East League - EML Division 3NW
Horncastle Men’s 1sts 3
St Neots 1sts 1
Having secured promotion from the East League EML Division 3NW with victory against Ely the previous week, Horncastle Men’s Firsts welcomed St Neots for their 18th match of the season.
Horncastle followed their recent trend of starting games slowly.
This allowed St Neots to bring the game to the home side.
Fixtures between the two clubs have always been physical affairs, and this one was no exception, both teams challenging strongly.
Some skillful stick work from the St Neots attackers saw them create the first opportunity of note, drawing a great reaction save from Horncastle keeper Atkin.
Horncastle, spurred on by the close call, gained the upper hand.
Passing crisply around the back, J. Cartwright spotted the run of Foster past the halfway line.
The ball reached Foster, who took possession down the left wing and into the attacking D, rounding several of the opposition defenders before eliminating the keeper and slotting the ball home to take the lead.
Taking the lead settled Horncastle into a more familiar rhythm, keeping the visiting side under pressure until the hlaf time whistle was blown.
The second half started with the same physical battles continuing all over the park, every 50/50 ball heavily contended.
St Neots again started the stronger of the sides, putting the Horncastle defence under pressure in possession, and denying them the space to play the ball round the back as they had in the first half.
Despite their initial dominance, first blood was drawn by Horncastle, Foster once again driving into the opposition D through the defensive line, drawing out the St Neots goalkeeper, who slid in an attempt to win the ball from Foster.
The clumsy challenge only resulting in the keeper committing a costly foul on Foster, bringing him down without being close to making contact with the ball.
Horncastle were awarded a penalty flick for the infringement, which was confidently converted by captain Scott.
St Neots restarted the match with renewed determination, continuing to press high up the field, forcing the home side to defend deep in their own half, and only being kept at bay by some more great reaction saves from Atkin.
An injury to A. Cartwright in the centre of the field led to a change in personnel, leaving the home side slightly disjointed as they adjusted to their new positions.
St Neots took this opportunity to capitalise, pushing up the right wing before deflecting a well struck cross into the Horncastle goal.
Whilst allowing the visiting team a way back into the game, the break in play following the goal allowed Horncastle to regroup.
The home side looked to keep up their winning form, comfortably retaining possession.
Victory was finally assured when Seymour won a short corner, the slick routine confidently finished by man of the match Foster.
The final whistle blew minutes later with Horncastle running out 3-1 victors and extending their unbeaten run.