Newmarket travelled to Wisbech for the final game of the season, knowing that they needed to better Wisbech 2nds result to win the league, with Wisbech 2nds playing 9th placed St Neots, Newmarket didn’t expect and started the game like they were already on their summer holidays.
With Simon Harrington having clinched dick of the day for the last month he did the honourable thing and asked to play for the seconds, forcing a re-shuffle which lead to Alex Andreou being deployed at centre back with the excellent Jordan Newnes.
Newmarket deservedly fell behind after a few minutes. Wisbech’s outstanding number 11 who must consider himself unfortunate not to get selected for their first team, skipped round a couple of weak challenges, drove the D and shot at the far post, where there centre forward deflected in from all of 6 inches.
Newmarket didn’t heed the warning, after some lax play and a lack of concentration in midfield were soon two goals behind, the same player driving the D, this time shooting reverse stick, just wide of the far post where the same player, same distance was there to deflect in.
Wisbech were 2 goals up and deserved it, Coach Nick Thorpe made a few tactical tweeds and substitutions from the sideline, bringing Ben Gotfredsen on from the bench who slotted in at left half, he had a solid game and didn’t look out of place at this level.
With the attacking quartet of Mike Skelton, Matt Holden, Mark Pears and Harry Bell making good runs Newmarket started to find them creating chances further up the pitch. Newmarket won a penalty corner which the keeper saved comfortably, Chris Leggett chased the ball down into the far right corner and his cross was deflected into goal by Mark Pears reverse stick.
With the defence of Will Wilson, Newnes, Andreou and the excellent Dave Worrall marking tight and not diving in on the future first team prospect the gradually started to dominate, Holden beat a couple of men in the D and Gotfredsen almost got to is cross shot for a tap in at the far post.
At half time Newmarket where a goal behind and quite rightly got a piece of Coach Thorpe’s mind, he switched full backs round with Worrall left and Wilson right and Newmarket dominated the second half. Harry Bell started to come into the game on the right driving the flank and firing some superb balls into the D.
Eventually the pressure told and the penalty corners began to flow, Wade score the second with a drag to the bottom right corner. Newmarket almost took the lead moments later, Andreou’s long clearance found Pears, he beat a man drove at the right post dragging defence out of position before squaring to Holden for a tap in at the far post, with the goal gaping Holden could only find the outside of the post.
It didn’t matter Newmarket soon took the lead, after a free flowing move the Pears drew the keeper and found Bell at the right post to slam home. Bell then scored the fourth, reacting first to bravely lift the ball over the on rushing keeper into the roof of the net.
Bell then scored Newmarket’s fourth driving into the D and firing the ball into the bottom corner with an assured finish. Game set and match and a worthy finish to another fantastic season, which has seen the team win 20 out of 22 league games but still finish second.
Dick of the day was pretty simple, the vote was unanimous for Holden, the big man consistently demonstrated exceptional stick skills and average shooting!
Man of the match was a close run thing, keeper Routs kept the boys in it for the first 20 minutes, Mark Pears was superb upfront scoring the vital first goal and assisting with both of Harry Bells, Dave Worrall defended brilliantly at full back, Andreou distributed well from centre back and Ollie Wade dictated the pace of the game with some silky skills in the middle, with everybody tied on 2 votes the captain decided and opted to Wade, who has come on leaps and bounds this season and like the rest of the team should thoroughly look forward to what division 2 North has to offer!
With defenders Simon Harrington and James Wrinch, and forwards Josh Dawson and Ed Griffiths unavailable it was a real test of the squads strength in depth with a couple of additions the team should be able to hold its own in division 2 North next season. The team would like to thank Nick Thorpe for his tremendous work coaching the side this season, we all look forward to working with him next year.