M1’s v Pelicans 2’s

Newmarket Men’s 1st 3 – 4 Pelicans Men’s 2nd
Goals: Johnny Bunker, William Wilson, Mike Skelton
Newmarket lined up for their final home game of the season with Dave Worrall, James Atkinson and Captain Ed Griffith unavailable through injury, Vice-Captain Josh Dawson suspended following last week misdemeanour’s, Harry Bell, Ben Barclay (nee Gottfredsen) unavailable due to work commitments. First port of call would normally have been veteran former first teamer Simon Harrington but he was also injured or Alex Andreou who was trying something new and having fun somewhere.
Newmarket scraped together a 12 man squad for this 3rd versus 4th decider, giving a first start to second team captain Drew Wood and a third cap for Johnny Bunker and fourth for Louis Hrebeniak (I’m lucky Facebook exists so I check the spelling once a week, apparently it’s double barrelled and he only uses the easy bit….). What ensued was an enthralling but also exhausting 70 minutes of end to end hockey, which Pelicans just shaded by the odd goal on the day.
Newmarket went behind after about 10 minutes, conceding possession high up the pitch with insufficient defensive cover McCourt in the Newmarket goal was given no chance and Newmarket were a goal down, he was clearly on a much darker side of the pitch this week after last week superhuman effort!
Newmarket equalised soon afterwards, Hrebeniak putting in another composed display full of maturity at left back, worked the ball out of a tight corner, he found Skelton who sent McTaggart scampering down the left flank, and his cross was calmly dispatched by Johnny Bunker at the far post for his inaugural first team goal.
Newmarket committed a cardinal sin in allowing Pelicans to retake the lead minutes later, the right winger getting the better of Hrebeniak (for the first and last time) to cross to an unmarked centre forward to tap home.
Newmarket pressed for an equaliser, Mark Pears penetrated well from right back, Holden won a handful or penalty corners, which the keeper either blocked and when they could a defender cleared off the line, Newmarket were still vulnerable on the break though and fortunately McCourt was on hand to keep Town in the game.
At half time Newmarket were 2-1, coach Thorpe made a tactical re-shuffle, bringing Jordan Newnes back to centre back and pushing William Wilson into midfield. The game continued in a similar pattern to that of the first half, Newmarket having better possession but Pelicans always looking dangerous. They made it 3-1 when Newmarket reacted too slowly to a free hit and Pelicans star player beat 3 men and flicked passed the despairing McCourt (I’m sure if he continues to put in those sort of performances, the first team who incidentally weren’t playing today will surely pick him).
McTaggart managed to fall over all by himself and sprain his ankle, so Newmarket were now down to the bare 11, the team still pushed on, Wilson played a one two with Holden at the top of the D and thundered the ball in to make the score 2-3, as was to be the theme for the day Pelicans scored again. Newmarket continued to plough forward, Leggett squared for Wilson to hit first time and Mike Skelton deflected the ball passed the keeper from close range.
Newmarket almost clinched an equaliser when Leggett and Holden found Skelton in the D and his cross was just ahead of diving Bunker with the goal gaping. The final whistle went, Newmarket lost but had put in a team performance which deserved much more! Man of the match was that man Louis Hrebeniak, who is destined to be a first team regular for many years to come.