A short benched Sheffield Spartans were under no illusions that their match in Telford against the Tigers last Saturday would be anything other than difficult. It certainly proved to be the case with Maros Stefanco, Scott Morris, Ross & Dougie Jordan, Shaun Wild, Ben Jones, Tom Parkinson, along with netminders Brandon Stones & Matt Croyle all missing from the Spartans ranks.
However, despite this Spartans put in a confident & spirited first twenty minutes only to see themselves trail, harshly so, by two goals to nil. They more than matched their opponents despite their short bench but two fortunate goals gave Tigers the lead at the first period break. The first, a powerplay goal on 17.25 saw the puck rebound off the backboards to fall nicely to Karol Jets who was in a good position to fire home. Shortly after this on 18.46, the same player fired one in with Spartans netminder Andy Bagshaw unlucky not to prevent the puck from crossing the line.
If the score after the first period was harsh on Spartans, it was with a certain amount of fortune it wasn’t greater than 5-1 to Tigers at the end of the second. Telford had clearly stepped up their game to largely dominate the second period adding three well taken goals in the process. They were quick off the mark through Bradley Betteridge on 21.35 only for Ollie Barron to swiftly reply with a nice goal timed 22.20, assisted Elliott Knell. James Smith restored Tigers three goal cushion on 24.25 with Adam Taylor, who had been threatening to do so, adding a fifth on 34.13. Spartans tried to dig in but it was at times last ditch stuff from their defence, most notably Andy Bagshaw with the post also thwarting Tigers advances on a couple of occasions. Spartans best chance came from Nick Manning with some great individual skill but he was unable to put the puck away in a period in which Tigers deserved their lead.
Spartans continued to play with spirit and although the final period was a lot closer in terms of possession it was Tigers who created more worthwhile shots on goal to keep Spartans on the back foot. Spartans had improved upon the previous twenty minutes but didn’t get enough shots away to seriously work or threat the Telford goalie. However, Tigers did so through Callum Griffin on the powerplay, goal timed 55.08 to make the score 6-1 in Tigers favour in what had been an entertaining game of hockey, somewhat a bit frustrating if you were a Spartans follower although you couldn’t criticise them for effort. However at times it was a lack of application that cost them whereas Telford put in a more accomplished performance to run out deserved winners on the day. Nick Manning was awarded Spartans Man of the Match for his inspirational performance.
Final Score: Telford Tigers NIHL 6 Spartans 1
Spartans are back in action this coming Sunday with a trip up to Whitley Bay to face the Warriors in what looks likely to be another difficult game, but one that we will be looking forward to as we always do…#allspartans