Spartans paid the price for an undisciplined and weak performance in the first period against local rivals Sutton Sting and were fortunate to be only 4-0 down at the period break. Simon Butterworth was given too much time & space to find James Spurr to fire Sting in front on 3.53 with James Goodman getting the additional assist. A shell shocked Spartans were two down on 4.11 when Shaun Ashton scored, assisted Richie Oliver & Matt Jeffcock. Things got worse when Richie Oliver smashed in a powerplay goal on 6.51, assisted Thomas Stuart Dant & Chris Colegate. From this point on Spartans tried to get back into the game, created some good chances but were constantly undone by giving up silly unnecessary penalties to keep us on the back foot. The defence seemed a bit more organised but it was disappointing to concede then 4th in the way we did with Thomas Stuart Dant making the most of his opportunity to score a decent goal for Sting timed 11.33 with assists to Richie Oliver & Chris Colegate. Although Spartans created as many chances as Sutton, they were nowhere near as dangerous or threatening as their opponents who thoroughly deserved their lead.
Into the 2nd period and it was clear that Spartans were in a more determined mood and had a last shown up to put in a more spirited performance although still way short in terms of the level we can play up to and this was despite Sting scoring early in the period with another silly mistake letting in Richie Oliver to score on 22.15 assisted Bobby Streetly which made it 5-0 to Sting. The game had become stop/start with some bizarre calls made & missed by the referee, mainly against Spartans but having said that Spartans did gain some benefit in that it slowed Sutton down and upset their rhythm which saw us claw one back. A nice goal scored by Scott Morris on 27.57, assisted Ollie Barron & Dave Pyatt. Sting continued to look dangerous on the attack and it took some sound defending to thwart them, mainly in the form of Jonathon Kirk. However after having a good chance was saved by Sting on the Spartans powerplay, Simon Butterworth passed down centre ice to see Chris Sykes react far quicker to set himself up for a one on one which he converted superbly to make it 6-1 to Sutton, which was the score at the end of the second.
The 3rd period saw Spartans put in their best shifts of the night with the game following a similar pattern as the previous period with regards the performance of the referee which was spoiling the game to some extent, despite it being realistically over from an early point. Full credit to Spartans for battling away as they did, seemingly getting stronger as the period progressed but a poor call from the referee put Sting on the powerplay from which they scored a good goal through Thomas Stuart Dant on 46.42, assisted Chris Colegate & Shaun Ashton. Spartans heads did not drop & they played until the end, creating some decent chances whilst handling Sting’s advances far more comfortably although it appeared some players had taken their foot of the pedal. Not in the case of Dima Zimozdra in Sutton’s goal who pulled some fine saves out of the hat; facing 20 shots compared to the 3 put on Brandon Stones. However he couldn’t do anything to prevent Jonathon Kirk adding the Spartans 2nd goal on 59.30 to make the score, which was the final one too – Sutton Sting 7 Spartans 2. Richie Oliver for Sutton & Scott Morris for Spartans were awarded the games Man of the Match Awards.
Credit to Spartans for battling away as they did after such a poor start but well done to Sutton Sting who were the better team on the night and thoroughly deserved their victory in front of a decent crowd in a game played in the right spirit by both teams.