Essex Spartans vs. Milton Keynes Pathfinders


Date Time League Season
May 15, 2011 2:30 pm BAFA NL II East 2011


Milton Keynes Pathfinders00606Loss
Essex Spartans31810635Win
6 - 35
Full Time


The Spartans continued their impressive 2011 campaign with a dominating performance over the previously-unbeaten Milton Keynes Pathfinders, sweeping aside their rivals with a 35-6 destruction.

This was the first meeting between the two sides in the Spartans long history, and it’s one Milton Keynes will be keen to forget. The Pathfinders came into the match with their hopes high – riding the crest of a 7-game unbeaten streak and having tied with Kent Exiles 36-36 the previous week, they were sitting atop the Division with a record of 2 wins and 1 tie.

But they hadn’t faced the Black Tide. And the Tide Rolls On!

The game began with the two teams scraping back and forth like heavyweight boxers – but it was the Spartans landing the killer blows. Their defense continued in their stingy, smothering form, cornerback Jack Holder scooping up a Pathfinders fumble to kill one drive, and later, defensive captain Ally Minto snagged his second interception of the season to deny the opposition once again.

However, the Pathfinders were no pushover, and despite driving downfield behind a well-executed offense, the Spartans failed to get into the endzone. Aaron Davidson opened the scoring with his first field goal of the season, and the Spartans lead 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Another Pathfinders drive stalled thanks to some dominating defensive football from the Spartans, forcing them to punt the football to return man Ally Minto – which was a huge mistake. Minto ducked and weaved his way through the stunned Pathfinders on his way to an electrifying touchdown return, and the home team had stretched their advantage 9-0.

The Spartans offense were quick to further crush the Pathfinders fading hopes, quarterback James Woodward connecting with team captain Jon “Hollywood” Tottman for a quick 15-0 scoreline. The Spartans special teams were in no mood to allow the Pathfinders back into the game, forcing a fumble on the following kickoff which Eugene Tangney recovered, and with Woodward and Tottman connecting again, the Spartans were pulling away, 21-0.

However, there was still time for the Spartans to send one last message to the Pathfinders before the end of the half. Facing a first and goal, inside the last two minutes of the game, it was time for the Black Tide to flex their muscle.

With a roaring sideline behind them, the powerful, dominating, unforgiving, punishing Spartans defense slammed the door shut on their opponents – not giving an inch, denying every attempt the Pathfinders made to get something, anything, out of the half. And after pushing their attempts back, forcing their opponents to lose ground rather than gain it, the home team ended the half with a convincing and fully-deserved 21-0 lead – and their heads held high.

Early in the third quarter, with Milton Keynes deep in their own territory, Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Reid was unlucky to have a fumble-recovery touchdown called back by a penalty, but the message was clear – the Spartans were looking to dominate their opposition. There would be no mercy shown today. Not here. Not in Sparta.

The Pathfinders avoided the shutout with a scoring pass in the third quarter, but the Spartans offense, now lead by James Dawson, responded quickly – Sim Clarke pulling off a breathtaking grab for the score, and with Ross Sauvage converting, the home team were leading 29-6.

Minto wasn’t done yet, recording another interception to take his tally to 3 for the season, giving Dawson and the offense another chance to score. It didn’t take long – Dawson connected with Tottman for the receivers third score of the day, taking his total to 6 on the season, and the final score of 35-6.

“Today’s performance against our Divisional rivals was a great test of all the hard work this team has put in over the last 7 months,” said Spartans Head Coach Marc Saunders. “I am very pleased with every member of the Spartans and look forward to next weeks rematch at Milton Keynes.”

Three matches played – two wins, one tie. 125 points scored, 30 conceded. The Black Tide is swarming all over the Division – and next week, it heads to the return matchup at Milton Keynes, who will need to improve to contend.

Day by day – we get better and better – until we can’t be beat! We WON’T BE BEAT!