Newmarket men’s 1st XI 3 – 1 Ely City men’s 2nd XI
After last week’s impressive performance against fellow promotion rivals Rutland, Newmarket went into this local derby against Ely high on confidence. The league table goals conceded column suggested that Ely would be tight at the back and hard to break down and it didn’t lie.
In truth Newmarket found the first half hard work, Ely were fit and well organised and pressed well high up the pitch, combined with Newmarket’s inability to maintain quality possession and over eagerness to go from front to back too quickly made for a scrappy first 20 minutes during which neither keeper was tested frequently.
After about 20 minutes as Ely tired, Newmarket began to find their passing, the movement of Mike Skelton and Matt Holden up front created spaces and Josh Dawson started to find room on the right. Newmarket started to win penalty corners but wasted the first two they had, Dawson somehow deflecting over the bar from a foot out! They then twice almost took the lead through Alex Andreou, once firing wide when in space in the D and then arrowing a powerful shot towards the bottom corner from an angle only to watch the Ely keeper get his toe to it to just deflect it round the post.
The defensive quartet for Will Wilson, Simon Harrington, Jordan Newnes and David Worrall had to be particularly alert as Ely looked to break with real pace whenever Newmarket conceded possession high up the pitch. With their additional man in midfield it was difficult for Chris Leggett and Andreou to get tight which meant they chased shadows creating space midfield to play the balls into channel for the forward to run onto.
As half time approached Newmarket won another penalty corner, Wilson’s flick was deemed to have struck a players body on the line and a penalty stroke was awarded, Captain Wilson strode up to take the penalty, and rather embarrassingly beat the otherwise superb goal keeper with a poor flick that bobbled along the floor, under the keeper and into the net, they all count and Newmarket had the lead they craved.
At half time Newmarket reshuffled the pack, James Wrinch stepped in at centre back and pushed up to match Ely’s three in the middle when they had possession. Newmarket began to find their passing, with the tireless Ollie Wade always in space on the left flack, giving the right back a torrid time. Newmarket forced a few more penalty corners which unusually they failed to capitalise on, but soon scored two quick fire goals, both times Skelton collecting the rebound after the excellent keeper had blocked the initial effort to fire into either bottom corner.
With plenty of time on the clock, Newmarket should really have scored more, but chances went begging when men failed to post up (Holden) and shot wide with players better placed. There was time for Ely to score a goal of their own from a penalty corner. Goalie Chris Routs blocked the initial strike but could do nothing as Ely were first to the rebound and slotted home.
Ely were reduced to 10 when one of their players said one word to many to the umpire, with the additional man Newmarket still went forward for further goals, but found the keeper unbeatable form rushing twice form his line to smoother efforts from Harry Bell when he was through on goal.
The final whistle went to end a frenetic local derby! In the bar afterwards there was a debate on award of the penalty stroke, but none on the final outcome for which Newmarket were worthy winners. Man of the match was Jordan Newnes for a superb performance at centre back, marking his pacy attacker well and intercepting whenever needed. He was also dick of the day for the ridiculous time he took to get all his kit on before the start of the match.
Next week Newmarket are away against Alford & District in Skegness, yes Skegness, 300 minutes of driving for 70 minutes of hockey! Fortunately the team all have their matching inspirational music mix’s compiled by local Welsh DJ Dafyd Worrall to listen to on the journey. It will be a tough game against opponents that have been promoted with the club for the past 2 season, we deservedly won last year but this is a must win game to keep the pressure on first placed Wisbech one point above them.
Mens 2’s v Wisbech: 4-0
After a run of three losses was ended last week with a hard fought 2-2 draw against Bourne Deeping, hopes where high for another good result against Wisbech. With a team that has rarely put out the same team twice in a row, more changes had to be made for the trip to Wisbech, with Ben Justin coming into the middle of the park and one of last weeks goalscorers, Chris Evans, dropping back into defence and young goalkeeper John-Luke Peagram making only his second start of the season.
Wisbech got off to fine start, putting pressure on the Newmarket goal right from the whistle and coming close to scoring within a few minutes of the start. Newmarket defended stoutly however, and the back four of Pete Boyle, Adrian Atkinson, Darren Jenkins and Chris Evans where more than a match for the Wisbech attack. And on the rare occasion the attack broke through the defence, they came across John-Luke Peagram in goal who was to go on to give an inspired performance between the sticks that earned him man of the match.
After soaking up the pressure Newmarket launched a series of counter-attacks that led to several penalty corners, from which Mark Pears flicked a stunner into the Wisbech goal, 1-0 Newmarket.
The first half continued in the same manner, and as the half wore on Newmarket began to dominate, with the midfield pairing of Justin and Ben Gottfredson bossing the middle of the park. The half ended 1-0, but spirits where high.
The second half started where the first left off, with Newmarket on the attack, which was soon rewarded when Ben Justin hit the backboard, 2-0 Newmarket.
Soon after young James Atkinson was set free by Johnny Bunker and scored his first goal in Newmarket colours. As the second half continued some marauding runs from the back by Evans and Jenkins almost led to Jenkins recording his first goal, but as so often in the game the Wisbech ‘keeper was not to be easily beaten. However, after some excellent work down the flanks by Rob Greene and Jordan Walker, Newmarket where soon 4-0 up when Justin was able to find the back of the net for his second goal.
With Chris Evans returning to coaching duties next week, more changes will be necessary, but on the back of this result confidence will be high for the visit from Louth who currently top the table.