Men’s 1st Team Draw Despite Team Shuffle

Men’s 1’s: Horncastle 2 – 2 Newmarket
Goalscorers- Will Wilson, Josh Dawson
Newmarket made the long trip to Horncastle missing three regular players, Alex Andreou was still banned, Mike Skelton was constructing stairs in his dolls house and Dave Worrall re-training the computer says no woman from Little Britain. With many of the more experienced second team players unable to help out the team were grateful to Darren Jenkins who interrupted his lay in and agreed to play at short notice.
With second playing away at fourth and third in the league facing a tricky away game the team hoped it was an opportunity to put some more space between them and second placed Peterborough, the end result meant that Peterborough have closed the gap to three points. With the absentees the team was forced into a re-shuffle and never looked totally comfortable. They faced an organised Horncastle team that played 2 leagues above Newmarket last season. After five minutes it became clear that this game was going to be a battle, not helped by the Astroturf, which with its coating of mud, they could grow cabbages on, if and when it gets condemned.
Newmarket thought they had taken the lead when Josh Dawson was put through on goal, his initial shot was saved by the keeper before he put in the rebound. The goal was given until the opposition appealed for a foot. With neither umpires having seen the infringement, it was surprising that they overturned the decision, but they did reach the right verdict in the end. Newmarket threatened again when Holden blasted high and wide with the goal gaping. As the first half progressed Horncastle began to dominant, Will Wilson and Chris Leggett seems to be out numbered in the middle and the additional man took full advantage, setting up a couple of chances Newmarket were fortunate Horncastle couldn’t capitalise on. The half time whistle went with the game scoreless.
The second half started with Newmarket were determined to grind out a result, Holden and Pears took it in turns to drop into midfield and pick up the spare man. Horncastle had other ideas and weren’t prepared to lay down. The oppositions centre back hit the ball towards the D, a player at the top of the D miss controlled the pass, deflecting it to a player at the far post for a tap in, soon after they doubled their lead after a poor bit of defending leaving keeper Chris Routs again with no chance. The team now had a real battle on their hands and looked like they were down and out. However centre back Simon Harrington started to push forward, Ollie Wade moved to left back, pushing Ben Gotfredsen further forward. Passes that 10 minutes earlier weren’t finding their men and hitting opposition feet began to find their targets.
Holden hit the inside of the post from the top of the D, Mark Pears was fouled by the keeper and Newmarket won their first penalty corner, the keeper saved a Wilson flick, but Newmarket’s tails were up. Josh Dawson won another penalty corner, it was slipped to Wade who fired at the far post where Dawson was inches away from deflecting it goal wards. The game was now dominated by Newmarket, Holden won another penalty corner with Dawson’s deflection saved on the line. Just when it seemed that Newmarket were not going to capitalise on the pressure, the first goal came from Wilson sending the keeper the wrong way from another penalty corner, suddenly it was game on. A minute later the scores were level with Dawson’s reverse stock shot deflecting into the roof of the net by the man trying to clear on the line.
There was only going to be one winner now and as adrenaline pumped the umpires asked the captains of both teams to calm their players down. Newmarket threatened again but seemed to have lost their momentum, with 5 minutes to go despite Mark Pears going close they couldn’t force the winner.
Man of the match was Darren Jenkins for a solid debut at right back, he was run close by Simon Harrington who was outstanding at centre back. The team were grateful to Horncastle for providing two very competent umpires. Next week the team are away at Boston, the last long away game of the season, three points will be essential to ensure they go into Christmas with a lead!