|July 26, 2015||2:30 pm||BAFA NL II South||2015|
14 - 21Full Time
The Spartans’ playoff ambitions were dashed on Sunday as they fell to the Ipswich Cardinals, whom finally returned to winning ways after four seasons adrift of any on-field victory.
The Cardinals took an early lead over confident Spartans, with Ipswich #85 Fabian Barnes striding unblocked for 55 yards into the end zone on their first drive. Spartans #24 Dwayne Ferdinand worked hard to gain considerable yardage for the returning offense, and an Ipswich fumble led to a penalty and 1st down for the Spartans for unsportsmanlike behaviour, but the advantage was quickly overturned with an interception from Cardinals #84.
The Cardinals offense continued to put the Spartans through their paces with massive strength and first down after first down. Although Spartans #44 Ernest Owusu achieved a pick for Essex and things seemed to turn around on the offense, the Spartans found themselves in hot water once again just before the half when #84 made the touchdown from the 10 yard line, leaving the visitors trailing 14 – 0 at half-time.
Rejuvenated for the third quarter, the Spartans scored their first TD of the game on the first play, a kick-return from #11 Norris Owusu. The conversion was flagged and the Spartans remained 14 – 6 down through the remainder of the third quarter and the majority of the fourth, as both teams battled against strong winds and heavy rain, failing to make any headway.
Spartans #24 Dwayne Ferdinand was a mighty upsetter with his touchdown with just 5 minutes left on the clock, and a successful 2-point conversion meant the Spartans were in line for a second 14 – 14 draw in as many games.
Unfortunately for Essex, Ipswich were not about to let their early lead fall lightly, and game MVP #32 Dave O’Connell crashed into the end-zone with less than two minutes to go, earning the Ipswich Cardinals their first competitive win since 2011.
The Spartans finish their 2015 season on Saturday 1st August at home to the Wembley Stallions in a special evening kick-off in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness.