M5s seal promotion with victory over local rivals.
by Anthony Day
The stage was set. Wapping Men’s 5s were on the brink of promotion. The opposition, fierce local rivals East London Men's 4s.
The previous meeting had seen Wapping walk away with all three points courtesy of an own goal by East London.
The game was an early one, 10 am at John Orwell Sports Centre.The conditions so bad, most people would have looked out the window, shut the blinds and bid the day goodbye.But the lads in Maroon had a clash set that would determine the fate of a hard fought season.
The day was bright and blustery, ominous clouds gathered in the distance.A day for Wapping to secure promotion with several games still to play or East London to gain revenge and register Wapping's first home defeat of the 2013/14 season.
Wapping turned out a strong team and it showed from the outset.Switching the ball with ease, from left to right. The slow march up the pitch occasionally broken by a few piercing balls from East London that were snuffed out by the rock solid defending of Bobby Wickes, Jeremy Gould, Gus Turner and Mark Stradling.
It was not until the 15 minute mark that the deadlock was broken.Wapping scored! The ball was played into the D from the left, and after a small scrap at the spot a shot was fired off only for the keeper to save and somewhat unluckily for him, turn it into the back of his own net while searching for the ball.
Wapping lead from an own goal again!You couldn’t make it up!
This spurred East London into action and they started to pierce the central defence with some excellent through balls.One pass in particular saw their striker one-on-one with goalkeeper Phil O'Hagan.An excellent save from the keeper denied them a chance to level the score.
After overcoming the pressure Wapping stepped up a gear and pressed high from the right with Philip Hitchell pressing into the D and finding an unmarked Ben Earnshaw at the spot. A well timed powerful slap left the keeper no chance. 2-0 Wapping.
At this point it was all Wapping and within 5 minutes of half time and goal bound shot from Graham Spiby found a needed deflection of Ollie Perez. Wapping 3-0
The home side almost added a 4th when Tom Hammond picked up the ball on the left of the circle, and a strong lateral run, beating three players led him into the circle. The resultant strike sailing wide meant Wapping storm settled in at half time with a 3-0 lead.
The second half was ground out.Each side trying to break the other down. Wapping proved to have the better midfield, with Wapping captain Joel Marsden, proving effective in the holding role to keep the team together. Charlie Ballentine had a good game up front running the defense around creating enough space for the midfield to push forward. There was much back and forth, with East London having a handful of penalty corners and thus the better chances to score. But Wapping were resolute!
Ten minutes from time a quickly taken long corner from Anthony Day to Graham Spiby, saw the latter neatly pick his way between two defenders before rifling his shot, from the very top of the circle, into the goal.
That was that, the local rivals were beaten 4-0. The win means that Wapping Men’s 5s sealed promotion with 5 games to spare, and remain undefeated in East Division 5SE with a 100% home record. An exceptional achievement from a well-assembled squad. Next week sees them play 2nd in the table Old Southendian M2s, a win will see Wapping Men’s 5s crowned Champions. It’s a good time to be a 5s player!
Man of the Match: Ben Earnshaw
DOD: Bobby Wickes/Anthony Day
Goals: OG, Ben Earnshaw, Ollie Perez, Graham Spiby