Tuesday 23 December 2014

Moralee Match Report: Sutton Sting 2 - Sheffield Spartans 2

Sheffield Spartans were left kicking themselves after drawing 2-2 with Sutton Sting in a game that had it’s high and low points.

A definite low point was the lack lustre first period in which both teams looked out of sorts in a scrappy contest which was not helped by some poor officiating. Sutton took the lead on just 47 seconds through John Ross. Brandon Stones had made a fine save from Shaun Ashton but the puck rebounded on to Ross’s chest and into the net for a goal. Sting  were having the better of things in the opening minutes of the game but Spartans pulled level on 8.26 after some great build up play from Scott Morris & Nick Manning found Will Barron to score. The goal lifted Spartans who came more and more into the game but with some strange calls both called & missed by the officials, the game became more laboured than it had been previously. With neither team stamping their authority on the game Spartans gifted Sting the lead on 17.20. Reece Carney-Witter did well to exploit Spartans failure to clear the zone and created space to fire in an unchallenged shot that was fumbled over the line by Brandon Stones to concede what was a defensive howler. Sutton almost scored again but Brandon was back on his game again to make the save after which there was no further incident with the period thankfully ending but unfortunate for Spartans in that they were losing 2-1.

Whatever Coach Martin White said in the dressing room during the period break clearly had the desired effect along with moving Shaun Wild from D to forward to cover the loss of Ollie Barron to injury; the result of a nasty challenge in the first period (that wasn’t called); both seemingly inspiring Spartans to put in a terrific performance. Apart from a two minute spell mid period, Spartans completely dominated the period but some solid netminding from Dmitri Zimozdra coupled with a stubborn defence kept Sting in the game. However, despite their dominance, Spartans could only convert one of the many chances they created but what a great goal it was from Scott Morris timed at 35.30, assisted Nick Manning & Dougie Jordan. Spartans were on top but it was 2-2 against a team, who on the day, were there for the taking.

Credit must go to Sutton for the way they dug in to have their best spell of the game in what now was an end to end game with both teams all out for the win. There was very little between the teams this period; Spartans enjoyed more of the possession and were passing the puck with confidence but it was Sting who created more chances and arguably the better ones too with Brandon Stones more than redeeming himself for his earlier mishap. Spartans defence were outstanding this period, not just in defending but in the build play for Spartans attacks but they couldn’t put their chances away which saw Sting counter with some nice break out plays. It was a close call as to who might win going into the final few minutes and with a draw being the likely outcome Sutton were gifted an opportunity with a powerplay after a ridiculous call on Dougie Jordan for roughing. However, despite being at a numerical disadvantage in the final minute Spartans won possession to see the game out and having to settle for a point.

Scott Morris won a deserved Man of the Match Award for Spartans whilst James Goodman got the nod for Sutton.

Final Score: Sutton Sting 2 Sheffield Spartans 2

Report by Phil Holden

Photo: Spartans' Scott Morris by David Morrison - www.david-morrison-photography.co.uk/solway-sharks