Wapping M9 v Witham M3 (a)
"a solid block of maroon" by Jon 'J Lo' Lowe
We were off to top of the league Witham this week, and they graciously decided to give us a 17.00 PB time in the depths of Essex. So, we arrived at an already cold, dark evening and probably honestly, not expecting too much from the game. But what annoyed the team and maybe sparked our defiance was a conversation which we overheard in which the opposition declared “This is a game for goal difference lads”. We weren’t standing for that.
The game started, and we started strong. Ollie Morgan moving to centre back for this game quickly found his feet, organising the defence and the midfield so we looked a solid block of maroon shirts. The start of the game was an even affair, with both sides having control of the ball, sizing each other up. Witham had oddly gone for the tactic of a half court press, allowing our defence to move the ball from left to right with ease, never really closing us down for the entire game. Wapping started to look stronger going into the later stages of the first half. Tim and Harry in the middle really putting in a shift to slow the game down in the midfield, as well as sparking our attacks and pressing play.
Opportunities came for both sides in the first half, but none too memorable and the score remained level at half time.
The second half started with strong play from Wapping again. A move that started from the back of the Wapping half, made its way up the pitch with decisive passing and moving, which resulted in a team goal. Harry Inch was teed up nicely in the end, playing a lovely one-two with Sjoerd.
This really didn’t sit well with Witham. They started to get frustrated, taking there anger out on our sticks and their umpire. A couple of green cards were brandished, to try and calm the game down, but we were happy with our goal. Witham were dangerous at times, attacking well but the defence soaked up the pressure. Ollie Kean was unlucky not to put us 2-0 up after clipping a shot heading for the bottom right hand corner, only for their GK to get a little nick on it to put it past the post.
Witham however did get their equaliser. A short corner routine and shot saw the ball pop up and hit Paul Whelan on the line. Now, if we had the luxury of Hawkeye the umpires would have seen the at it smacked his hand on his stick. But, we will admit at the time it would have been an outrageous call not to give a penalty stroke. Put away in the bottom right corner the league leaders managed to claw back a draw.
Man of the Match went to Ollie Morgan for his planning and organisation at the back. However Ollie did get DOD as well, as he had saved all his skills for the game, arriving an hour early with some of the team and forgetting what time JO pushes back when umpiring earlier in the day.