L1s vs Brom Becks (A)
Snow, what snow?
Wapping L 1's came away with a 4-2 victory against Brom & Becks over the weekend but not without some unwanted pressure from the home side and a battle of the elements to boot.
Despite the snow coming down heavily at the starting whistle and footing anything but stable, play started out quite evenly between the teams. Brom & Becks successfully connected their plays and Wapping showing their speed of transfer, predominantly from Aoife's Smyths ferocious disguise passes from the back, nicely linking up with the Wapping midfielders which allowed them repeatedly break through the opposition's press.
The first score of the match came in the 5th minute for Wapping from a great team build up of play. The ball moved between Aoife Smyth and Becky Hart (who recently got a call up to the national Masters team) in the backs, through to Aisling McKeon and Lotta Paulus in the midfield who connected with Jade White and then to Jordan Mulvaney who ran the baseline from the left hand side, sending a perfect cross to the penalty spot where Lucy Todd boldly swept it into the backboard. Score 1-0 to Wapping.
Instead of maintaining momentum, Wapping were unable to sustain the pressure and keep a clean sheet- a frustrating habit for the second team in the league- and allowed the home side back into the play. In the 26th minute, Brom & Becks overturned the play just between the 25 and 50 yard lines. By combining 1v2 passing between the back line and midfield, they pierced the Wapping circle, resulting in a penalty corner for their quick efforts. A cleanly executed flat sweep into the corner, rewarded the home side with their first goal putting Wapping on the back foot. Score was levelled at 1-1.
Unusually for Wapping, no scores came from their short corner routines although there were a couple of notable 'inch' misses; two from a straight strikes on top by Ciara Murphy and and Aisling McKeon and another disguise pass routine to Jordan Mulvaney, who's set piece defection narrowly missed the backboard. Score remained 1-1 going into halftime.
10 minutes into the second half, Brom & Becks once against punished the Wapping side in a quick counter attack with a break from their right midfielder from the half way line into the Wapping circle. Wapping scrambled to get numbers back in defence but a quick, strong cross from the Brom & Becks midfielder was wonderfully deflected by a teammate from the near side across into the far corner of the Wapping net. The score 1-2 to the home side.
Wapping have a strong track record of winning from behind and in true form, riled by the second goal down, increased the pressure to squeeze the opposition. Wapping resumed their full press led relentlessly by Kate Sullivan, suffocating any space for the Brom and Becks defence to get out of their own 25. Blitz like attacks were sieged by Fran, Sullivan, Jordan, Jade and Ciara with the Wapping midfielders and defence helping to transfer the play to continue the attacks on both sides.
This seemed to be the moment that changed the tempo of the game in Wapping's favour. Leading the charge from right back was Bee Armstrong. With a lot of the typical members of the Wapping defence absent or injured, Bee seamlessly slipped into the right back position and played a stormer, intercepting dozens of passes down the channel and forcefully charging up the right to support counter attacking plays.
This momentum led to Wapping's newest recruit, Katelynn Roganowicz spectacularly intercepting a cross between the Brom & Becks centre backs on the edge of their circle to single handedly beat the keeper in the 1v1 putting ball to backboard. Scored levelled once more at 2:2.
With 12 minutes to the final whistle, there was a sense of deja Vue when Lotta Paulus overturned the ball just behind the opposition's 25 yard line and dodged and weaved her way past three defenders to penetrate the right side of their circle. A glorious shot across her body, executed mid-dive (as the snow got the best of her footing) into the left corner gave Wapping their 3rd goal. Not the first time Paulus has pulled off such shots. Score 3-2 with Wapping confidence growing.
Sensing victory, only 4 minutes later, the Wapping ladies spurred on, enjoying the dominance they were having over the final third of the game. A full pitch transfer from Sarah Burke to Aoife Smyth to Aisling McKeon allowed McKeon to navigate her way around the right side of the baseline and connect with Captain, Lucy Todd who, for a second time in the game, was perfectly placed at the penalty spot, this time sending the ball with quick flight into the back of the oppositions net and ending the game at 4-2 for the visitors.
Wapping know that maintaining a clean sheet will be what sets them apart in the tight race for the top as they go to battle in the second half of the season.