Wapping 6 V Southend 2
Damp and smelly!
It was a noon-ish game away at Rayleigh playing against the Southenders, which were close to us on top of the league table. We were talking about heading east to the seaside for some fish and chips post-game if the weather allowed. Unfortunately, it was cloudy with a rainy forecast driving on the way and raindrops started hitting when we arrived at Sweyne Park School. No good sign apart from the weather - we were not able to use the changing room as it had been occupied by school kids coming out from the pool. So we gathered for pre-match team talk and got changed right outside the toilets. With our team captain, Karen, dropping the bag of white shirts, Ema and Bee were the first to grab the shirts and they yelled complaining about the smell. With our quick but thorough investigation, we concluded that the shirt-taker, Sinead, was too busy hosting a wonderful Halloween social pre-drink at her place and was too hungover after the social leaving the shirts unwashed for three weeks. We hoped the smell on our shirts would put our opponents, instead of ourselves, off on the pitch.
The game started by a push back by the opponent in a chilly and damp condition. With a hard press for around 10 minutes, two Southenders sped out, broke down our defence, got in front of Carla, our goal keeper, and score from her right to the corner of the goal. Despite the quick loss of one score behind, we, with the help of three mates from 7s, Hannah, Hoggie and Sarah (GP), started to gain more control and pushing our attacks on the right. Yet, the Southenders were no weak hands at tackle and defence. Our attacks on the right were crowded out and rarely made us through into the opponent's D. So, we shifted our attacks to the left, driven mostly by Field and Hannah in the midfield and Ema and Bee on the top. After two or three attempts, Field made it into the D with her wonderful dribbling skill passing three Southenders and hit solidly towards the goal. Unfortunately, the ball hit hard on Ema’s right foot instead of the backboard of the goal. Ema, probably still on her hangover, managed to get back on both of her feet after a big yell in pain. We continued to press on our left as it worked quite well. Close to the half time, Sarah drove the ball high and deep towards the bottom line and made a solid injection into the D, Bee picked it up beautifully near the penalty spot and score to bring us a 1-1 tie by half time.
After the half-time team talk (without the sugary doses or oranges though), we were out on the pitch with determination for a win.
L6s saw the hunger of the Southenders right at the start of the second half. We were dominated by the opponents in the half pitch on our side. Three Southend forwards penetrated our defence, shuffled vigorously in front of our goal and made multiple shots. Carla saved a couple in a row with her body lying down but she couldn't hold long. The Southenders made two more scores in the first 10 minutes. With 1-3 behind, both teams had numbers of attacks to each side. We made several shots in the next 15 mins but none of those brought us another goal as they were either saved by the goal keeper or went wide. Same to Southenders. When Anna, our right back, won the ball at the back, she passed it to Fi, who then drove along the side line to the top in her usual way, gave a hard hit into the D. Bee picked up near the right post and passed it to Ema to slot into the goal. It brought us to only one down at 2-3 and boosted our spirit. We then sped and pushed harder but the Southenders were tough - they blocked most of our 16 free hits, turned around and made a few more shots on our side. The clock was ticking down and the game ended with the whistle blown for a victory to Southenders [Score 3-2].
After the match, we didn't go for a fish and chip but aimed for a few pints and some pub food at Travellers' Joy. We ended up spliting into two groups thanks to Bee (subsequently being voted as DOD) talking almost half of the team away. MOM went to Anna with her great defence.