Tuesday 25 November 2014

Moralee Match Report: Billingham Stars 3 - Sheffield Senators 0

Sheffield Spartans travelled up to Billingham to face the Stars in the NIHL Moralee Conference and despite a good performance came away empty handed, losing 3-0 in an entertaining game of hockey.

In a scoreless first period neither team managed to stamp their authority on the game but there were plenty of chances. Stubborn defending from both teams ensured the score remained 0-0 with Spartans looking comfortable on the puck and coping with anything Stars could throw at them.

Both teams were in determined mood for the second period and after it being end to end Spartans managed to get on top with some good spells of pressure but they couldn’t get past Flavell in Stars goal who was making some fine saves to thwart Spartans attacks. However, Billingham were still a threat and Spartans were grateful to Brandon Stones on a couple of occasions as he too was making the saves but it was Stars that broke the deadlock with controversial goal. Whilst on the powerplay Spartans lost possession as Stars broke out and scored a short-handed goal that appeared not to go in. Brandon Stones was adjudged to have gloved the puck from behind the line. The goal judge & the linesman agreed so the goal, scored by Cal Davies, stood. Opinion was divided as to whether it had crossed the line or not but the goal stood to see Stars 1-0 in front. Spartans continued to pressurise Stars but couldn’t make any headway to see them go into the final behind by the odd goal.

The final period was full of determination and passion in what was an excellent game of hockey but with the advantage of having a goal lead Stars seemed to have more belief as they pressed for a second. Spartans were pushing Billingham all the way but found themselves 2-0 down in the 54th

minute with a lovely goal from Michael Elder who fired in a cracker of a shot after being set up nicely by Cal Davies. Spartans continued to press for a goal which gave us a few exciting moments as the clock ticked down but it just wasn’t falling for them. Once again they were hit on the counter attack whilst on the powerplay when Andy Munroe nicked in to steel possession then skate down the wing to let one fly past Brandon Stones in the final minute of the game to make it 3-0 to Stars which was also the final score.
A good performance from Spartans but they will be disappointed to have conceded two short-handed goals as well as not making the most of some of the 53 shots they put on Billingham’s goal. However there were many positives to take forward to next week’s game against Manchester Minotaurs. On the night it wasn’t our turn but credit to Billingham, they deserved their win…just! Man of the Match Awards went to Scott Morris for Spartans and James Flavell for Stars
Final Score: Billingham Stars 3 Spartans 0

Report by Phil Holden
Photo by Dean Reeve - www.deanreevephotography.co.uk