A sensational second half performance helped Bourne Deeping 3rds to a 5-2 success over Cambridge Nomads 2nds on Saturday.
The Dragons had found themselves trailing 2-0 at the interval of the Division 4NW contest before hitting back in style with five unanswered goals in the second period.
Nomads, needing the points to try and edge them away from their fight for survival, made a flying start.
With a reinforced side the visitors were strong from the go and dominated the first 25 minutes, taking a 2-0 lead which probably should have been more.
However, after a modification in formation, Bourne Deeping found their feet and the last 10 minutes of the half was positive, giving momentum going into the break.
A different Dragons team came out in the second half, passing the ball with the pace and accuracy that was missing in the first half.
Andrew Vartan scored with a bullet from a short corner early in the period.
Rattled by this early goal Cambs Nomads couldn’t get to grips with the game and, when a Mike Gregson equaliser went in, they started to crumble.
Another Vartan goal, along more from Callum Howitt and Jonny Meadows, took the game away from the visitors in a half that was totally dominated by Bourne Deeping after a display that was good enough to win any match.
A resilient Bourne Deeping 4ths side were unlucky to come away from St Ives without a point, ultimately losing 1-0 in a well-fought Division 4NW match.
Reduced to a bare 11 due to various injuries and illnesses, the deck seemed to be stacked against the Dragons before the game.
Bourne Deeping started positively, young centre forward Robert Stevens and Chris Mann making some brilliant probing runs to heap pressure on the St Ives back four.
The Dragons luck though then took another turn for the worse as St Ives scored in highly controversial circumstances.
Despite being on the back foot for a great deal of the remainder of the first half, resolute defending from the Morley brothers, Jackson and Stedman kept the Dragons just the one goal behind at the break.
The second half was a much more competitive affair with some fast, counter-attacking hockey from both sides.
Rory White and Zach Morley’s dangerous dribbling pace, coupled with the bulldog mentality of central midfielders Day and Watkins, led to the creation of many chances and short corners in the St Ives defensive 25.
Unfortunately, a combination of more bad luck and panic in front of goal meant that the Dragons were unable to find the backboard.
At the other end, more stoic tackling from Oscar Morley and some outstanding one-on-one saves from Langley kept the very strong opposition at bay.
It was a strong team performance all round despite the undesired result. The 4ths goal difference throughout the season, however, remains strong and they are in with a great chance of avoiding the drop come the end of the season.
Bourne Deeping 5ths returned to action after only playing once in the last three weeks with a 3-2 away success at Leadenham 3rds in Division 6NW(N).
They could have been forgiven for being a little rusty at the start, but they pushed from the start keeping Leadenham pinned in their own half for much of the start of the game.
It was not surprising then when they went ahead when Steve Waters scored at short range following a superbly weighted cross from Connor Carmody.
The Dragons remained in control and added to their tally with a well struck penalty corner by Mark Hotchkin.
Leadenham played themselves back into the match with strong confident play coupled with poor clearances by the Dragons resulting in the final 10 minutes of the first half being mainly in the Bourne Deeping 25.
After half-time Leadenham continued in the same vein and midway through pulled one back again following poor defending which was unfortunate and undeserving for keeper Joe Ashby who had another excellent game.
The Dragons managed to rally and returned to useful passes and committed attacking runs, led by their captain Davin Foston who was having one of his best games of the season.
Leo Clack then deservedly furthered the score by following up when an initial shot hit the post.
Leadenham came back strongly, closing the gap through a penalty corner but dogged defence and further attacking play from the Dragons prevented them developing further pressure.
The Dragons had a degree of relief when the final whistle blew to win the game but realise they must reduce their error rate for Saturday’s crucial local derby game with their club-mates from the sixth team.
Table-topping Bourne Deeping Dragons Ladies 1sts were held for the first time this season after a goalless draw at Bury St Edmunds 2nds on Saturday.
They were looking to keep the momentum going into the final few weeks of the Division 3NW season, but came up against a spirited Bury St Edmunds side that used their physical size to good use.
Bourne Deeping never really got out the starting blocks with passes going astray and Bury able to get a telling touch or last ditch tackle to frustrate the home side.
The Dragons did create the odd chance and a few short corners but were not able to convert. The team worked hard but it just wasn’t their day. The defence held strong and didn’t allow Bury many shots on goal.
They still remain top of the league despite the stalemate but know they will have to get back to winning ways to remain there.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 2nds bounced back in style from their first Division 4NW defeat of the season with an emphatic 5-0 away win at Alford 2nds on Saturday.
Alford had the first pushback but the ladies piled on the pressure from the start, quickly gaining control of the ball.
There was great work down the wings by the Dragons and a string of great strikes into the opposition’s D but unfortunately they couldn’t quite be converted on the posts each time.
The Dragons’ continuous pressure paid off and, after winning several consecutive short corners, they created plenty of opportunity for goals.
However, despite strong pushes out from captain Kirsty Martin and great strikes from both Sara Morgan-Walters and Maisie Brownlow, the Dragons just couldn’t quite hit the backboard.
With time ticking away in the first half, Bourne finally found that elusive first goal with Morgan-Walters converting after some fine passing in the D.
This gave Bourne Deeping a taste for goals and, with assists from Martin, Morgan-Walters quickly scored twice more for her hat-trick before half-time.
After the break it was clear the Dragons weren’t finished for the day, with some quick well worked passing in the middle between Lily Fitch and Martin.
The captain then ran rings around the entire Alford defence to score her first of the match and give the Dragons a 4-0 lead.
Alford refused to go down without a fight though and managed a couple of breaks down the wing, however, the Dragons defence stood strong and nothing really threatened their goal with Tori Wand the keeper not touching the ball all game.
With minutes left the Dragons were comfortably going home with three points, but this didn’t stop Morgan-Walters converting after a second string of pressure from short corners to make the final score 5-0.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 3rds were unable to find their finishing touch as they went down to a 3-0 home loss to Spilsby in Division 4NW.
They started off well with runs coming from Jo Morgan-Walters, Gillian Flook and Aisling O’Keefe having a shot but just missing the goal.
The defence of Sophie Wheatley, Jax Clarke and Sian Manzur kept prompting the push forward but the team’s efforts went unrewarded and Spilsby struck to take the lead from a quick short corner.
Bourne Deeping returned on the offensive from the restart but, despite good defending from Nancy Simmons, Sophie Wheatley and Nic Stazicker with Rose Taylor Jackson saving a few hard hits, they were unable to prevent Spilsby adding a second.
A determined start to the second half saw Vicky Edwards firing in some short corners, but Bourne Deeping were unable to find the target and Spilsby added a third before the end.