Wapping M9 v Chelmsford M4
"a wave of optimism" by Andy 'Juggers' Gill
It was a cold, blustery Saturday afternoon and Wapping M9 had the unenviable trip to Chelmsford for a 14:30 push back. With the club short throughout, M9 took a bare 11 and injured bystander.
After working our way through the maze that is Chelmsford HC club house, we found the changing rooms and made our way out to the pitch.
Our injured (some would say incapable) team member optimistically took the warm up, stretches n’all, before making the decision that the Chelmsford front line offered too much strength and pace to consider playing.
As the M9 defence took the brunt of the club wide selection issues, with an unfamiliar back 4, the game was underway. It started as a cagey affair, a bit of a midfield scrap, with mistakes from either side. However, as the first half continued, Wapping grew into the game and had a number of fine counter attacks before the ball fell nicely for our very own angry man, Will Daniels. He doesn’t miss those sort of chances and he wasn’t about to start then, it was Wapping 1 Chelmsford 0...the crowd erupted.
As the game restarted, there were the usual chants of “heads on” and “0-0 lads”. The game continued with a number of uncharacteristic mistakes from Wapping and it became apparent that we had forgotten who our players were. Fighting hard against the flow, we sustained the pressure for a mere 5 minutes, before Chelmsford capitalised in the latter parts of the first half. It was 1-1. The heads dropped.
After the Chelmsford push back, Wapping got back into the game with some fine attacking hockey. We were pushing hard and had all but the final piece of the jigsaw. However, following a Wapping attack, Chelmsford broke leaving our defence stranded. They took their chance well and scored from a short corner on the cusp of half time. It was 2-1 going into the break. Disaster.
After the obligatory sweets provided by nurse Liam, Wapping were armed at ready to attack. Our game plan was in place, keep the ball, play it around easily and load the D to get more from our wave of attacks. We started strongly playing the ball nicely and after a large period of attacking, we managed to grab the initiative through the technical ability of the ever-present Ollie Kean. He did what he does best and kept the ball to himself, slotting it in the bottom corner. Game on.
Chelmsford restarted the play, but we were in no mood to let them play their way as we grabbed the momentum. Wapping had a period of strong attacking play, with a few Chelmsford counters to remind us that they were still there. Then the unthinkable...Ollie Morgan knocked the ball away from the opposition on their free hit, getting himself a green card. What a silly boy.
In the absence of our midfield maestro, we continued to press. We brought the youngster, Jonny Ellis, back to the midfield to fill the void and we held off the pressure from the opposition. Ollie Morgan returned to the field to round of applause and a wave of optimism.
We pressed and pressed, playing the ball about throughout the midfield, before finally one of our newest recruits, Tim Alexander, opened his Wapping account with his first goal. 3-2 to Wapping. Unbelievable scenes.
Again, play restarted, we were not letting this slip, not this time. Unfortunately, Chelmsford were not about to let us have the win and they came at us hard. A number of strong attacks accompanied some hairy moments (and some questionable choices) for Wapping as the opposition grabbed the initiative. They were in the ascendancy and hit the bar towards the end of the match. Again we found ourselves playing for the whistle. We were doing our best to get rid of the ball, but unfortunately conceded a late short that Chelmsford gratefully dispatched. 3-3.
The rest of the game involves both sides pushing hard for the win, which neither side could get. The game ended 3-3.
MOM was awarded to Tim Alexander for his first Wapping goal and a fine midfield performance. DOD was awarded to Andy Gill for being an unused sub and cheering for a win at the end of the match when it was a draw (undeserved).
Next week, Wapping M9 face Saffron Walden 4 at the JO palace at 2pm.