Newmarket Ladies 1’s v’s Shefford and Sandy 1’s: 2-2 draw
After winning their last two games Newmarket were primed to face top of the league opposition -Shefford and Sandy. The game proved to be a fiesty contest as tempers flared due to the importance of the result to both teams.
Newmarket took the game straight to Shefford’s half of the pitch and immediately shots were fired at the opposition keeper. Zoe Bailey who was on the right wing for Town showed great speed and awareness providing many crosses to goal but the final connection did not come for Newmarket.
The game play was completely free flowing with both sides able to create attacking chances but Shefford began to demonstrate ‘top of the league’ skills and Sue Bullimore had to deflect numerous shots, high and low away from her goal. Despite this, a quick release in defence by Gail McDonnell sent Claire McDonnell on her way up field. Supported by Jenny Richards McDonnell passed centrally to Louise Downs – she shot and the ball was stopped on the line by the defender’s foot. A penalty stroke was awarded to Town and set piece specialist Downs struck wisely, low and to the left to put Newmarket in front.
Shefford and Sandy were seriously rattled and frustrations were taken out on the Newmarket players, sideline supporters and umpires. Town perhaps slightly unnerved by their oppositions attitudes allowed Shefford to drive up field and as they switched the ball around the D a shot found the backboards to make the score level.
The second half was just as fiery and Shefford were still frustrated not to have scored more against their opposition. It took them only 5 minutes to flick another strike into goal but Newmarket were not beaten and began to calm the game, and dominate the possession. Town now solid in defence were ready to counter and Clodie Rolph found teammate Isabel Hooley. With one swift move she passed to Di Thomas mid D. She managed to lose her marker and slam a ball into goal past the unsighted keeper.
The game sank to a new low as the league leaders were again very vocal in their disappointment only to be drawing against a team who they expected to pick up 3 points from. In order to defuse the situation the crowd of 40 strong supporters were asked by the umpire to leave the pitch area; despite not being the cause of the problem.
The final 10 minutes Newmarket had the upper hand and swarmed the Shefford D although play slowed significantly as both sides seemed to accept a draw was imminent. The final score of 2-2 meant that Shefford and Sandy surrendered the top spot and Newmarket slipped a position to 9th in the league but Town were pleased to pick up an unexpected point. With similar level opposition left to play in the next few weeks Newmarket have a fighting chance of remaining mid table – out of the relegation zone. (Player of Match – Clodie Rolph).