Alford & District 6 v 0 Newmarket
Newmarket made the long trip up to Skegness hoping to maintain their unbeaten record this season. They faced the league’s top scorers in Alford, who needed to win the game to maintain their own promotion charge. The task was made harder with regulars Josh Dawson, Will Balding, Ben Coupe, Pete Boyle and Marc Prentice unavailable through a combination of injury and work commitments.
Newmarket started the game well, playing the ball round the back and using Ollie Wade, Mark Pears and Ben Shepperson to create a handful of good opportunities. Newmarket dominated the opening 10 minutes but failed to capitalise on any of the chances they created. The Alford keeper made several good saves from Mark Pears and as a team defended Newmarket’s usually potent short corners very well.
After the initial onslaught Alford began to hit Newmarket on the break, through a selection of long aerials, they found veteran Greg Cummins in fine form at the back to thwart their many attacks. With the half time whistle approaching Alford scored two goals in quick succession, one from a jinking run by the centre midfielder and another from a short corner.
At half time Newmarket felt a little unlucky to be behind but couldn’t deny the quality of Alford’s goals. Almost straight after the restart Alford scored again with a straight strike from a short corner through keeper Warren’s legs. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Newmarket, who despite continuing to drive forward and fashion chances, lost the shape and team ethic which had encapsulated their season to date.
Newmarket were still trying to get in to the game, Andrew Beardon drove on from left full back, Chris Leggett, Ben Gotfredssen and William Wilson probed from midfield, but they found the Alford keeper in unbeatable form. One save in particular stood out, Wilson played Pears in and his first time shot seemed destined for the bottom corner until the end of the keeper’s kicker deflected it just wide.
In the last 10 minutes of the game as Newmarket pressed forward, Alford scored 3 more goals, two after very questionable umpiring decisions. There can however be no denying that Alford deserved the three points and were the better team on the day. In truth a strong Alford team wanted it more than Newmarket and a few people played like the team had already won the league. Newmarket should forget about Saturday’s performance and try and get back to the great hockey which has made this season so enjoyable. Next week’s game, the last one of the 2010-11 season, is at home to Market Deeping, 3:30 start.
Man of the match – Greg Cummins