Men’s 1s: 5-1 win vs North Norfolk 1 (Away)
(J. Atkinson 3, Wade 2)
NEWMARKET THRASH SORRY NORTH NORFOLK
Slick Newmarket kept pace with the top of Division 3NE with a thrilling 5-1 victory over North Norfolk on Saturday afternoon.
It only took 45 seconds for the game to burst into life. James Atkinson was the first to strike after some fantastic Newmarket passing play, with Chris Leggett playing in Josh Dawson on the right of the D. He took one touch to put the ball into the path of Atkinson who fired home. Despite the scoreline, North Norfolk’s keeper did well under plenty of Newmarket pressure, pushing a fierce Matthew Holden strike out for a long corner.
Newmarket went further ahead 20 minutes later as Atkinson nabbed his second goal in style. Darren Jenkins and Holden exchanging a clever one-two pass, to feed Atkinson at the top of the D, finding himself completely unmarked, to under-cut a looping ball over the keeper and bringing the first half to an end.
Although the home side came out after half-time looking for a response, they weren’t able to breach the organised back-line of Hrebeniak, Newnes, Wilson and Jenkins. They also drove several shots just wide with the home side growing in frustration.
It took the Blue and Yellows a while to grow into the second half, but the away side – who had not lost a game in four matches prior to the trip to Cromer – found their spark in the 55th minute. Debutant Matt Lister was deliberately brought down just behind the 23 meter line forcing the umpire to issue a short corner, which Wade converted. This time Leggett pushed the ball out to Wilson, who found Wade in a lot of space in a training-ground routine, only to see his strike rattle the back board to further extend their lead.
North Norfolk did manage to take advantage of some shambolic defending by Jordan Newnes (it wasn’t quite that bad -L), as he cleared the ball onto the stick of the opposition striker who calmly flicked over Martin McCourt. Newnes however, atoned for his mistake just 5 minutes later, as he drilled the ball across half the pitch to find Wade. He managed to dance past two defenders and reverse hit the ball powerfully into the far right hand corner and for his second of the game.
Atkinson sealed the victory with minutes left. Harry Bell picked out Holden at the top of the D with a sublime through ball, and the former Prem A star had his shot palmed away, but Atkinson collected the ball and put it over the outcoming keeper to add the fifth and to complete his hat-trick.
Men’s 2s: 1-2 loss vs Norwich Dragons 4 (Home)
Norwich Dragons were Newmarket’s Men’s 2s opponents this week. With similar points to Newmarket and after the Men’s 2s past games the home side was ready to try to add another win to their name. Newmarket were the first to achieve a short corner, within the first 5 minutes, but unfortunately yielded few results other than the gained knowledge that it was possible to work their way into the dragons den. Throughout the first half Newmarket did not venture into the den often. Norwich were quick to retaliate from the short corner, regularly using their upfront players to put pressure on men’s 2s defensive line consisting again of John B. and the Three Amigos, Simon Acosar-ington, Andrew Panadero and Ayuda Atkinson (other translation services are available) backed up by keeper Seth Bailey who kept out a couple shots from attacking short corners. Unfortunately for the match report the first half of hockey was rather uneventful so it is therefore difficult to present in an exciting manner but like the previous games of the season great connections were made from the defence through to Simon Donald and then again to Jonny (had-his-warm-up-cigarette) Smokey Bunker, Mark-the-set-up-king “Arsenal” Pears. After more short corners from both sides that resulted in no mark on the score sheet, the first half finished at 0-0. Newmarket knew that they had made multiple opportunities to score and after a few daft punk lyrics “harder, better, faster, stronger” they were ready to start the second half. A few more minutes of humdrum hockey passed and finally Newmarket made a break that was worth something. Using a combination of Bunker’s pace, Trent’s positioning and Arsenal’s modest assisting ability the ball made it over the Dragons goal line after a casual tap off Ollie Trent’s stick making it 1-0 to Newmarket. This angered the Dragons who dug their claws into the astro and launched forward attacking more frequently and as the rules of probability would have it they finally found a gap in Newmarket’s fatiguing defence and scored the levelling goal. Both teams continued to contest for the ball, with special commitment from Captain Drew Wood who made his signature diving shot to the bottom left corner that unluckily missed the goal by inches. It must have been the sun in Newmarket’s eyes that saw another of Norwich’s balls slip past the defence and onto the backboard making it 2-1 towards the end of the second half. Although disheartened, Newmarket continued to fight for the ball making some good runs using the left and right channels up until the final whistle. The home side walked off the pitch feeling the weight of a defeat much greater than a 1 goal difference, disappointed in their performance and determined to rise phoenix like at the Dragon’s own den in the new year.
Ladies’ 1s: 2-1 win vs Wisbech Town 2 (Away)
(G. Evans, Kelly)
Newmarket travelled to the fens with a depleted team due to injury and holidays. Newmarket however where confident that they kept their shape and concentration that they could beat Wisbech who were sitting several places below them in the table.
The first half started of with Wisbech pressing hard. Newmarket took the pressure well not panicing but keeping their shape and by 10mins in where pushing back and started to consistently penetrate the Wisbech half. Some good passes between Hayley Stoneman and Tania Fisher in midfield allowed the forwards to create the space in the d. Newmarket had several chances and it was only a matter of time before an attack resulted in a goal by a perfectly angled shot from Hannah Kelly on her debut for the 1’s. The goal settled Newmarket who began to push well as a whole team with Faye Andreou leading from the back giving some solid passes to create some great attacking moves. With the score 1 – 0 at halftime Newmarket knew a win was on the cards if they could continue the second half with the same pace and commitment.
The second half opened with Wisbech scoring within the first 5mins after a break from their 23 caught the Newmarket defence off guard. The goal prompted Newmarket to up their work rate and they soon consistently found themselves in the Wisbech D winning half a dozen short corners. Unable to convert the corners it was to take some great passes and some patience before Grace Evans added herself to the score sheet. Newmarket knew if they could close ranks and keep the formation tight the game was theirs. Newmarket kept their heads and some solid work from all meant the final score of 2-1 gave Newmarket the points they deserved.
Newmarket now sit comfortably, exactly mid table and go into next weeks game at home against City of Peter bough who sit 2pts above them in the tables with a positivity and ready for their next win.
Ladies’ 2s: 2-4 loss vs Pelicans 1 (Home)
Newmarket L2s took a bite of the victory cake this weekend, chewed it and somehow spat it out. It is apparent that our taste buds still need a little education…
Pelicans were the visitors to Newmarket home pitch this weekend and from their first push back, Newmarket won the 50:50 balls and were on the attack. Certainly not the afternoon nap which had been so disastrous last week. Working the ball up the right side of the pitch, Bea Jones passed to Calli Cannon who shot the ball so hard that though the goalie got a pad to the ball, it still crossed the line and Hannah Fox who had been ready on the back post could celebrate Newmarket taking a lead 1-0. Scoring before the opposition? Unheard of, as yet, this season.
Pelicans’ coach exhorted them to hunt in pairs and they did. Newmarket just kept digging deeper and through neat passing perplexed their opposition, making another break and from the top of the D another shot was successfully deflected by Pelicans’ keeper but Emma Lankfer swooped onto the rebound and saw it home.
Pelicans’ feathers thoroughly ruffled, they showed they were capable of fast breaks too and with all of Newmarket’s defence the wrong side of the D, were 3-on-1 with Newmarket’s keeper. Jersey Bennett saved the day and Captain Zoe Bailey hugged the young guardian of the score line for showing her mettle in a two stage save.
Newmarket’s concentration lapsed a little and the next time Pelicans made a break, they were able to beat all 11 players. Nevertheless Newmarket entered half time break from the giddy heights of 2-1 up. It bears repeating: 2-1 UP
Coach Chris Evans said it was the best hockey he has seen the 2s play for a couple of seasons, “just keep it up”
Pelicans’ coach must have used the half time break to metamorphose his players from Pelicans to velociraptors. In the second half, not a single ball was released from a home free hit as they pounced on Newmarket’s every attempt, hunting not only in pairs but triads. They equalised by blocking a 16yd hit and transferring quickly within their triplicity to score.
Newmarket continued to show skills, individually and as a team. Grace Morris ran in all directions without flagging, cutting passes, hassling attackers, channelling and tackling in a way which won her joint Man of the Match with Jersey.
At 2-3 down after a successful Pelicans penalty corner came a Newmarket break into the sunny end of the pitch but left the team wondering what a beautiful thing advantage is when a decisive umpire was faster than Zoe Bailey to assess a foot foul and the sweep that guided the ball into the bottom left hand corner was disallowed. The foot foul resulted in a penalty corner but the shot was released from outside the D, did not meet the post attacker, bounced off the post and the corner was judged to be finished; sadly marking the end of Newmarket’s attack for the day.
A last goal came from Pelicans fitter side but Newmarket L2s can hold their heads high: another reduction in their match goal difference, 90% of last season’s goal tally under their belts and promising improvements to areas of their play that will see a win before long.
Ladies’ 3s: 1-0 win vs St Neots 3 (Home)
The ladies’ 3s faced St Neots 3rd team on Saturday morning. Newmarket started strong with plenty of good joined up play between the mids and forwards. While St Neots made quick work of circling back, Newmarket’s defence and goalie were on top form, and efforts proved unfruitful for them. Newmarket found themselves with quite a few attacking short corners. Newmarket were to be rewarded for their efforts as Sam Brooke took the ball along the base line to slot into the goal between the keepers legs.
Half time saw the girls 1-0 up and feeling strong and buoyed by their performance.
During the second half there was plenty of attempts from both sides to add some goals, but attempts on both sides proved futile. St Neots became increasingly frustrated as shot after shot was either blocked by Newmarket’s defence or goalie.
The game ended as a 1-0 win for Newmarket’s ladies, which they were delighted with, and one of the ladies strongest performances for the season so far. Goalie Jersey Bennett took man of the match for a flawless performance.
Next week sees the ladies take on Ely 3s at Ely.
Ladies’ 4s: 0-5 loss vs Cambridge City 5 (Away)
After the potential of this game being conceded during the week due to lack of players, Newmarket scraped a team of 11 together to venture off to the lovely grounds at Wilberforce Road to face Cambridge City 5. With thanks to Mel Podd and Charlie Wombwell for playing 2 games to make sure Newmarket had the 11 they need, the girls started off strong wanting to win the game. With some great work from Emily Fairweather, Milly Howe, Milou Ottolini and Sophie Kelly in the midfield, City had to work hard to get past them into the defence. With constructive shouting from skipper Jess Boyle in the goal (yes she went back to her roots this week) the defence of Sarah Gainford, Helen Atkinson, Mel Podd and Jess Allen were more than a match for City’s forwards. Unfortunately however, City managed to slot a goal past Boyle and went 1-0 up. Things got a little shaky towards the half time whistle with City getting a lot of shots towards the goal. A final short corner awarded to City left Newmarket fighting to stop another goal going in. And fight they did! A spectacular performance from Allen on the post stopped the ball from fully crossing the line, and luckily enough the umpire didn’t see it hit her foot on the line either otherwise a full blown crisis of a penalty flick would have had to be saved… Crisis averted!!
With a appraising team talk at half time from Boyle, and a couple of added extra pointers from coach Twm Wade, Newmarket entered the second half thirsty for a goal or two! Some great play down the widths from Atkinson in defence saw Wombwell and Kelly attacking the oppositions 23 pretty quickly, but alas no goal found. Some interception work from Howe found Brooke Le Maire awaiting the ball down the right hand side but again no goal found (bugger!). City managed to gain 4 goals in the second half, one of which should never have been allowed as it was a dangerous reverse in the defending D but never mind. The girls held their head high and look forward to going into next week’s game rearing to go.
Man of the match was closely awarded by just 1 vote by Sarah Ganiford who had a phenomenal game in defence. Dick of the day was awarded for a second time to Emily Fairweather for walking out her house and forgetting her stick… Again! Next week Newmarket face Ely City 2 at home at 10:30. All spectators welcome to cheer on the ever growing ladies 4 team.