Wapping Ladies 1s grind out a winner
Not all victories are pretty, some are unsightly, hard fought battles leaving both sides a little dazed. But nonetheless, victory it was for Wapping's Ladies 1's who retained their position at the top of the Prem table in their 1-0 victory over Canterbury.
It was a rocky first 5 minutes before wapping found their feet and play continued in a more purposeful manner. Wapping's back line are definitively becoming a powerhouse in the league with Hannah Gage and Becky Hart ensuring strong distribution from the centre.
Dannie Jones and Bee Armstrong had great connecting play with the midfield, a sign this 'new' team is no longer new, instead emerging as a cohesive unit utilising connecting play across the entire pitch.
Canterbury were particularly strong at the back which tested the wapping forward line but in true form, the wapping first line of defence managed to overturn possession and create a couple counter attacking moments only to be thwarted by the canterbury defence. The visitors made it incredibly hard for wapping to penetrate the circle, denying the Maroon and white any chance of a penalty corner in the first half and also had unusual distribution techniques for the home side to adjust to.
It was not all doom and gloom however. In what has to be the goal of the season thus far, play started with a wapping free on the left. Kate O'Sullivan, Jordan Mulvaney and Katelynn Roganowicz each made dynamic leads that split their defence creating an opportunity for the ball to be crossed right. Katelynn received it carrying at speed down the right, cutting in towards the top of the D to reverse sweep the ball into the P spot. Then magic happened. Jordan Mulvaney caught the ball on the reverse, kept the ball in the air whilst she side-stepped one of the canterbury defenders, then spun away from goal and reverse flicked the ball into the top of the net straight over the keepers head. The crowd went wild and rumour has it her local village has erected a statue in her honour. The score was 1-0 with about 10 minutes to go in the first half.
The second half was what people call 'character building.' Wapping were denied chance after chance although showed great discipline in their press coming up with the ball a lot in the middle,which was manned by midfielders Lotta Paulus, Emma Evans, Lucy Todd and Aisling McKeon and Siobhan Stewart.
Canterbury have to be commended on their ability to prevent wapping from entering the circle and forcing the bulk of the game to be played between the two 25 yard lines. Attacking play from Katelynn, Lottie Colquhoun and Jen Allen eventually tired the defence and resulted in a short corner but a breakdown occurred and despite a quick reaction shot from Paulus, no goal came. A second corner came soon after with a disguise pass from McKeon to Jordan on the post only for the ball to narrowly go wide and the score remain 1-0.
It was a long second half where the hosts had to be very disciplined to retain their narrow lead. Wapping had to contend with a very aggressive press, making it challenging to transfer the ball and forcing more play a down the left than the hosts would have liked. Despite underutilising advantageous right side, the Wappers didn't panic and connected the passes in tight spaces for 1-2 passing between defence and midfield which began opening up channels for the forward lines to cut into.
Nerves were shot in the final 4 minutes of the game when's canterbury left forward- who was a pain in the side for wapping as repeatedly turning the home side, cutting inside on counter attacks- got in behind the wapping defence for a breakaway 1v1 to goal. Cool, calm and collected, keeper, Meg Pugh dominated the encounter and safely brought wapping home to secure the win.
Wapping look like a bubbling side, each week becoming more and more clinical in their execution. They are on the fringe of the type of hockey an emerging National team side should be playing and given the high scoring game on their debut, one to fear when they start firing.