Hillcroft 4 – 5 Spencer
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Croydon 9 – 8 Spencer 2’s
Spencer 2’s paid the price for a very slow start as they lost 9-8 to a handy Croydon side who were the hungrier of the two teams. Spencer surrendered a 4 or 5 goal lead and whilst we tied it up and even took the lead at one point, our problems persisted and Croydon ran out deserved winners.
For pretty much the first time this season the defensive performance fell a bit flat and we allowed Croydon far too much space to receive the ball in threatening positions, leaving Neil with a lot to do from close quarters. This was compounded by 8 or 9 man down situations (for a variety of offenses from all ranks in the team) from which Croydon picked up a number of goals.
At the other end of the field it was another patchy day for the attack. The Croydon defence played us tight and did not give us a lot of time to settle, consequently forcing us into some sloppy or unnecessarily risky passing.
Croydon’s long poles then did a good job on ground ball and the Spencer middies found themselves on the (very) long run back down to our defensive half. We did actually work enough opportunities to win however the keeper was in good form smothering a number of close quarter shots and dealing easily with some of the more speculative efforts from long range.
We should really have tied the game up late on as Nick was presented with an open goal after a wayward pass from the Croydon goalie when clearing. But, he rushed the shot (from the half way line) and it strayed agonisingly wide. Cue derisive comments from team mates (fair enough!!!)
The East 1 Division is a real melting pot at the moment with, for example, the previously struggling Buckhurst Hill beating Brighton 7 v 2 this week. So we really need to commit to training and pull out all the stops to close out the remaining games.
East Grinstead A 6 – 9 Spencer 3’s
A massive win for the 3’s against the only team to of scored more than 10 goals against us this season, in the 5-12 defeat back in November.
The 1st quarter was a scrappy affair, quite why we don’t know as playing on the delightful (large) EG astro pitch should be a guarantee for good lacrosse, but Spencer missed three of four glorious goal opportunities early on. Up the other end, EG had little to offer but sneaked two long range shots catching Colin Byrne cold.
The 2nd quarter was much better from Spencer. Gavin Park was dominating the face-off and was now finding the right fast break pass to set-up yet more chances. The main problem for the Spencer offense was moves breaking down in the wrong area of the pitch which allowed EG fast break chances, which they took to lead 4-2 at the half.
The half-time Spencer team talk was very positive. We had much the greater goal threat and probability said we had to start scoring from them. EG were looking tired in their huddle so we also knew we have the legs in midfield to dominate possession. And so it proved as Spencer now forced the fast break, and we score 3 or 4 great goals early in the 3rd quarter as a result.
With a 2 goal lead going into the final quarter we knew the game was still in the balance. Then came the plot twist.
Spencer’s goalkeeper Colin Byrne had to leave the field with a neck/shoulder injury (he’ll be fine for our next game) so the game was paused while we kitted up a volunteer. Debutant Keane Yarish stepped in and whispered to the defence that he was sweating more in goal then for the last hour in midfield! EG scored almost straight away with a long range effort through a screen of players to make it a one goal game. But Spencer hit back straight away from the face-off giving EG little time to even think about sneaking a win.
The final few minutes were still tense. EG tried to force things in attack, a little too late maybe, but the Spencer defence held firm, a big shout to all the midfielders who were on top defensive form today. The game was iced with the 9th goal with less than 1 minute to play.
This result, plus others today leaves East Division Two super close in mid-table. Ignoring Welwyn 2’s, who look probable division winners, and Hitchin A who have yet to find a win so are stuck at the bottom, all 6 other teams have near identical records. Any could go up with Welwyn, but also any could get relegated with Hitchin.
Quarter Scores: 2-1 / 4-2 / 5-7 / 6-9