Wapping To The Four As Cambridge City Defeated - By Adam Haines
Latest victory over Cambridge City 3 keeps Wapping firmly in the promotion hunt
On an afternoon when Wapping’s two main promotion rivals won, it was vital that Wapping followed suit in their away game at Cambridge City 3s.
There was little between the two sides in the early stages with Cambridge coming at Wapping with gusto, keen to prove their worth following defeat in the reverse fixture, when it was widely believed that Wapping enjoyed their best performance of the campaign.
Nonetheless, Wapping kept their heads and Cambridge’s threat was limited to a single effort, which keeper James Bowler kept out smartly, diving to his right side.
Gradually, the away team exerted their dominance and began to play some attractive hockey. Wapping players were awarded a little too much space, allowing them the time to pick out their man and seamlessly transfer the ball from defence to attack. This was helped by intelligent forward leads, epitomised by those of Oliver Salvesen.
Within the 25, quick hands and evasive skill — with Nick McLaren and Ben Bull at the forefront — meant City’s ‘D’ was penetrated frequently, though an end product proved lacking.
After impressive interplay down the right, though, right-back Dylan Holman crashed the ball along the byline and to the far post, where Jonny Madill stood waiting to pounce. A controlled finish from a fired ball gave Wapping a 1-0 lead and extended Madill’s recent fruitful goal-scoring run.
The goal saw Wapping’s heads lift and their opponents’ drop. As the first period went on, the men in maroon became camped in the Cambridge half. Further chances fell to Adam Haines, Salvesen and James Fanger but a combination of squandered finishing and good keeping meant none were converted. The half ended 1-0.
At half-time, coach Steve Turner declared himself pleased with the performance. The message, simply, ‘more of the same’.
As the whistle, sounded, Cambridge seemed to have regrouped and threatened to find a way back into the game. The door, though, was firmly shut when Wapping won a short corner and Bull converted from a pass from skipper-for-the-day Dom Oliver.
Wapping could breathe and began to express themselves with more freedom. Right and left halves, Holman and Sam Philpott respectively, wanted in on the action, regularly bursting forward, though one of the latter’s forages was brought to a halt in industrial fashion by an opposing defender, spelling the end of Philpott’s afternoon.
Haines, McLaren, Fanger and the irrepressible Jason Black were holding things steady in the midfield and laying the foundation for the forwards to torment their opposite numbers.
Matthew Hyden scored the goal that had been coming when the ball ricocheted to him and he showed reactions that belied his age to slam against the backboard to make it 3-0. Cambridge’s half became a mass of maroon as Wapping surged forward, safe in the knowledge that Dudley Spiers and Olly Watts would soak up any potential counter-attack.
On another Wapping attack three forwards found themselves bearing down on a solitary defender. Northern Irishman Madill held possession of the ball, pondered for a moment, used his teammates as decoys and simply flicked the ball past the keeper, bulging the net. The goal made it 4-0, poetically matching the scoreline from the reverse fixture.
As it was, the four-goal difference would not stand. Cambridge won a short corner in the final 10 minutes and scored a consolation which their wholehearted performance deserved.
On a day when Wapping played like a team, it was fitting that Man of the Match awards were shared, between Oliver, Madill and right-half Holman.
It was a game played in a good spirit on perhaps the best pitch Wapping will play on all season, away from home at least. The performance was professional, maybe played with one eye on next week’s fixture when Wapping play league leaders Bourne Deeping at Lee Valley.