Wapping M5s win the Div 5SE title
Unbeaten to date, the victory sees the M5s wrap up the title with 4 games to spare.
Wapping Men’s 5s secured the East League Division 5 South East title with a hard-fought 3-0 win over promotion rivals Old Southendian Men's 2s, extending their unbeaten run to 18 games.
Knowing that a further win and 3 points would be enough to secure the championship, Wapping 5s started the game with uncharacteristic trepidation. Old Southendian's capitalised on the slow start with some early, sustained pressure but found keeper Phil O'Hagan and the Wapping defense in top form. Some early substitutions saw Wapping change their shape with Jeremy Gould stepping in as a defensive sweeper and Charlie Ballentine operating high up the pitch to help stretch out the play.
The visitors then began to settle in to the game, and play their brand of quick, passing hockey. A series of slick passes to transfer the ball around the back and down the channels began to see Wapping take charge of proceedings. A neatly timed set of one-two passes between Jeremy Gould and Joel Marsden opening up the opposition and creating a chance for Nick Dale to sweep home. The keeper saved the first shot, but was helpless as Nick Dale powered the ball into the roof of the net from the rebound. 1-0 to Wapping. Shortly after, a pass following some further good work from winger Phil Hitchell, set up Oliver Perez at the back post for a simple finish to make it 2-0 at half-time.
Wapping continued to press forward in the 2nd half and remained patient in their build-up play. Old Southendians continued to look threatening on the break and remained in the game at this point. A third goal after 50 minutes put paid to the home side's hopes of a comeback. Man of the Match Tom Hammond beating the onrushing keeper for his 11th goal of the season and securing the 3 points following some great work by Oliver Perez.
Captain Joel Marsden was delighted with the team’s performance on the day, and heaped praise on the defense for providing a solid foundation throughout the season. "Another clean sheet today, and with just one goal a game conceded in 18 matches, it's provided a platform and given us great confidence to press high and take the game to the opposition each week. The victory sees the Wapping Men's 5s crowned champions of South East Division 5 with 4 games to spare, with high hopes of maintaining their impressive unbeaten run through until the season's end on March 22.
MoM: "Dirty Tom" Hammond
DoD: Joel Marsden
Goals: Tom Hammond, Oliver Perez, Nick Dale