Wapping keep cool to complete Peterborough comeback - by Adam Haines
Wapping concede opening goal but show character to overcome City of Peterborough 4-1 — and hold spot at top of league.
Although City of Peterborough 3 sat bottom of the league with only three points, their recent 2-2 draw against Wapping’s promotion rivals Shefford and Sandy meant it would be foolhardy to take them lightly.
Wapping would need demeanour as ice cold as the conditions were they to come away with the points.
The men in maroon began the match where they left off last weekend, when they toppled Bourne Deeping 5-0, taking the game to their opponents from the off. Within the first few minutes, in-form forward Jonny Madill drove into the D and fired narrowly wide of the far post.
Wapping were full of commitment and purpose, epitomised by the work of Alain Traill and James Fanger. This didn’t translate into clear-cut chances, however.
The team seemed to struggle with the sand-based astro, which played significantly slower than their home turf of LV and acted as a leveller. Wapping did win six or seven short corners, though none were converted.
At the back, the defensive line-up of skipper Charley Wright, Dudley Spiers, Sam Philpott and Dan Chamberlain dealt with the vast majority of what was thrown at them and sprayed the ball around confidently.
However, a rare error led to the best chance of the half when a Peterborough forward was presented with a one-on-one. A combination of an outrushing James Bowler and a recovering defence stamped out the opportunity. Wapping had been warned.
Somewhat surprisingly, the two sides went into the break locked at 0-0.
Ten minutes into the second half, the deadlock was broken — by the hosts. A fantastic Peterborough run down the flank ended with a Peterborough forward’s shot sneaking in via deflection off a Wapping stick. A shock was on the cards.
Maybe this was the wake-up call Wapping needed or perhaps Peterborough became jittery at the prospect of toppling the league leaders. Who knows? Either way, it was the turning point of the game and it was not long before Wapping were presented with a golden opportunity to equalise.
A rebound from a Wapping short-corner struck a defender’s foot on the line; the ball was turned home but the umpire brought back play having already blown his whistle and awarded a penalty flick. Dom Oliver defied the pressure to slam the flick into the backboard and level things up at 1-1.
The goal seemed to further dispirit the hosts, and soon Wapping had the lead. At another short corner, Matt Hyden capitalised on a goalmouth melee to score a predator’s strike.
By this point more accustomed to the pitch, Wapping began to express themselves. A delightful passage of possession and passing hockey resulted in Nick McClaren, Dom Oliver and Jonny Madill combining. The latter’s shot was tucked in at the back post by Adam Haines for the evergreen midfielder’s first goal of the season. Wapping led 3-1.
Alain Traill added the icing to the cake diving in at the far post to deflect home and make it 4-1.
Wapping had reacted impressively to falling behind to score a quartet of goals within 20 minutes. The final whistle sounded; in truth, Wapping would have liked to have carried on.
It was a match which proved that Wapping not only have quality but graft, too. It is guaranteed that not everything will go to plan between now and the end of the season, so evidence of an ability to dig deep was encouraging.
Dan Chamberlain, a picture of composure on his debut for the side, deserves particular praise for his performance. Man of the Match, however, went to James Fanger, who made both chances and tackles and is in fine form at present.
Wapping showed they will not relinquish their league lead easily and sit two points above their closest rivals going into slip week. Their next game, on 25 February, sees them face Norwich City, who took a point when the teams met in November.
Wapping’s form has taken an upturn since then; but, as City of Peterborough proved, no team in this league should be taken lightly.