Hockey: Gittins hits brace as Long Sutton Ladies march on with Cambridge City 4ths success
LSHC Ladies 2 Cambridge City 4ths 0 (at March)
Sutton stepped into the second of three matches against lower teams knowing a win was required again, and captain Bland expected nothing less.
With the 2nds' match off, Long Sutton had a squad of 14 with everyone available. However, a couple of illnesses and injuries meant they weren't quite all 100 per cent match fit. Sutton welcomed back Gemma Parr.
From the off Sutton, playing at their adopted home in March, tried to settle and push hard however Cambs City presented a style which was new to the Sutton players. They forward-marked and were quick around the pitch which meant that the opening 15 minutes were a bit scrappy.
However, the defensive unit were all playing well, and nothing really got though to Lorraine Wallis in goal. The wide midfielders of Jo Bland, Katie Collingwood Smith, Jemima Dodd and Hannah Baker all found great space.
This gave more space to Emmy Gittins and Gemma Parr in the middle to get the ball forward for the runs of Connie Gittins and Amber Jones.
With just under three minutes left, Collingwood-Smith won the ball wide on the left and played the ball along the side-line to Jones. She worked her way quickly into the D before playing the ball back to Bland. Unselfishly, she laid the ball off to Connie Gittins who slapped it into the roof of the net.
With backwind in the second half, the game should have been sown up earlier than it was, but the Cambs City midfield were breaking up much of the play. Cambs forced a couple of short corners but they came to nothing.
With the ball being so wide and quickly, the game stretched open in the last 10 minutes and, as in the first half, this created holes through the middle.
The second goal came with just under four minutes left when Parr played the ball from the edge of D to Connie Gittins. She beat her marker and had a clear run through on goal. She entered the D, waited for the keeper to commit herself and calmly lifted the ball into the right-hand side of the goal.
Both goals came from the training pitch on Wednesday night. Coach Evans will be justifiably proud.
Overall, the commitment to training and playing from the whole squad paid handsome dividends on Saturday.
Seven games in and sitting in sixth position only three points off second place is a good achievement.
Another game against lower opposition next weekend sees another trip to Cambridge to play the University side at Wilberforce Road, push back is 11.30.
Player of the match: Connie Gittins.
Norwich Dragons 1sts 4 LSHC Men 1
The Sutton storm chasers headed east on a day more suited for the monsoon season looking for their first win of the season with a full squad.
The game started at the same tempo as the wind and after 10 minutes Norwich scored after a long ball sliced through the Sutton midfield and resulted in a tap-in for the forward.
This was followed within a minute with a second – almost a carbon copy of the first.
Sutton were stunned but managed to find their composure with Dan Batten and Jacob Synott taking hold of the midfield and it was no surprise when they reduced the deficit following excellent work from Jacob who passed to Nick Ellis who crossed to Batten to finish.
Sutton continued to press forward with a number of chances forged and not taken as the score remained 2-1 at half time.
Sutton started the second half in the same vein with the defence holding firm and Will Taylor, Ed White and Mckenzie East putting in good performances; chances were once again created and not taken as well as nothing being returned from eight short corners won by the travelling side – the longer the half went on, the more likely Sutton would be to rue this profligacy.
A couple of sucker punches at the end of the half gave the final score a gloss.
Player of the match: Daniel Batten.