LSHC Ladies First v Spalding - FRIENDLY

Played Away on 19th September 2020
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19th Sep 2020 Ladies 2nd - Home vs Spalding - FRIENDLY

Long Sutton Ladies travelled to local rivals Spalding in a hastily arranged friendly following the push back of the East League by one week.

Sutton arrived to find a much- changed Spalding side to the one that they are used to facing, a much younger side and a large squad. With a couple of players unavailable Sutton had travelled with 11 and were very grateful for Lucy Smith stepping up from the twos at short notice.

Sutton started the better of the two sides and forced Spalding back from the off but were lacking in the final third. Spalding gradually began to gain a foothold in the game and looked dangerous in attack, even though Smith was proving herself more than capable of the step up into the firsts, in the heart of defence alongside stalwart Tania White. Spalding however gained a short-corner and found themselves 1-0 up when the ball was shifted quickly to the right for a shot from the top of the D which evaded the unsighted Sutton Keeper. With Baker senior arriving late, having completed her duties at Junior training, Lauren Cooper, who is still feeling her way back from a serious injury, last season, was able to take a well-earned rest. Jess Burton was also able to push into a more advanced role, which is to be her position this year and allow Amber Jones to make her customary runs into the left corner of the pitch picking up long balls which she had no right to reach, but all to no avail as the half ended 1-0 to Spalding. A new normal, socially distanced half-time team talk ensued and having taken on fluids Sutton were ready for the second half.

Again Sutton started brightly and took more control of this half with the willing running of Emmy and Connie Gittins, and Katie Collingwood Smith pushing Spalding back but as in the first half the final ball was often not quite accurate enough to enable Sutton to grab the equaliser, despite Hannah Baker's best efforts. With Spalding still pushing forward, Sutton were able to soak up the pressure, with the reliable Gemma Parr breaking up the attacks and were then able to counter attack at speed. One such counter attack saw Emmy Gittins carry the ball into the D, fighting off a challenge from a Spalding defender, passing the ball to her sister Connie, who slapped the ball towards the goal, and although another Spalding defender got her stick to the ball she was unable to stop the ball from crossing the goal line. 1-1.

With time running out, it looked as if the game would end in a draw but a quick free hit taken by Spalding found Charlotte Mablethorpe on her own in the D and she was able to lift the ball past the onrushing keeper and fortunately another Spalding player was able to get her stick to the ball on the far post to deflect the ball into the goal. A little bit of fortunate but Spalding had probably just edged the game and were worthy winners.

Hopefully the two teams will meet again in the league in a few weeks, however in the current era, we are all just glad to be able to play a sport that we love and will have to wait to see how the season pans out.

Woman of the match was shared this week between Emmy Gittins and Katie Collingwood-Smith.