Sevenoaks prove a tough battle for Wapping L1s
Belinda Armstrong kept wapping in a 1-1 draw against Sevenoaks on Saturday in what can only be described as a solid dusting-off of the cobwebs.
Wapping came out cool, calm and collected in the first 10 minutes, connecting nicely between the lines. Kate O'Sullivan (Sully) and Jordan Mulvaney caused the Sevenoaks defenders plenty of trouble, picking off the visitors' transfer balls multiple times in the opening minutes of play.
Wapping, however, struggled to get attacking play going forward, at times creating bottle necks at each of the 25 yard lines from a lack of dept in our lines. Errors crept into the game preventing momentum going forward and resulted in more turnovers than would usually be seen for our L1's. Sevenoaks successfully used aerials to get out of pressure, skipping over the midfield lines to put immediate pressure back on the wapping back four.
In true form, our defensive line managed to keep the opposition at bay. A break from Sevenoaks' forward line down the right hand side resulted in Meg Pugh channeling her inner Stretch Armstrong to deflect a shot over the end line... on more than one occasion.
Defence became attack as wapping got themselves on the scoreboard. The ball was outletted quickly by Hannah Gage and Becky Hart who connected with Aisling McKeon just past the half way line. McKeon hit Sully on the left hand side of the D and with a defender on her back, Sully scooped up the ball and drove to the baseline. Despite the mass of Sevenoaks defenders speedily charging back into the circle, Sully got a pass off to Lucy Todd who is as dangerous as you can get on the goal mouth. Todd recently became weighed down by a spectacular new piece of equipment donning her left hand but it in no way impeded her ability to send a cracking cross to Captain Bee Armstrong. Bee came sprinting- like a gazelle the comparison has been said- deep from right back to right of the P-spot and swept the ball ferociously past the Sevenoaks keeper to make the score 1-1.
Sevenoaks were spurred on by the goal conceded and Wapping- not yet back to pre-christmas form- had to absorb quite a lot of pressure with multiple back-to-back corners given against us. The wapping corner unit- a fortress that has not conceded since the second game of the season- denied the visitors on every attempt with Emma Evans (1st runner) intercepting on FOUR occasions in the corner set up, an incredible 50% batting average if you will.
Sadly, concentration lulled for wapping allowing Sevenoaks a breakaway from their defenders and midfields who connected with one of their left forwards bee-lining for goal. A scramble of more Sevenoaks attackers and Wapping players- desperately sprinting to get back- ensued as the ball nerve-wreckingly deflected over and back across the goal. It seemed everyone and their mothers got a touch on the ball but sadly the final touch was from a Sevenoaks stick who slotted the ball right corner to level the score 1-1.
Bee almost did the double in the second half. Wapping were rewarded with a free hit from the 25 yard line. A disguise pass was received by Lottie Colquhoun who confidently took the ball on the edge of D to chop-shot it over two defending sticks for a chance at goal. The shot didn't have the legs but it created a skirmish that caused a bit of back and forth before Lottie fought to gain control of the ball left of the post, again crossing to Bee who- for a second time- swept the ball right over the back board.
Wapping had celebrated sufficiently and were awaiting the restart when they were heart-breakingly denied the score as the umpire on the opposite side of the pitch disallowed the goal for a stick tackle said to have occurred seconds before the goal was scored. The score remained 1-1.
Not shaken, nor stirred, wapping continued the offensive. The final 15 minutes of play saw the home team dominate play and trench themselves around the Sevenoaks defensive 25. Jennin Allen sent half a dozen balls up the left and right channels in hopes the pressure would cause Sevenoaks to crack. Any play that did come close to our defensive half was rapidly swept up by Siobhan Stewart and Hannah Gage to ensure we immediately retaliated on the counter attack.
Stellar connecting play from Ciara Murphy in the middle allowed Zara Reid and Lou Song a tantalising breakaway play with 4 minutes to go. Unfortunately, proximity to the goal did not lead to actual goals and entry into the circle did not create a single short corner for the home side- something Wapping try to be disciplined about given the hard work put into gaining territory.
A breakaway by Sevenoaks' midfielders in the final 2 minutes put wapping on the back foot- and flashes of a potential loss in the air- but luckily Siobhan Stewart yet again saved the day to come up with the ball and end the game 1-1.
Wapping had a lot of great play and still remain in second place in the table. Confident to have the first game after christmas under their belt, we should expect a slick side to surface when they are away to Canterbury next week.
MOM: Siobhan Stewart for soaking up and saving us from a tremendous amount of pressure.
DOD: Jordan Mulvaney for taken an exotic, airy approach to dressing.