A disappointing result but a creditable & spirited performance from a Spartans team who were missing Joe Millard, Nick Manning, Andy Bagshaw, James Wood as well as U18’s Elliott Knell & Luke Unwin. You couldn’t argue that Whitley deserved the victory but it was a lot closer than the result suggests, an opinion shared by supporters of both teams. The obvious difference between the teams was going forward, Warriors took their chances were as we didn’t and that what counts in the end as Spartans outshot Whitley, in particularly in the 2nd period, with us putting 27 shots on their net opposed to the 11 they put on ours.
End of first period it was 2-0 to Warriors with goals from Callum Watson & Jamie Tinsley in what was quite an even game although Whitley always looked the more likely to score. Two very different goals, the first a well worked & well taken goal by Watson but the defence will want to forget the second as it could & should have been cleared or kept out but credit to Whitley for forcing the play & take advantage of our errors.
The second period was a strange one; Spartans were the better team & in control for large parts of it but Whitley should have been home & dry with several breakaways with numerical advantages on the plays, including one leading to a penalty shot; however Warriors could not put the puck away with Mark Hartley in excellent form. End of this period score was 3-2 to Warriors, Spartans scorers were Shaun Wild, assisted Ryan Handisides, Andy Turner with Ollie Barron getting our second assisted Jon Woolhouse. Whitley’s goal was scored by Callum Watson, another well worked & taken goal.
Into the third period & there was nothing between the teams but unfortunately Spartans conceded another soft goal, scored by Callum Watson for his hat-trick with 45.45. Our task was made even harder when Jordan Barnes scored a good goal on 46.55, followed by Shaun Kippin on 48.25. Those 3 minutes basically put an end to the game but Spartans continued to work hard & never gave up with both teams creating good chances. Mark Hartley gave way in goal, after picking up a knock which gave Bobby Browne his first action as a Spartans player. There was no further scoring, Whitley winning 6-2.
Considering who Spartans had missing, they put in a terrific performance & had a real go at Whitley who are a very good side & despite the score line gives hope for the games ahead. Mark Hartley was awarded Man of the Match but everyone contributed to what was a very good game of hockey.