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Spartans 6 – Manchester 3

Sheffield Spartans got back to winning ways in what was a must win game against Manchester Minotaurs. It was far from the perfect performance but it was more about the result really and in that regard is was a job well done.

The first period wasn’t particularly pleasing on the eye from a Spartans supporter’s perspective but that doesn’t mean to say it was all bad as Spartans at times outclassed a dogged short benched Manchester team but failed to make their chances count but at the same time we looked a bit laboured on occasions. Spartans ultimately paid the price for those missed opportunities when Minotaurs pulled level as the first period drew to its conclusion. Cole Shudra had deservedly put Spartans in front on 13.26 but a late rally from Minotaurs saw them equalise through Tom Hnlica timed 19.59 but it is fair to say that there was a sense that it had been coming although the Manchester players looked more surprised than the Sheffield ones did.

Spartans responded positively and played with a lot more purpose from the off which yielded three goals as Spartans dominated with a good spell of pressure to put them firmly in the driving seat. Stuart Brittle outsmarted the Manchester defence to finish off nicely within 20 seconds, assisted Elliott Knell & Ollie Barron. Shaun Wild playing as a forward showed is versatility to score an excellent short-handed goal with some great individual skill to make it 3-1 assisted Will Barron on 24.40. An impressive Stevie Weeks took his chance well to score another good goal timed 26.54, once again assisted by the reliable Will Barron. It was good stuff from Spartans despite conceding needless penalties that were making things difficult for themselves. However some nice play from Stuart Brittle & Elliott Knell brought out one of many good saves from Fox in Manchester’s but on this occasion he couldn’t keep the puck out with the rebound falling to Ollie Barron who made no mistake from short range to make it 5-1 to Spartans timed 34.17. Credit must be given to Minotaurs who didn’t give up and gave themselves hope when they took advantage of a powerplay from another soft penalty conceded by Spartans to score a well worked goal put away by John Murray after being set up with a nice pass from Brian Worrall on 38.00.

With a 5-2 lead Spartans looked in control for large parts of the period but Minotaurs weren’t giving up but just couldn’t find the finishing touches to make any inroads into the score line whilst Spartans really should have put away some of the chances they created. The warning signs had been there and it was no surprise when Minotaurs popped in another powerplay goal with a great shot from Brian Worrall to pull it back to 5-3 at 54.12. Spartans regrouped to rally late on and see the game out fairly comfortably adding a late powerplay goal, a well taken goal again from Mr Brittle timed 59.06 assisted Jonathan Kirk. This was the final action of the game which saw Spartans run out deserved 6-3 winners.

Overall it had been a solid team performance with quite a few impressive individual performances which should be noted but the missed chances, for a variety of reasons, and the conceding of needless penalties will more likely stick in the mind but Spartans needed the win and got it. Credit to Manchester Minotaurs though, they were short benched and didn’t look like a team that is bottom of the league without a win but Spartans were on the day the better team and in fairness should have won by a far greater margin. As it was they didn’t but it gives them a good base to work from and improve and it certainly makes for an interesting return fixture next Saturday in Altrincham.

Final Score: Spartans 6 Manchester Minotaurs 3

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