EAST MEN’S LEAGUE DIVISION TWO NORTH: Sudbury 1 Cambridge University III 2: Sudbury’s survival hopes suffered a knock at Great Cornard on Saturday as they were left frustrated by a resilient Cambridge backline.
On the back of some recent strong performances, a 2-2 draw to Norwich Dragons and a very comfortable 9-1 win against Newmarket, Sudbury were feeling confident going into the game with a strong squad.
But the must-win game, to remain a place above the relegation zone, began with Sudbury dominating with some high tempo play but unable to carve out any real clear-cut chances.
The University team then showed their fitness, fighting back with some threatening moves which started to work the Sudbury defence.
However, Sudbury stayed strong and showed great patience at the back and played the ball out sensibly to keep possession.
This gave the opportunity for some excellent aerial passes from Alex Tarrant and Adam Bullock, stretching the Cambridge defence with great runs from Sudbury forwards Leigh Bevan, Sam Renshaw and William Fisher.
Finally, this led to a short corner via some excellent skill from Fisher in the circle.
The resultant shot was deflected nicely to Tom Martin, who placed the ball into the net, giving Sudbury the edge just before half-time.
After the break, Cambridge fought back hard, resulting in a few penalty corners.
One of these was capitalised on with a great drag-flick into the top-right corner to level the score.
Another penalty corner a few minuets later was then successfully picked away by Bullock from high in the top-right corner to keep Sudbury in the game, pleasing both the crowd and the Sudbury team.
The intensity of both teams remained high with many chances for more goals at either end.
After some resilient Sudbury defending, their hard work, drive, desire and passion seemed to be let down by a extremely controversial umpiring decision, resulting in the Uni taking the lead.
Sudbury fought back to try and salvage a point from this very important game, but all attempts were thwarted by the University goalkeeper.
Despite the anger at the final whistle, this was a very good performance against a very strong side.
Sudbury face Cambridge Nomads away on Saturday in their penultimate game, followed by Norwich City at home the following week (11.15am) for what looks set to be a nail-biting conclusion at the bottom of the table.
n A rallying half-time team-talk from verteran England capped Tim Blackburn gave Sudbury II the belief to power their way to a 5-2 home victory over Ipswich Cranes in Division 3NE.
Having gone 2-0 down, goals from Charlie Apter, via a deflection from Blackburn’s shot, and Blackburn himself had them level at the break.
Three second-half strikes, from Ben Taylor, Dan Birch and the lightning Tom Stephens, sealed an impressive consecutive win.
n Sudbury IV might have won their fixture at Norwich Dragons V — which ended in a 2-0 defeat in Division 7NE — but for an early injury to their free-scoring centre-forward Alastair Ward.