Action from Spalding Ladies Seconds’ abandoned match against Wisbech Town Seconds. Photos by Nigel Cookson.

All square after contentious penalty frustrates hosts

Spalding Men 1st 4
St Ives 1st 4

Honours finished even after an eight-goal thriller saw Spalding draw with East Men’s League Division One North second-placed St Ives.
The game started with both attacks being on top with some end-to-end action. Opportunities were plentiful for Spalding with good opportunities before Dan Azzopardi eventually tapped a deflected pass into the back of the net.
St Ives bounced back with a quick counter-attack with their striker dribbling from midfield through the Spalding defence to place a smart finish past Oscar Haunch.
Spalding played some good hockey but St Ives countered effectively in an even encounter. A short corner was converted by Stuart Cunnington and another well-finished goal by Azzopardi at the back post were matched by quick responses to leave the game level at 3-3 at half-time.
The second half was played at a similar intensity, leading to several cards.
After many well-placed passes whistling across the D, one eventually fell to Will Baker, who took the ball calmly around the goalkeeper before flicking it past two defenders on the line.
St Ives got the advantage of a contentious decision to make it 4-4 from penalty stroke. The final ten minutes were frantic, with both teams’ defensive units scrambling to save the point.
Harry Naylor was man of the match.

Cambridge South 3rd 4
Spalding Men 2nd 1

Matt Hulme got the consolation goal in the second team’s Division Three North West loss at Cambridge South.

Spalding Men 3rd 4
City of Peterborough 6th 2

Spalding made a solid start and took the lead through Ben Scholes in their Division Four North West fixture.
Peterborough quickly responded to make it 1-1 but Graeme Matthews converted a penalty flick to restore the home advantage with Tim Amess doubling the lead just before half-time 
Peterborough got a goal back and piled on even more pressure but Spalding countered their high press with Charlie Smith touching around the goalkeeper for an open goal to seal the points.

St Neots 1st 4
Spalding Ladies 1st 0

A well-drilled defensive performance was not enough to earn Spalding reward at the East Women Division Two North West leaders.
Evie Maltby and Pippa Bembridge allowed Spalding to keep control of the game and an excellent save from Freya Lee and work from the defence, led by player of the match Jess Ball kept the attackers out of the D with tackle after tackle.
The home team did manage to find their way to goal once but Spalding were confident of turning that round after the break. As the temperatures began to drop and the pitch began to freeze, it made things more difficult. A quick counter-attack from Ball and Ellie Holland was denied by the home goalkeeper and St Neots took advantage of that let-off to score three times.

March Town 1st 5
Spalding Ladies 3rd 1

An early goal put Spalding on the back foot in their Division Four North West match and they struggled to recover on a frosty pitch.
Their task was made harder when goalkeeper Eliza Morris left the pitch injured, forcing player of the match Lucy McClements to replace her.
March went 2-0 up before Charlotte Morris went close to a reply.
Grace Hodgett and Honor Pearson defended well but the hosts doubled their lead before half-time.
Manager Michael Morris set out the expectations of winning the second half and Spalding went close, ‘drawing’ the second period 1-1.
Camille Rogers and Jennie Bradley went close on the opposition danger player and that tactic nullified the home advantage.
Eloise Doughty slipped the ball past the goalkeeper to pull one back but March scored again to re-open their four-goal advantage.
The women’s second team game was abandoned with Wisbech 1-0 ahead on the frost-bound surface.

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