|May 17, 2015||3:00 pm||BAFA NL II South||2015|
14 - 24Full Time
The Essex Spartans finally secured their first win of the 2015 season at home to Ipswich Cardinals on Sunday, leaving the Suffolk visitors even further adrift of victory this season.
The home side certainly began as they meant to continue with a strong kick-off from the punt team. #13 Felix Olu made a powerful 30-yard dash to try and establish an early lead, and fell just before the 10-yard line after seeing off three Ipswich defenders.
The Spartans maintained considerable yardage and #22 Ray Shaau opened scoring towards the end of the first quarter with a swift outside charge around the Ipswich defence. James Dawson converted for the additional two points, which were subsequently disallowed due to five men being in the back field.
After the first changeover an interception from ##32 Craig Brittney at 23 yards opened up an opportunity for #24 Dwayne Ferdinand, who extended the lead for the home side with the second touchdown. Shaau once again was at the forefront of the action and made 65 yards and a third touchdown shortly afterwards, which was disallowed for holding and subsequential yardage was lost.
The Spartans continued to dominate for the remainder for half; closed in high spirits as Joe Parsons made an outstanding intercepting catch and ran the left side to end the half 18 – 0 in the Spartans favour.
The second half started badly for the home side, as the first play of the 1st down was captured by Ipswich Ben Gladstone who ran unguarded into the end-zone for their first touchdown of the game. A successful kick threatened the Spartans’ lead 18 – 7 within seconds of play.
Seemingly perturbed by the unexpected turn of events, the Spartans lost their footing somewhat and struggled throughout the third quarter to maintain possession and retain yardage. Many avoidable errors were lamented as points were only increased when Joe Nixon made an interception 2 yards from the Ipswich end zone and Shaau ran it to the close.
It was a shaky end for the Spartans as they conceded a second touchdown and kick conversion in the final quarter. Efforts were made to widen the gap from Olu towards the end but, as frustrations ran high and energy began to run low, the Spartans took their first win of the season with an unexpectedly narrow margin of just ten points.
Ipswich remain the only team in the league without a win so far this season. The Spartans will be back in training next week, to prepare for their first clash with newbies Wembley Stallions on 31st May.