The top of the table clash between unbeaten Spencer 2’s against unbeaten Reading 2’s lived up to the pre-game hype. Both games put on a show with quality lacrosse that would scare a few in the Premier Division.Reading pipped the 1st quarter, leading 3-2 at the break. The second quarter was nail-biting stuff as both teams looked to get a grip on the game. It was end to end action with defence just above edging the battle. Spencer got to half-time with a single goal lead.
For the whole 3rd quarter the teams traded goals. It was a pleasure for any neutral watching (cue a small Hillcroft ‘A’ contingent who’s game at Blues was postponed) and a delight for both teams who are raising the bar in East Div 1 this year.
Going into the 4th, Spencer still had a single goal lead. Gabe Barrie won the face, accelerated into the Reading half, leaving their 3 middies in his wake, faked a pass out to Bill Parker, then slotted a shot into the bottom corner. Bang. A two goal cushion. A minute later, ping pong passing between the Spencer attack left Rob Clark unmarked on the post where he aimed for the goalie’s chest but this time found a top corner. Bang. A three goal cushion.
So time to get boring, tuck the ball up your jersey and run for a corner… but Reading had other ideas. The Spencer back line was put under severe pressure. Bodies were on the line but Thom, Jones and Clarke were super in defence. The only way Reading could score was unorthodox; a combination of Ed Thom and Chris Jones put one of the Reading attack on his back, but he still had the ball so was able to slip in a shot around Ed’s legs, completely unsighted by Rhydian. Reading were back in this.
Again, time to get boring… alas no as the next Spencer attack was rushed and the ball was straight away down the other end. Reading pinged one off the post, the rebound came out to a Reading player, a quick pass and shot and the ball pinged up off the pitch from the crossbar.
With only two minutes to play, the next face-off battle was won by Ben McLellen playing LSM who charged at the Reading defence. Available players left and right the crowd were shouting ‘hold the ball now guys’. Hearts were in mouths as he broke through a couple of challenges and wound up a shot. Bang. Bottom corner. Bang, a Reading defender gave him a cheeky late stick check, bang, Ben followed through with a shoulder. Mild confusion followed as the referee gave Ben a minute for an illegal body check, but… and it took a few seconds to figure out… gave the goal. No face-off in these circumstances so Reading had a free clear and two good passes later whizzed one inches above the crossbar.
Time had run out. Spencer’s three goal victory was thanks to 100% effort from all the squad, plus a golden five minutes at the start of the 4th quarter. All focus now on remaining unbeaten for the rest of the season, including going all the way in the Flags competition.