Div 1 Debut
5 mins too late
Wapping 3s were pumped for their first game in Div 1, although they knew it would be a tough game against a side that finished 4th the previous season.
Wapping started with a high line looking to catch Bishops Stortford off guard, but Bishops Stortford were ready for the challenge and were able to manipulate the large spaces created in midfield. Wapping were on the ropes, but had the iron will of James Wheaton and Michael Wood to thank for keeping parity, both putting in strong early tackles.
A change was needed, and the experienced heads of Ross Townsley and Caspar Paulus called for a change to a more structured press. The switch worked, and soon Wapping were on top, working the ball well in midfield with Alex Mitchell, Alex Gray, and Rob Henderson linking well. Wapping were particularly successful down their left flank, and supreme skill from Henderson and Hamish Forbes, fashioned numerous chances. The goal did not come however and eventually Bishops Stortford regained their feet in the half and scored in the closing exchanges of the first period.
Wapping rightly felt hard done by, and mustered an immediate response. A series of short corners won by Kieran Edwards eventually wore down the stubborn Bishops Stortford defense, with Gray blasting a rocket into the far post. A high intensity 2nd half took its toll on both sides, and in the heat tempers flared with cards being shown like they were going out of fashion. Wapping kept on battling and the hard work of Jason Black and Chris Holland stepping in to fill depleted positions kept the team ticking.
The hard work paid off as Alex Mitchell fed Oscar Fass whose soft touch deflected the ball past the flailing Bishops Stortford keeper. On top Wapping, redoubled their defensive efforts, Josh Roberts playing the job of sweeper as never before seen in the 3s. The afternoon sun started to affect the Wapping play, and Bishops Stortford pressed hard; only the outstanding efforts of MOM Charles McCulloch in goal retained Wapping's lead. A dream Div 1 debut was not to be for Wapping however, and, as in the 1st half, the final whistle came 5 minutes too late. Bishops Stortford found a scrappy equaliser just before time and both teams settled for a draw
Wapping should be buoyed by their tenacious display but were left ruing missed 1st half opportunities. Next week they face Broxbourne at home, who Wapping pipped to the title in the final match of the previous season.