Stunning victory leaves S&S on brink of second promotion

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No Caption ABCDE PNL-161002-141402002

S&S Mens Is are on the verge of back to back promotions after thumping their closest rivals 5-1 on Saturday.

But as they assembled for their top of the East Mens League Division Two South clash against second placed Norwich City II they were anything but optimistic.

With top scorer Chris Fell suspended and precocious midfielder Jacob Barnes out of action following an accident in the warm up things were not looking so good.

The feelings of doom and gloom were compounded when straight from the push back City launched a massive aerial pass over the Shefford defence and into the path of their unmarked centre forward. The striker crashed his shot into the frame of the goal and the home side breathed a collective sigh of relief.

However, it has to be said that from that point on Shefford dominated the game with their first goal coming from the most unlikeliest of routes.

Barnes, rising Lazarus like from the subs bench after 18 minutes and with an audacious piece of skill, opened the scoring following a mazy run through the defence.

One soon became two when, from their second penalty corner, Liam Stevens deflected a delightful pass from player-coach Alyn Meredith past the startled Norwich net minder. Then Stephen Williams made it three just before half time when he dragged home from his side’s fifth penalty corner award.

Norwich came out after the interval with all guns blazing and they scored with a direct strike at their second penalty corner.

It was to be the visitors’ last success as Shefford, through the midfield domination of Barnes, Tom Hollington and Jeff Hall, took a further grip on proceedings. Hall, following an inspired advantage from the umpire, slotted home from yet another penalty corner variation on 50 minutes.

Hall, in a man of the match performance, then became provider when his incisive pass found sweeper Doug Dawson who had the easiest of finishes.

Shefford had laid the ghost of their one defeat away at Norwich earlier in the season.

Now a win for Shefford at Norwich Dragons on Saturday will almost certainly secure promotion for the second straight year.