Dereham II 2 Sudbury 4
East Men’s Hockey League
SUDBURY recorded back to back wins in Division 2N for the first time since the opening fortnight of the season and following on from an impressive team performance against Cambridge City the side increased their intensity and work rate taking three points at Dereham which is always a tough prospect.
The Jonathan Lambert Sponsored 1st XI welcomed back Kevin Monk, Brad Bosman and Nick Keefe, with Bosman stepping into midfield and Monk puttting in a man of the match performance alongside the always impressive Blackburn at the back, the onus was on solid defensive work across the pitch - not easy on the Dereham ‘hybrid’ pitch but as the visitors grew into the game this played to Sudburys strengths as lightening counter attacks lead to early possession for Charlie Apter and Ed Griffiths.
In the same vein as the previous week Sudbury saw little of the ball in the opening ten minutes as the home side looked to play route one hockey to the high forward and the young and energetic wingers but Sudbury have shown some real strength in defence and quality going forward in recent weeks and opened the scoring with a goal worthy of any standard of hockey - turning the ball over deep in their own territory a swift succesion of two touch passing saw the ball transferred down the left flank between Bosman, Clubb, Bevan and Griffiths before being fired across goal for Apter to touch home - a stunning goal.
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The game continued with the home side looking direct to their physical and experienced central players and Sudbury soaking up the pressure and looking to exploit the pace of Apter and ‘guile’ of Griffiths epitomised by the latter employing his customary ‘chip and chase’ tactic before running into an imaginary arm.
The home side then won a succession of short corners and again employed the direct route but had reckoned without the pace of Gavin ‘Usain Bolt’ Underhay running out who got a stick to nearly every strike - unfortunately on one of these the ball deflected of Underhays stick high into the air and a Dereham forward was on hand to volley home.
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Sudbury retook the lead from a short corner of their own - routines have been working well but we all know that Bevan can ‘unleash the fury’ when needed and he did just that deciding on hitting the ball 2 inches to the side of the keeper and banking on him not moving - the plan worked perfectly. 2-1.
Following the trend of the first half Sudbury soaked up immense pressure as the home side rotated their squad of players to great effect and Humphreys and Underhay in the full back position were continually tested. As the long ball was still employed Smith was called upon to clear his lines and for a change decided that this was within his abilities. Sudbury then increased their lead - again a quick counter attack through the effervescent Burton and Keefe saw the ball played through to the receding Griffiths who knocked the ball through the keepers legs.
Three became four as another flowing move from defence to front line found the ball at Clubb’s feet on the penalty spot with only the keeper to beat he smashed the ball into the roof of the net past the motionless keeper.
Spurred on by their home support Dereham piled on the pressure and Smith made a great save following a short corner strike which was flying into the bottom corner when it was touched round the post by an outstreched foot.
Sudbury were reduced to 10 men for the final minutes as Bosman who had been outstanding throughout was sent to the bin for possibly his only bad tackle of the game.
There was still time for the home side to claw a goal back but Sudbury saw out the closing five minutes in the ascendency and came away with an excellent three points to leapfrog their opponents and are currently third at the half way stage only behind Norwich Dragons on goal difference.
Sudbury entertain bottom of the league Cambridge Nomads to Cornard this Saturday in their final league match before the Christmas break and will look to cement their place in the top four and keep the pressure on the top two sides with another three points.