An encouraging return from James Doolan was the highlight as Spalding 2nd suffered a 4-2 defeat against St Neots 1st in East Men’s Hockey League Division 3NW on Saturday.
Spalding took the game to St Neots from the off with some scintillating passing hockey and raced into a 2-0 lead through goals from Pete Wright and James Reston.
This left St Neots wondering what had hit them, but they gradually grew into the game and they scored two short corner goals before half-time to level the scores.
Spalding started the second half brightly, but couldn’t produce the fluidity of the first half and conceded two further goals.
Rallying late on, Glenn Perkins put an effort over the bar, Dan Azzopardi hit narrowly wide but Spalding couldn’t get back in the game as St Neots saw out the final few minutes.
Special mention to Doolan, who played his first game for a couple of years and didn’t look like he’d been away, and to man-of-the-match James Mayhew for good workrate and passing.
Spalding 2nd remain third from bottom, two places about club-mates Spalding 3rd – who went down 5-1 at Leadenham 1st.
The basement side travelled to Leadenham with a very youthful team, as 11 of the players were no older than 20.
Spalding started well in an even opening, but midway through the first half Leadenham scored twice in as many minutes.
The introduction of Dave Burrell after 20 minutes soon produced a goal for the visitors. A Ben Scholes effort was well saved by the keeper, but fell to Willem Borst to convert at the far post.
Leadenham regained their two goal lead just before half time when a cross rebounded off the far post to a grateful attacker, who converted to make it 3-1 at half time.
Despite Spalding changing their formation at the break in the pursuit of goals to get back into the game, it was Leadenham who controlled most of the second half and scored a further two goals.
Spalding always looked dangerous on the break, but were indebted to a host of good saves from Sullivan Smith and some last ditch defending as the hosts pushed for more goals.
Up in Division One, Long Sutton 1st remain in the bottom two after a 6-2 reverse at Cambridge City 3rd.
Andy Shore and Luke Jackson both bagged for Sutton, but they slipped to their 13th defeat of the season.
In Division 4NW, Long Sutton 2nd played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at City of Peterborough 6th.
Will White, Nick Ellis and Gary Hales grabbed Sutton’s goals in that one.
Down in Division 6NW (N), Spalding 5th and Alford 2nd played out a rare 0-0 draw at Glen Park.
Visitors Alford put in a stoic performance with a bare 11 to hold their hosts.
Despite the advantage of a larger squad, Spalding were unable to effectively break down the Alford defence.
Any threat from the visitors was dealt with comfortably by the home defence, led by man-of-the-match Nick Keeble.
Spalding played some good attacking hockey for much of the game, but at times the effectiveness of simplicity eluded them.
Even the experience of Deane Baker was not enough to break the deadlock.
The visitors came close to snatching victory towards the end, but – fortunately for Spalding – their best chance went just wide of the far post.
In the same league, Long Sutton 3rd slipped to a 2-1 home defeat against Leadenham 3rd.
Quentin Carlisle got the solitary goal for Sutton.
- The games involving Spalding 1st, Spalding 4th and Spalding 6th were all postponed on Saturday due to the weather.