Alford & District Men’s 1st XI 3 – 5 Newmarket Town Men’s 1st XI
Goal scorers – Will Wilson x 2, Mike Skelton, Simon Harrington & Ollie Wade
Newmarket made the long journey to Skegness for the third consecutive season, hoping that a victory would push them closer to promotion and reducing the possibility of having to make the trip for the fourth successive season. With coach Nic Thorpe unavailable it is was left to Captain Will Wilson to rally the troops!
From past seasons the team certainly knew their opposition well, they play with one high and skilful runners breaking from midfield. Newmarket were supposed to mark tight at the back, play narrow when Alford had the ball and wide when in possession to attack their weaker areas. Newmarket spent the first 20 minutes playing wide with or without the ball. While creating more opportunities, they conceded soft goals from each Alford’s three visits into the Newmarket D.
The first was poor marking by the defence, the second could be attributed in part to an unfortunate umpiring decision in midfield, but too many players were drawn to the ball leaving the forward with a tap in at the far post. Alford couldn’t believe their luck. The third was perhaps the worst of the lot, from a penalty corner goalkeeper Chris Routs was beaten with a looping drag flick, with the postman nowhere to be seen.
Newmarket were somehow losing a game they were dominating 3 nil, skipper Wilson re-jigged the defence swapping himself with centre back Newnes, everybody stepped forward cutting the ball out further up the pitch.
Newmarket started to grow into the game, Chris Leggett and the excellent Alex Andreou stamped their authority on the game, Mike Skelton and Matt Holden found space up front and linked well with Mark Pears, Harry Bell, Josh Dawson and Ollie Wade.
Newmarket proceeded to waste a procession of penalty corners, some agonisingly wide, while others were touched round the post by the keeper. Just before half time they got themselves back into the game from a sweeping move. Leggett played the ball into Holden’s path, he drove the line and pulled back to Wade, who flicked the ball high into the top right corner. Wade almost scored a second a minute later, this time collecting a pass from Andreou and flicking it over the keeper only for a defender to deflect it over the bar.
On the stroke of half time Newmarket lost Andreou to injury, after Newnes’ wayward cross whistled straight onto the end of his bent elbow. Newmarket were grateful to an Alford club member who accompanied Andreou to the local hospital, x-rays later revealed that nothing was broken, much to the expectant Dad and Newnes relief.
At half time Wilson issued a rousing rallying call and his charges didn’t disappoint, moving Wade from left to centre midfield to replace the injured Andreou. With Alford only forcing 2 penalty corners and Routs not making a save the team certainly answered it. A few minutes after the restart Holden won one of a plethora of penalty corners, Harrington’s improvised routine should have been destined for Leggett’s stick but deflected haplessly off the Alford skipper’s foot and over the line.
Confidence and belief surged through the team and it really was a case of when not if. Alford defended deeper and deeper, welcoming wave after wave of Newmarket attacks onto their 25, Wilson drag flicked the equaliser from another penalty corner high into the roof of the net.
Newmarket were now rampant, after a promising attack down the left featuring Newnes and Pears, Alford cleared the initial danger only for Leggett to pick up the loose ball on the 25, riding a challenge he broke into the D, his strike was saved by the keeper but Skelton was there to force home the rebound putting Newmarket ahead for the first time.
The fifth came after a mesmerising dribble by Holden, reminiscent of Arsenal in their pomp, two or three times he point blankly refused to shoot in favour of beating another player, he was eventually fouled in the D, a penalty corner awarded which Wilson despatched to the top right corner. Alford did try and push on to get back in the game, but they found the defence of Newnes, Harrington, Worrall and Wilson to be impenetrable.
Skipper Wilson picked up the man of the match award by a land slide. Dick to the day was a lot closer with 3 contenders. Harry Bell dribbled off the pitch all by himself and concocted some weird protein shake post match, apparently its fine as the recipe was given to him by Lance Armstrong. Dave Worrall forgot his stick, pants and handbag, but the winner for the second week on the bounce was Jordan Newnes, whom forgot the MotM medal and DotD outfit from last week, almost scored the most ridiculous own goal without an opponent in site and tried his best to knobble Andreou.
Next week the team face Cambridge South second XI at home, the game starts at 3:30pm at the Newmarket Leisure Centre, Supporters are always welcome.
Newmarket Ladies 1’s v Spalding Ladies 2’s: 3-3 draw.
Playing away to Spalding Newmarket were confident of a positive result after already beating the same opposition 4-0 in the cup competition. However Spalding were a revived team and the fast pitch created a game of similar nature. Newmarket took initial control and looked set to dominate the outcome. It was Town who struck first after a lovely weaving move between Beth Wombwell, Claire McDonnell,and Hayley Stoneman then found the backboards. Spalding’s heads did not go down and they took advantage of gaps in midfield and with a quick counter attack drew level.
This scoreline stayed until half time. Still remaining the dominant team Town had plenty of chances to take the lead but could not find the goal. Spalding again took advantage of slow reactions from Newmarket and hit the target again. 5 minutes later this happened again leaving Town with a great deal of work to do to bag any points. Finally a chance fell to Wombwell and without hesitation she swept the ball into the net. The play was end to end and with sheer determination McDonnell took on a flurry of players and smashed the ball into the bottom left hand corner making the score level again. The final play of the game caused a lot of drama-a short corner meaning Town could take the lead on the final whistle. Di Thomas hit out, Angel Fayers collected and took a shot, the ball ricoshayed off a Spalding foot and went out of the 25 meter zone-the umpire decided to blow the final whistle instead of re-awarding the short corner due to the foul-an error that could have left Town short of 2 points. However the team look to move on from this and get a win from all future games.