Norwich Dragons 1s 3 – 4 Spalding 1s
A depleted Spalding travelled to Norfolk with 6 unavailable players and with a mixture of illness and injuries in the squad saw Spalding 1’s recalls for the evergreen Steve Rogers (54), Matt Sanders (49), and a place on the bench for manager Jason Naylor (54). Spalding also lost Harry Naylor on the morning due to an injury in training saw him take the place as water boy, manager and key photographer.
Spalding flew out of the traps early on and raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes through 2 penalty corners from Stu Cunnington. Spalding continued to apply pressure without extending their lead. Spaldings energy levels dropped and were unable to handle the Norwich Dragons long aerial. A mistake at the back allowed Norwich back into the game with a smart reverse stick finish. Norwich continued to apply pressure and won a penalty stroke due to a mistimed tackle from Phil Callow. This was despatched despite the best efforts of Haunch in goal. Spalding managed to re group and won another penalty corner which Jacob Baker buried into the bottom corner. Spalding managed to get to half time leading the game 3-2. Spalding struggled to control the game in the second half and lost Will Baker to a green card and despite tireless work from Rodgers, Azzopardi and manger Naylor up front Spalding were unable to add to the lead and get a foot hold in the game. A lapse of concentration in defence allowed Dragons to win a penalty corner which was awarded after a long delay of how high the shot was. With the game at 3-3 and entering the last 5minutes, Spalding showed great resilience and desire to dig out one more chance and it turned out to be the goal of the day which started in defence and a magic touch from Grooby found Cunnington in the D and he coolly rounded the keeper to put Spalding in the lead (4-3). Spalding worked hard for the remaining minutes and a last minute save from Oscar Haunch from a penalty corner ensured Spalding travelled home with 3 points.
MoM – Stu Cunnington
DoD – Will Baker