Spaldjng 1s 4 – 2 Cambridge University 2s
Spalding returned to action in 2024 for the first time and hosted a Cambs Uni side.
A well contested first half saw the game played at a good pace and chances falling to both teams. Spalding were dealt a scare when Jacob Baker went down unchallenged after he played a pass clutching his leg but to the relief of everyone he was able to go off unaided and come back into the action. Spalding began to up the pressure on the uni back line and great pressing from Darren Grooby saw him intercept a pass and square the ball to Dan Azzopardi who first time swept the ball into the net. Superb work rate in the midfield from Hulme, Naylor and Blackman kept the Uni team quiet without testing Spalding goalkeeper.
Spalding started the second half on the front foot and won a penalty corner following some good pressing again from the forward line. Stu Cunnington’s reverse stick stop was smartly stopped by the keeper but Grooby was on hand to push the ball into the back of the net. This spurned a reaction from Uni but the defence held firm until a quick break saw Uni working the ball quickly in the D and despite the best efforts of Haunch in goal the ball was flicked into the net. Spalding reacted again by winning a series of penalty corners and a superb strike from the top of the D saw Jacob Baker make the score 3-1. Again the game took another turn as Uni attacked down the wing and a ball fired across the D saw a striker and Oscar going for the ball. Confusion then came as everyone assumed a long corner would be awarded however the umpire deemed the striker touched the ball and awarded a goal. Spalding dug deep and with tired legs and quick rotations happening it allowed Will Baker to smash a ball across the D that hit Grooby’s stick and looped over the keeper into the back of the net. For the last 5 mins Uni pulled their keeper but Spalding professionally saw the game out to start 2024 with 3 points.
Man of the match – Harry Naylor
DoD – Darren Grooby