Sudbury see positives in defeat

Weybread, Suffolk. Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Mens V vs Sudbury II
Weybread, Suffolk. Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Mens V vs Sudbury II

EAST MEN’S LEAGUE

DIVISION ONE

Sudbury 1

Cambridge City II 3

It has been a tough return to Division One for Sudbury but despite this defeat the performance against the unbeaten leaders should give them heart.

For long periods they were equal to their opposition. After taking the lead Sudbury hit the post twice and were undone by three penalty corners, two of which were deflected off a Sudbury stick.

Sudbury were let down by their finishing in the first half and the visitors showed excellent defensive ability to restrict them to only one penalty corner.

In the home goal, Chris Smith enjoyed the quietest half of the season with only one attempt coming from open play – this a deflection which looped gently towards goal.

As the visitors became frustrated at the lack of opportunities and umpiring decisions that went against them, Sudbury broke the deadlock. A rapid counter down the right saw Matt D’Souza, returning from injury, reach the baseline and square the ball to Leigh Bevan who made no mistake.

As the half drew to a close the visitors won a contested penalty corner which was stopped by Smith but won a second in the breakdown. The drag flicked attempt was deflected off the stick of Chris Bull running out, wrong footing the home keeper and eluding player/coach Chris Palmer on the post to bring the scores to 1-1 at the turn.

Sudbury knew they had a great chance to increase their points tally and upset the odds but it would be vital to take their chances when they came. Unfortunately three penalty corners in the second half were not converted and disappointingly Adam Bullock hit the post with a low slap under the keeper. He was also unfortunate not to convert a high, deflected ball at the far post.

Excellent work rate by the midfield which comprised Brendan Mayers, Nick Keefe, Alex Tarrant alongside D’Souza and Bullock meant chances were created whilst controlling the middle of the pitch.

Despite limiting the visitors to few open play chances, a number of penalty corners were conceded and for the second time the straight flick deflected off the unfortunate Bull’s stick to fly high into the net. Minutes later a third penalty corner flick beat the dive of Smith and Kevin Monk on the line could only help the ball into the net.

DIVISION 3NE

Harleston Magpies V 0

Sudbury II 1

After getting back to winning ways against Pelicans the previous week, Sudbury faced the tricky challenge of an away trip to Harleston Magpies.

On a quick and slippery pitch, and with the bare 11 players, Sudbury settled quickly, passing the ball around with some conviction although not finding a breakthrough. At times they didn’t help themselves, running into trouble instead of finding an early pass.

Halfway through the first half, Sudbury, for the second week running, took full advantage of the new own goal rule, this time Chris Cardy striking the ball into the D where it hit the keeper’s pads before hitting the back board.

The second half started with Sudbury having the best chances but not being able to convert them. They managed to secure a second successive win to keep in touch with the teams at the top of the league.

DIVISION 4NE

Dereham IV 6 Sudbury III 2

This game between the bottom two sides promised to be a tight affair, so in the interests of sportsmanship Sudbury travelled with just 10 players and no goalkeeper.

After a few sloppy passes out from the back Sudbury soon found themselves 3-0 down, but they held their heads high and took the fight to Dereham.

Good work from Matt Kingston and Isaac Wagland released David Hopps, who swears his shot was a cross to Simon Hardingham at the far post to score.

The second half started with Dereham also being a player short and Sudbury took advantage of this and after a scramble in the D the ever-young Steve Biggadyke was on hand to slot home.

Sudbury grew tired though and the home side eased out 6-2 winners.

DIVISION 6NE

Sudbury IV 11 Dereham V 1

Against a 10-man Dereham, Sudbury were for once able to field an experienced side, and recorded their first win for a year.

Sudbury were one up within a couple of minutes with a well-taken Dan Belli goal, and it was one-way traffic from there.

In the first half Sudbury tended to chase each other down the middle of the pitch instead of taking advantage of numbers and spreading it wide, but they still reached the break 4-1 up, the other goals coming from Nick Gooderham, Dean Hodgson and Ed Matthews.

Tactics were slightly better in the second half when Belli notched a further three, Dan Birch got two, David Hodge one and Matthews took his second with a well positioned tap-in.

The defence were rarely troubled, good work from Jamie Powell and decisive goalkeeping from Sam Smith seeing to that.