Sudbury II 3 Crane 2
Division 4NE Sudbury II 3 Crane 2Crane came unstuck against a determined Sudbury side who were able to benefit from some uncharacteristic defensive slip ups to establish a lead that Crane could not recover from.
Sudbury II 3 Crane 2
Crane came unstuck against a determined Sudbury side who were able to benefit from some uncharacteristic defensive slip ups to establish a lead that Crane could not recover from.
The omens were good for Crane when in the first minute Ali Black burst down the left for Crane and crossed for Andy Bristow, but he was caught cold and wasn't sharp enough to convert the chance.
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After this early scare Sudbury were much the stronger team for the first half, creating several clear openings. Such was the pressure that the first goal came amidst an air of inevitability, although what was particularly disappointing for Crane was that the goal came from a tame push some distance from goal and deflected slowly in off the post, not even reaching the backboard.
This should have been a wake up call for Crane but within minutes, Sudbury were two goals up. From a defensive point of view this goal was even worse, a short corner was well saved by Crane keeper Murray but the ball was allowed to be carried back into the circle and the miss-hit shot went through Murray and into the goal past two planted Crane defenders.
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Regardless of the nature of the goals, Sudbury had earned their lead and at half time Crane knew they had to respond. They did this well, changing the formation and driving at Sudbury from the start - Crane looked a better, stronger and more determined team than they had in the first half.
However, Sudbury struck again against the run of play when they were awarded a dubious penalty stroke, the attacker appearing to have lost possession and slipped over in the circle.
Crane were the better side for the rest of the match as the game opened up and, apart from an excellent save by Murray from a Sudbury penalty corner, were well on top. Ali Black caused havoc down the left and the Bloomfield brothers were running the midfield - Craig Bloomfield went close with several penalty corners but couldn't make the breakthrough.
With only nine minutes to go, Bristow finally broke the Sudbury defence to give them some hope and Sudbury became very worried when Aiden Bloomfield narrowed the gap further. The momentum was with Crane and there was a real feeling that they could complete their comeback.
It was too little, too late though and the final whistle blew as Crane swarmed at the Sudbury defence, who were rightly relieved and delighted to hang on for the win. Despite the loss Crane go into the Christmas break top of the league and looking forward to the rest of the season, but knowing that they can't afford too many slip ups like this from here on.
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