This week Newark’s Men’s 1st team sat at the top of the league and were hoping for this not to change as they travelled the short distance to Mansfield, to take on a Mansfield team that managed to make Newark slip up last year on a difficult pitch. Newark started the game pressing Mansfield back deep in their own half, only allowing the occasional counter from Mansfield in the opening minutes. The defence and midfield combining well together moving the ball about until a miss placed pass found a Mansfield center forward free on the edge of the Newark ‘D’ but he only managed to fire the ball wide of the net. This seemed to awake Mansfield and they started to press forward but this left gaps in the middle for the center pairing of Newark to exploit with their direct running and accurate passing, unfortunately a few incidents happened that Tom Roper did not agree with and he made the umpire aware of his feelings resulting in him picking up the only card of the game. Unfortunately the Newark strike force were denied by some great saves from the Mansfield keeper and some poor finishing. This did not last long as on 22 minutes Newark broke quickly down the right dragging the Mansfield defence out of position leaving Scott Robinson free on the penalty spot to flick the ball high into the goal. The goal spurred Newark on as they picked the ball up in the middle of the pitch and broke again with Roper and Davies combing to put Ryan Foster in on goal who had his first effort saved by the keeper but the save only dropped the ball back to Foster who slipped the ball under the keeper to find the on rushing Davies to put the ball into the back of the net. Newark continued to apply the pressure and they were reward again only minutes later when Tom Roper picked the ball up and took the ball past 3 Mansfield players before finding himself one on one with the keeper, the keeper came charging out and tom flicked the ball over the keeper and into the empty net. The pressure continued again and Newark were rewarded with a string of short corners which resulted in another chance for Davies as Robinson flicked the ball onto Davies stick for the deflection but he was only denied by a Mansfield players head on the line but Newark were only awarded another penalty corner. After a couple of break away from Mansfield that never really tested the Newark goal leading to the end of the Half . Newark started the half again quickly creating chance after chance, with Ryan foster playing balls straight across the Mansfield ‘D’ but unfortunately no Newark player managed to get on the end of them. Once again Newark exploited the space on the right hand side with Mcmunn, Roper and Robinson combining down it to play the ball across where it found Davies on the outside of the post, who spun his defender and flicked the ball into the back of the net, giving Newark a 4-0 lead. This caused Newark to take off some of the pressure they had applied through out the game so far, allowing Mansfield to step up with their own press and pinch the ball in the middle of the pitch an finding there striker on the top of the ‘D’ who fired the ball in between Bradleys legs and into the back of the net. This only woke Newark back up again who started creating chances again with Foster holding high, where he received the ball off Smith and he slipped in Davies who only managed to fire the ball into the on rushing keeper. Mansfield started to push more down their right hand side but Newark’s defence held strong. With one of the final plays of the game Newark pushed forward and found Wakeland free in the ‘D’ who had his shot saved only by the trailing leg of the Keeper. The game finished Newark 4 Mansfield 1. Goals: Davies x 2, Robinson, Roper. Man of the Match: Tom Smith
Newark were looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Leicester Westleigh when they welcomed Sutton Coldfield to Magnus. With one player dropping out with illness and another late arriving Newark started with 10 players on the pitch and just as they came up to full strength conceded the first goal from open play. Sutton added to their advantage with a well taken short corner. Newark slowly got into their rhythm and started to create chances but ended the 1st half 2-0 down. Hoping to get back into the match soon disappeared in a three minute period in the 2nd half which saw three goals conceded one from a short corner, open play and then a flick when an initial shot had been stopped on the line by Andy McMunn unfortunately not with a part of the anatomy he wanted to use. Newark got one back after a good run from Steve Littlewood went round the Sutton defence and found Simon Higgs unmarked in the D with a simple job to score. Simon Higgs soon had another chance to score after a defence splitting pass by Oli Phillips found him one on one with the keeper but although rounded the keeper his shot went well wide on the reverse side. So final score ended 5-1 to Sutton but Newark can take heart from display in final part of match.
2nd placed Newark faced top-of-the-table Woodthorpe and both teams had their sights set on a win. Woodthorpe fielded an experienced team of 10 against Newark’s bare 11 and the battle was on from push back. Play was equal throughout the first half with missed opportunities for both teams. Midfielders Jacky Nullis, Sara Jackson and Suzie Gray tried to keep the ball high but once again Newark struggled with structure and Woodthorpe’s big hitter found gaps up the field. A slippy stick caused Hannah Bond to raise the ball, injuring a Woodthorpe player and taking them down to 9. Newark still didn’t capitalise and wingers Tash Gresswell and Laura McMunn were worked hard with the ball moving up and down the field constantly. Newark stopped all of Woodthorpe’s short corner efforts with Freya Grocock in goal, Louise Goodman, Anna Hall, Hannah and Sue Birkett mixing things up and working well together. Half time saw Paul and Glyn giving Newark food for thought and both teams continued to fight for 3 points in the second half. Newark played better and adjusted their structure to shut down the big hits. As the minutes ticked down a ball from Sara reached Sue on the right. She moved it on to Suzie who drove it into the D and passed to Ann Crockett-McLean who finally struck home from the penalty spot in the 66th minute. The relief was palpable and the cheers from spectators gave Newark an extra boost as, 2 minutes later, the ball found its way to Suzie again who broke through to go one on one with the keeper and slipped the ball past as they both hit the ground. The final whistle was a welcome sound and Newark secured their 3 points, taking top place in the table. Score 2-0 Player Suzie Gray
Newark 4s met Arnold on a wet morning keen to build on their recent good performances and win. Unfortunately it was going to be Newark's day! Both teams started brightly, with chances to score but with Newark's Young team together with a few experienced but injured players were up against it! Hannah Broomfield swap from Centre Back to Centre Mid to give Sally Halfpenny at breather but unfortunately Hannah got into a tackle and soon hit the deck and an old injury caused Hannah to go off for the rest of the match which left Newark with 10 Players. Newark's defence of Jane Stead, Justine Gray, Sally Halfpenny and GK Clare Dent remaining calm clearing the ball wherever possible but Arnold were managing to out fox them with a lot of scrappy goals off rebounds. Good runs from rocket powered legs of Gabbie Lucas supported by Holly Brown, Abbie Moisey and Millie Wightman taking into the D but despite lots of determination were unable to finish the great passing and result in goals.
Score 11-0 (Loss)
Player: Gabbie Lucas