M1 v Bedford by Dom Graham
Wapping finally overcome bogey team Bedford
Wapping 1st Team strengthened their position at the top of East Premier A on Saturday, securing their fifth win in a row with a fine performance against Bedford HC whilst fellow title contenders St. Albans and City of Peterborough both dropped points. The 2-0 win was a relief for Wapping following a 4-2 loss at home to the same side earlier in the season and a disappointing performance in a 3-2 win against Bluehearts the previous week.
At training on the Wednesday prior to the game, the Wapping Men’s 1st team practiced a new a counter attacking style. The Wapping side of 15 would include seven out-and-out defenders, and the Wapping right half and centre half would be playing at inside left to man-mark Bedford’s playmaker.
The side was in high spirits on the way to the game, traveling together as a squad by train to Bedford and walking to the pitch to warm the muscles. It was a drab day and Wapping soon realised the smash and grab approach could be the most appropriate.
Wapping learnt lessons from the 4-2 loss earlier in the season, where Bedford played a good counter-attacking game, and adapted the style of play to try and beat them at their own game. Bedford were without their star striker, and their other major threat was neutralised by Dominic Graham all game. Wapping played a very defensive style, but it proved to be extremely effective as they enjoyed good amounts of possession and showed patience all over the field.
In a game of few chances, the early encounters resulted in opportunities for Rob Price, Ollie Salverson, Grant Aidoo Nash and Ian Kibble, none of which found the back of the net due to a combination of good saves and strong tackles; the best chance fell to Price who having rounded the keeper was fouled on the shot which forced the ball wide, but unfortunately it did not result in a penalty stroke. Nil-Nil at half-time.
Straight from the off, Duncan Graves, who looked threatening all game broke down the base line before the Bedford HC defender cynically fouled resulting in a penalty stroke. With top scorer Michael Marck missing, up stepped Captain Oliver Cooper
who duly dispatched the stroke. 1-0.
The game began to get scrappy as the half progressed, which was summed up by Wapping’s second goal. Salverson eventually put the ball in the net following a number of Bedford and Wapping infringements in the run-up to the goal, this was the luck Wapping had been waiting for. 2-0. The game was largely uneventful from then on, with Wapping closing out the game in a very professional manner. The highlights were a stunning save from Joe Tricket, an Ollie Davies
dive and some aggressive tackling from Bedford that bizarrely led to Dominic Graham receiving a yellow card for suggesting too strongly that this was not in the spirit of the game.
2-0 was a fair result. Wapping fought very hard for the win and were thoroughly deserving of it. Special mention must go to coach de Souza for his thoughtful approach and execution of a different playing style which clearly paid off. This was a great example of a team performance with everyone involved stepping up and delivering what had been asked of them.
Wapping appears to be finding form at the right time. The next game is on Saturday 6th February, home at Lea Valley against division strugglers Dereham which will no doubt be a tough game.
Scorers: Cooper, Salveson
MoM: Dominic Graham – dominant performance over his opposite number
DoD: Dominic Graham – needless yellow card at an important stage of the day, his last of the season [hopefully]