Bourne Deeping 2nd 3
Horncastle first XI have not enjoyed the best of starts to 2016, with defeats to Cambridge Uni and Cambridge Vets following close games making this match a must win to prevent a further slide towards the relegation zone.
The match started at a frantic pace with Horncastle taking the game to Bourne Deeping, with the home team adopting a high tempo pressing game. The made it very difficult for Bourne Deeping to get into any kind of rhythm.
Despite this early dominance, Horncastle were unable to force a breakthrough. Numerous penalty corners were well defended by the visitors, though Horncastle forwards Taylor Gray and Cameron Foster were a constant thorn in their side. Foster was unlucky not to open the scoring after seeing his reverse stick strike rebound off the post.
It was not until around halfway through the first half that Horncastle were rewarded for their supremacy. An attack resulted in a long corner for the home side on the left of the pitch. Taken by Dave Seymour, play was switched wide to right back Luke Castleden who pulled the ball back to Rob Scott on the edge of the Bourne Deeping area. Scott carried the ball past a number of defenders to the by-line before squaring for Foster to coolly sweep home.
The fervent start made by Horncastle continued following the goal with the home side keeping the visitors under pressure. Though defending admirably, the away team were not providing a threat other than occasional counter-attack, dealt with ably by the Horncastle defence.
On the stroke of half time, Horncastle were awarded a series of penalty corners. With the half time whistle preventing the threat of counter attack the Horncastle defence joined the attack.
The last of the series, a drag flick from Seymour, which although tame forced a save from the Bourne Deeping keeper. The ball fell to Horncastle centre back, James Cartwright who slotted home to record his first league goal in more than two years.
The second half started in much the same manner and once again it was Horncastle who made the breakthrough, and again through a penalty corner. A hard, fast and accurate injection from Jake Fixter was stopped by Scott for Foster to produce a low drag flick into the bottom left of the goal.
This seemed to bring Bourne Deeping to life. The quickness of their passing and movement off the ball improved and their tenacity was soon rewarded with a goal.
The game became increasingly frantic. Once again it was Horncastle to took the advantage, a solid tackle by Seymour saw the loose ball fall to Scott who made a penetrating run into the Bourne Deeping area before crossing to Gray at the back post.
With their three goal cushion restored, Horncastle were rewarded again when Foster found himself in possession after a scrappy passage of play in front of goal and calmly sealed his hat trick.
With score at 5-1 and the game seemingly over, Horncastle suffered a lapse in concentration led to a penalty corner for the visitors. Another low drag flick was unfortunately deflected off the shins of centre back Mark Johnstone into the back of the net.
Bourne Deeping continued to press in attack and Horncastle keeper and man of the match Ant Atkin was just beaten a third time from a penalty stroke.
Horncastle: Atkin, Castleden, Cartwright, Johnstone, Fixter, Scott, Seymour (c), Briggs, Evershed, Foster, Gray, Read
Horncastle Ladies 4
Louth Ladies 2nd 1
Horncastle got off to a powerful start with some fantastic movement in midfield creating many chances and gaining multiple attacking short corners.
The home side were awarded a short corner. K.Wood’s strong injection reached Brayshaw at the top of the D, who stepped in and struck the ball with such force it glided straight past Louth’s defensive line and into the goal.
Pumped from taking the lead, Horncastle competently defended Louth’s break towards their attacking D. Brilliant defensive skills from A. Tokelove saw the ball flying back down the left towards Horncastle’s attacking quarter, where L. Tokelove picked it up and powered into the D. With a fierce strike, the ball sped past the keeper into the bottom right of the goal.
Louth upped their game after the break but Horncastle pressured them back. With great movement from Brayshaw and Cannon, the ball was slipped into the D where H. Wood pushed it towards goal where it hit the post and rebounded off the keeper’s foot to slide swiftly past the back line, making the score 3-0.
Louth were not downhearted and pushed through the opposition, passing swiftly between themselves to reach their attacking D. A strong strike swept past the Horncastle’s defensive line to win Louth their first goal of the game.
In retaliation, Horncastle drove up the pitch as a unit with fierce ambition, passing the home team’s defence, leaving H. Wood in front of goal who stopped and slipped the ball across the line with mere minutes remaining.