|May 3, 2015||2:30 pm||BAFA NL II South||2015|
22 - 12Full Time
A third hard-fought battle for victory ended fruitless for the Essex Spartans on Sunday as they suffered narrow defeat 22 – 12 at home to the London Hornets.
Lining up missing four D-line players missing due to injury, and a further seven O-line players out injured also, a shaky start from the Spartans defence meant a 2-point safety was conceded after only a few minutes.
It was only for a fumble from the Hornets #36 desperately close to the end zone that stopped an early touchdown from the visitors.
The spirit was resurrected somewhat when Spartans #22 Ray Shaahu made a catch and sprinted 35 yards before being tackled. His advantageous yardage was taken full advantage of by #13 Felix Olu, who opened scoring for the Spartans with a touchdown and put the home side in front 2- 6.
The second quarter deteriorated quickly for the home side as the Hornets made their first touchdown of the game; their conversion was discounted for a diagnosis of ‘illegal touching’.
Myles Peterson turned the tables again for the Spartans following a fumble from #13 Olu. A possession to-and-fro ensued but the Hornets but ultimately led to two great catches from the visitors, putting a dampener on the half for the Spartans with two further touchdowns in the last five minutes of the half.
The Spartans emerged refreshed despite the 22 – 12 scoreline, but the controversies of the second half and beyond far outweighed any potential for a comeback.
The Spartans were briefly awarded a 15-yard penalty for a Hornet player removing his helmet on the field, but this significant yardage was promptly lost in a pick by the Hornets.
An on-field incident ultimately led in the unnecessary dismissal of Hornets #31, after officials called jersey numbers the wrong way round after a spat and #31 was incorrectly attributed with a second warning and ejected from the field.
This issue and several others relating to officiating caused a great deal of high tension throughout the second half that embittered the competitive atmosphere. Many offsetting penalties were awarded and the remaining minutes of the game was little more than a defensive stalemate.
The Hornets took the victory with the same score as they had finished the first half, leaving the Essex Spartans still hungry for their first win of the season.
The Essex Spartans return to training next week, and will take on the Ipswich Cardinals at home on Sunday 17th May.