great point in another fiercely competitive and hard fought game.
Bourne Deeping 5ths were unable to halt Leadenham’s charge to the Division 6NW(N) title as the table-toppers ran out 4-0 winners.
The Dragons came up against a stronger, more skilful side who they kept at bay for the first half but the second didn’t quite goes as planned.
Paul Curtis had a powerful shot saved on the goalline during a short corner and Harry Wakeham was also well-placed to score on another occasion.
The killer blow was Leadenham’s third which was scored from a short corner with a strong and precise strike.
Bourne Deeping Ladies maintained top spot in Division 3NW with an emphatic 8-1 win over Huntingdon who are languishing in the lower half of the table.
Constant pressure in the opening half led to two Dragons goals, however, this was countered a solitary Huntingdon strike.
A morale-boosting goal before half-time ensured the Dragons came out in the second period with a taste for victory and they added a further five goals.
Players of the match Carol Murray, Emily Murray and Izzie Oakley linked up in midfield with the latter scoring four goals. Murray, Sue Oakley and Jo Addison were also on target.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 2nds continued their unbeaten run in Division 4NW with a 2-0 derby success over Spalding.
Good defending by Nadine Curtis kept Spalding at bay in the opening period before Bourne began to put some quick passes together with Kirsty Martin, Lily Fitch and Jess Hindmarch linking well together.
The sustained pressure eventually led to a deflected goal courtesy of Martin.
Spalding continued to apply pressure down the right hand side, however, some more fantastic defending from player-of-thematch Kay Greenaway kept the Dragons ahead.
The Dragons doubled their lead when good link up play saw Cam Braid burst down the left and Millie Durrands was able to make room for a strike which found the back of the net.
The second half had a similar passage of play, Spalding constantly applying pressure on the ball and having a few chances to get into the D thanks to some big hits down the middle, but nothing materialised and Dragons held on for victory.