The Essex Spartans’ senior season ended with a disappointment as league first-timers Wembley Stallions snatched a late 14 – 20 win in Billericay, to secure their place in the playoffs.
Reeling from their narrow defeat away at Ipswich Cardinals in July, the Spartans started with immense speed and strength as #11 CB Norris Owusu ran the touchdown on the first play, which was disallowed due to undue early celebration and the Spartans returned to the 30 yard line.
Unable to make an additional first down, it was left to the Spartans’ defence to repeatedly see off an advancing Stallions O-line for the rest of the quarter, ending the quarter still 0 – 0.
Following a fumble recovery and solid yardage from Spartans #24 Dwayne Ferdinand, the Spartans once again lost possession and as Spartans #99 Eugene Tangney went for a tackle, several players from both sides became involved in an on-field aggressive incident. Spartans #89 Paul Cossu was ejected for unsportsmanlike behaviour, along with one Stallions player and one Stallions player-coach.
The first half tailed off significantly following the incident, finishing the half still 0 – 0.
The Wembley Stallions opened scoring on their first drive of the second half but missed the conversion. Following a collision with Spartans #13 Felix Olu, the Stallions #67 was the fourth individual to be ejected from the game late in the third quarter for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
The fourth quarter was all action as the Stallions extended their lead with another touchdown and successful kick conversion. The Spartans were able to overturn the Stallions’ long-held lead in a few short plays however, when Spartans #86 Jordan Horvath ran the ball in for the TD and #13 Olu converted the extra two points.
Several minutes later, Spartans QB Jimmy Dawson pitched long to #87 Joe Simson-Parsons who was hinged in on the end-zone. The blocked conversion put the score at 14 – 13 in the favour of Essex with just seven minutes left on the clock.
The victory was short-lived however, as the Stallions ran for a third touchdown in the dying seconds of the game and the successful kick conversion sealed the Spartans’ fate as a 3-6-1 season.
The Essex Spartans senior team will break now until November and would like to thank their sponsors, supporters, players and stakeholders for their time and dedication this season.