M3’s 4 – Wanderers 4
match report by Todd Lomas
After a season of some ups and downs, the 3s finished up the season on a slight low. With London Wayfarers rocking up with 10 men, we thought it was going to be an easier game than the last time we met. Within the first 5 minutes, Will Biggins found a pass through to Oscar Prior on the right shoulder of the D, who unbelievably hit it first time as it came across him into the bottom corner! The beautiful well struck goal fired us up more and we were enthused to push on. Shortly afterward, we won a short corner and with a nice dummy dragflick by Mitch, bunt across by Andy and slap into the bottom corner by Cam, we had bought the score up to 2-0.
Potentially the team had a more relaxed attitude to the game, or maybe lazy is a better word – but our system started to fall apart with the weakest of counter attacks, from poor pressing up top and not tight enough marking in the midfield and defence. This led to us conceding our first short corner which Wayfarer’s dragflicked mid right between GK and postman. Tempers started to flare and Southgate started to get more and more frustrated with how 10 men were still managing to break through our lines like a warm knife through butter (warm not hot, they weren’t that good). We conceded another short corner and the ball went in the same spot to even up the scoreline. At this point the opposition were properly up for it while we were falling apart, from an attitude perspective.
We went into the half with lots of angry faces, but took a few actions to try and take control of the game. First of which was switching to man to man marking, as they were playing essentially 1 forward and had 10 men and no subs. When we went back into it, it obviously worked, with balls flying out from the opposition defence off the pitch and into congested areas that we picked easily. However we conceded almost immediately from a PC.
Aside from that, players like Vivek, Lucca and Freddie started to boss the midfield and started to create the kind of chances we’d been creating all season. After a spell of hard attacks, Cam carried the ball from the oppo 25 towards the D at breakneck (spoiler alert) pace, beat 3 or 4 players and when he entered the D was essentially assassinated by a big thuggish looking Jabba the Hutt type. Cam was left clutching his shoulder on the floor, Jabba was left groaning and definitely winded and we had won a short corner. Unfortunately, that was the end of Cam’s game, not the way we’d like him to finish, as one of our key players this season, it was a real shame to lose him for the last half of the last game of the season.
We lined up for the short corner, Sam Marshall on the injection, Andy Richardson on the stop and Todd Lomas at the top. It came out like a bullet, Andy calmly stopped it dead and Todd flicked it into the same place they had placed theirs, to make it 3-3. Our return to domination was imminent. Shortly afterward, a ball across from Noah to Freddie running to the top of the D was successful, and Freddie found himself 1-1 with the keeper. Now, it wasn’t his finest display but all that matters is he won a stroke, which Todd stepped up to take. Looming against him was a toothpick like 6″3 keeper, who was enjoying himself giving the flicker some chat, pretty dodgy chat at that. However this didn’t deter Todd and a dummy right and flick into the left side netting took the score up to 4-3.
At this point, the game was coming to an end, both effort wise and time wise. In the dying moments, they won a short corner. Sam Marshall lined up as number 1 runner and blistered out – wearing the dragflick across his shins, saving the probable goal but conceding another short. We did the same again, however a left slip beat Sam but was cleaned up by number 2 Todd. We thought this was the game to bed. However, after 69 minutes of play, one of their midfielders beat 3 men on the baseline, and found Josh HD’s shin in the D. With 40 seconds on the clock, they worked the shortie around the two runners, fumbled a shot at Akshay, who made a save this time, but into his post, where the Jabba the Hutt character from earlier poked the ball over the line to draw the game.
With knowing there were seconds left of the game we pushed back and tried to win a short corner, with a pass from Lucca in midfield through their lines to an attacking right back Will, who gave it in to Oscar then Noah who ramped the ball into someone’s foot in the D, we were saved! Unfortunately RBL blew the final whistle literally 2 seconds after the foot and the game was over. Had he whistled for the short first, we may have won however that is the nature with Hockey timing, there is no (or there should be no) umpire call on when to call it, the time is the time.
A disappointing draw, but a respectable effort from London Wayfarer’s. Shout out to Kiran Ghosh who held his own and played very well in his 3’s debut. Joint Man of the match was Sam Marshall, for being the hard-working positive person he always is and Oscar Prior for the crazy goal in the first half. Joint DOD was Todd for telling everyone at half time to stop getting stepped in front of, then himself getting stepped in front of in the first play of the second half which ended in a opposition goal, Freddie for being the least clinical human alive in a 1-1 with the keeper and Ruben for a reason I can’t remember, but it could just be for being Ruben.