Sheffield Spartans outfought and outworked a spirited Manchester Minotaurs to claim a valuable two points at Ice Sheffield this weekend. Spartans at times made hard work of it at times but ran out deserved winners with a determined performance to see them back to winning ways after two recent defeats.
It was such determination that saw Spartans open the scoring through Stuart Brittle on 3.36 after some great work from Will Barron but despite having the better of the early exchanges Spartans were guilty of making things too easy at times for Minotaurs who exploited Spartans shortfalls to take the lead themselves. Max Drakeley on 10.09 and Brian Worrall on 14.51 put Minotaurs in front and they deserve credit for soaking up the pressure they were under to hit back at their opponents.
That goal seemed to kick start Spartans back into action to finish the period strongly who, on the balance of play, scored a deserved equaliser with Elliott Knell scoring with an unstoppable shot high into the top right hand corner of Fox’s net.
Spartans were clearly disappointed and frustrated when they left the ice at the end of the first; however right from the start of the second they took it out on Minotaurs to dominate the period . Ollie Barron nipped in to tuck one away on 23.33 after some nice build up play involving Stuart Brittle & Jonathan Kirk to make it 3-2. Spartans were making hard work of it at times but it’s fair to say that Manchester’s dogged defending including some brave saves from netminder Fox were a contributory factor but they couldn’t do anything to stop an inform Stuart Brittle grabbing his second, assisted by Elliott Knell, goal timed 34.30. Spartans continued to force the issue but couldn’t add to their tally but they were well worth their 4-2 lead at the end of the second.
The final period was a little scrappy at times, both teams failing to capitalise on the chances they were creating but it was Spartans who bossed proceedings at this stage of the game despite Manchester’s best efforts with Spartans looking comfortable and unlikely to throw it away. Minotaurs had their moments but the final touch or pass was missing which enabled Spartans to control large parts of the play. One final effort from Minotaurs saw them pull their netminder but they didn’t seriously threaten and whilst holding the advantage numerically Jonathan Kirk picked up possession to find Charlie Thompson on 59.15 to score an empty net goal to make what was the final score 5-2 to Spartans.
It wasn’t pretty at times but Spartans played well for large chunks of the game with a determined and gritty performance to deservedly win against a hard working Manchester Minotaurs, who were in the end, no match for Spartans on the day. There were some good performances from Spartans on the day in what was an enjoyable game, most notably Stuart Brittle who was awarded Spartans Man of the Match.
Final Score: Spartans 5 Manchester Minotaurs 2
Report by Phil Holden
Photo of Stuart Brittle by Dean Woolley www.deanwoolley.weebly.com