Unbeaten season is now the target for all-conquering Dragons team
Bourne Deeping Ladies 2nds have won East Division 4NW(N) with three games remaining.
The unbeaten Dragonesses beat nearest rivals Horncastle 2nds in some style on Saturday by scoring four high quality goals in a 4-2 victory.
It was a tense tussle between the two title rivals during the first half as the end-to-end battle concentrated in several pockets of the pitch.
The Dragons quickly moved ahead as they began to utilise the pace of Helena Darragh on the right hand side and soon claimed their first penalty corner after 13 minutes of play.
It would lead to the only goal of the opening half as centre-back Rachel Gale pushed up to take a straight strike and slotted it past the keeper for the first of her player-of-the-match double.
Just five minutes later a crucial clearance from Kay Greenaway led to the second real chance for the Dragons.
Millie Durrands and Alice Brownlow produced an impressive display of passing as they navigated around half-a-dozen Horncastle players, giving the latter her first shot at goal before it was denied by the defence.
It began an aggressive passage of play for the Dragons and with it an another opportunity to increase their lead with a second penalty corner, but Horncastle successfully stopped a shot on target from Durrands and another soon after from Lucy Norman.
While the attack of the Dragons was undoubtedly strong, the defensive work of Greenaway, Sophie Wheatley, Emily Laugharne, Nadine Curtis, Camilla Tait and goalkeeper Rose Taylor-Jackson equally played their part, denying two crucial counter attacks from Horncastle and two penalty corners in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
A potential turning point in the match came in the closing seconds of the first 35 minutes as Horncastle were awarded a penalty corner and pushed up their entire team to give themselves a real chance of levelling the scores.
However, pressure from Greenaway forced them to go out wide with their attack and a mistake from Horncastle saw them chase their attempt off the back line and keep the Dragons ahead at the break.
From the beginning of the second half the Dragons asserted control, widening out the play and piling the pressure on their opposition as they quickly increased their hold over the game.
The first of three goals in the second half came from a penalty corner at 42 minutes.
Gale received the ball from Darragh at the top of the D but was forced to switch tactics as Horncastle anticipated another straight strike and instead moved past the defenders before sweeping the ball on the reverse into the bottom right hand corner.
Less than 10 minutes later Dawn McShane, who stepped up in the absence of regular captain Kirsty Martin to play a pivotal role in the midfield, teamed up with both Darragh and Rachel Adams for the next.
McShane fired it to Adams who picked it up on the run by the left post and flicked it over the sticks of both defender and keeper to put the hosts up by three.
The fourth and final goal was a sublime one.
Not as well-known as McShane for her diving flare but certainly giving her a run for her money was Brownlow, who reaped the rewards of overstretching herself to reach a cross on the bottom left post after some well-worked play from Sophie Wheatley, Lucy Norman and Lily Fitch.
Norman and Emily Laugharne had the next real chances of the match, the latter sailing her attempt just wide of the goal after a counter attack.
But it was Horncastle who would enjoy their own dominant spell during the last 10 minutes as the Dragons found themselves momentarily scrambling while their opposition recorded a quick two goals.
Goalkeeper Taylor-Jackson had already made two notable saves in the second half but couldn’t keep out the Horncastle attack as they made the most of a foot in the D.
While the defence anticipated the inevitable short corner, the umpire signalled for advantage and the guests quickly found the back of the net.
Just five minutes later Horncastle once again made a breakaway and with a three-on-one situation the Dragons gave away what would be the only short sorner Horncastle would score from, beating the defence to make the scoreline 4-2.
With only a few minutes to go the Dragons soon regrouped and would deny any more attacks from the visitors, ensuring not only victory in the game but in the league as unbeaten champions.
They will now target an unbeaten season with their next test a home clash with Louth 2nds on Saturday.