Since Bourne Deeping Ladies 1sts were comprehensively beaten 4-0 at home by Spalding 2nds in the reverse fixture on the opening day, Spalding have since gone on a fantastic run which had seen them lose only one game since the third match of the season, and that against runaway unbeaten league leaders Cambridge University.
As such, second placed Bourne Deeping were anticipating a tough match on Saturday in which they would have to earn the right to play and in this they were not disappointed; but in the end the Dragons finished 2-0 victors.
Bourne Deeping started with a high tempo but the game was end-to-end with a feeling that the opening goal would be crucial in such a close fought match.
Gradually Bourne Deeping began to get the upper hand and create some clear cut chances; Izzie Oakley burst through the Spalding back line only to be denied by an excellent save from the Spalding keeper.
On the right hand side Laura Thompson-Wright was proving a thorn in the side for Spalding, reaching the base line on several occasions and always looking to get behind the defence.
In such a tight game, set pieces were always going to be key, and so it proved as Bourne Deeping’s Jan Havemann showed her usual grit and determination in front of goal, bundling the ball over the line from close range after the initial shot from a penalty corner had been well saved.
With a goal cushion to calm the nerves, the Dragons’ back line were recycling the ball around assuredly and distributing well. In midfield the battle was getting feisty at times as neither side looked to take a backward step.
Izzie Oakley and Becky Allam were forced to curb their own attacking instincts in a bid to shackle their opposite numbers in the centre of midfield who were looking to create havoc with their excellent running off the ball.
The second goal from a penalty corner, again another close range finish from Havemann, could have killed the game off, but merely saw Spalding respond by increasing their work rate once more with the Dragons having to withstand periods of pressure as the away side searched for a way back into the game.
A Spalding short corner looked to be that way back; the injection was swift, the ball stopped and struck true, but Dragons defender Gemma Catlin was charging down the barrel like a runaway train and her emphatic block seemed to send a message to both opposition and team mates that this team now has the mental and physical toughness to go along with their skill set as they saw out the rest of the match.
Player of the match was Laura Thompson-Wright for her excellent play on the right of midfield.