|August 7, 2016||2:30 pm||BAFA NL SFC II East||2016|
27 - 18Full Time
It was all last-minute heartbreak for the Essex Spartans as they put in the performance of their against table-toppers London Hornets on Sunday.
The score remained nail-bitingly tight throughout, with touchdowns from Luke Beard, Norris Owusu and Ernest Owusu being outshone in the last few seconds with a late TD from the visitors.
The Spartans maintained an excellent opening drive from the outset and struggled against a fearsome Hornets defense, holding them to a 0-0 score until the turnover. Hornets #32 was able to make a 40-yard run before being brought down by the Spartans defense on the 10-yard line, meaning their opening TD was somewhat inevitable by their third down.
The stalemate of the two teams holding each other to the middle ground continued throughout the remainder of the half, and the reasonably clean half was completed in under an hour. Spartans final attempt at field goal at the close was wide of the posts, and the half ended 0-6 to the Hornets.
Quickly into the second half the Hornets attempted to catch for an interception, which fell right into the hands of Spartans Luke Beard who ran it for the equaliser. Hornets inched ahead again with a two-point safety, shortly before their #40 dashed unmarked for several yards for the TD, increasing the gap to Spartans 6-14 Hornets.
It was #11 Norris Owusu to the rescue for the Spartans as he ran back a kick return for a touchdown, narrowing the deficit. A short-lived joy, however, as Hornets #40 fought off several defenders before being tackled on the line, and fell into the end zone with the ball safely in his hands for the TD.
A first-class interception in the dying moments of the game from #44 Ernest Owusu, and a solid 85-yard run into the end zone saw the Spartans back in contention with just a two-point gap, and two minutes left on the clock.
A very late TD for the Hornets was flagged and recalled for holding, but it was all too easy for the visitors to run it straight in again in the final seconds, ending the game 18-27 to the unbeaten London Hornets.
The Essex Spartans seniors will return to training following the winter break, whilst the London Hornets complete their final game of the regular season this weekend against the Wembley Stallions, before commencing their playoff programme.