LSHC Ladies First v Spalding 1s

Played Away on 9th March 2019
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9th Mar 2019 Mens' 2nd - Away vs Cambridge Nomads 2s


Jess Burton profile


 The last local derby of the season between Long Sutton and Spalding at Surfleet with the home team needing the points to pull clear of the relegation battle. A local derby is always a keenly contested affair, and this was no different. The weather was blowing a gale with either sunshine or rain and this meant that it was going to be a factor as well. With Charley Leuty and Lauren Cooper missing, Sutton had to change formation, so Captain Bland moved to right back with Rhian Goodge made the left midfield position her own. Jemima Dodd returned on the bench to form another strong squad. The match started with Sutton playing with the wind behind their backs and the sun (when out) in Spalding's eyes. As always, Sutton started with the high press and gave Spalding no time or space on the ball. Everyone was closed down and Spalding were forced to play deep in their own half from the start. The trio of Emmy & Connie Gittins and Amber Jones were taking the ball from the Spalding players almost as soon as they received it but for the first 10 minutes, Sutton couldn't quite get the desired clean shot but did earn 3 short corners in quick succession. All were ably dealt with as Sutton struggled to find the clinical finish required however the warning signs were there. On 14 minutes, Connie Gittins picked the ball off of a Spalding player on the 25 yard line and turned towards goal. Linking with her sister, they passed their way through the remaining defenders before slipping the ball across to Amber Jones who lifted the ball beyond the keeper and into the roof of the net. Just reward for the dominance of the opening quarter of an hour. Spalding continued to try and work their way out from the back, but Jess Burton and Rhian Goodge were not allowing any ground and played brilliantly to deny Spalding any room along the Sutton left. With Spalding pinned down, Burton and Goodge played higher than normal and were delivering regular balls into the D. Jo Bland created space and control on the right which allowed Sutton to work both flanks at will. However, the wind and work rate meant that occasionally Spalding did work the ball over the half way line, but these were dealt with by Maisie Sullivan and Tania White who made sure that Sutton Old Girl Lynn Sullivan ended up being a spectator. Gemma Parr and Sarah Walker were patrolling the middle section of the pitch against their younger opposition showing that experience and fitness trump youth and fitness. However, with the umpires signaling 2 minutes, Spalding managed to force a short corner. Predictably, the ball went to Lynn Sullivan and Lorraine Wallis dealt with the shot easily. Sutton conceded another short corner from the break down but this one was missed by the castle at the top of the D before coming back in and being cleared. Half time. A re-focus of effort for the next 35 minutes as well as a few Haribo for the second half head wind. Sutton knew that with the backwind and the fact that Spalding had to win, this was going to be a tough half, but Sutton again started strongly. Sutton forced another short corner which was cleared. The ball went up the other end where Spalding forced a short of their own. A very good switch routine found the Spalding winger unmarked on the far post. Her sweep from a yard out looped up and hit the post before bouncing off and being cleared. Perhaps if that had gone in, the game may have ended differently but this gave Sutton new resolve and Jemima Dodd, running positively and confidently, also created space and opportunities although clear cut chances were rare. Emmy Gittins returning from the bench ran onto the pitch and onto a through ball which she took past the last defender before going to the keepers right and as she went to put the ball in the net, the keeper made a great recovering save to keep Spalding in the game. As the clock wound down, Spalding continued to try and break down the Sutton wall but eventually time ran out. The result moved Long Sutton into 5th in the table after 10 points from the last 12 available, and with Alford losing, meant that relegation was an impossibility. Spalding meanwhile face relegation rivals Pelicans next week in another ‘must win' match. Good luck to them but most of all, well played to our ladies 1's. they have ran, battled, tackled and played their hearts out this year. The season started with young new faces learning their trade and they have become established players worthy of their places. Along with this, the established players have given assured performances week in week out as well as enabling these young players to grow. The movement off the ball up front has been incredible to watch but the over-riding factor is the team spirit and commitment to work for each other. MOM: Jess Burton