Result : WIN 2-1 vs West Hampstead 1
Match Report : Tom Murphy
Saturday saw the 2s face a tough test of a defensively strong West Hampstead 1s side, who were just one point behind us in the league and who had beaten us 2-1 earlier in the season.
A very strong start saw us nearly convert through a passing move down the right leading to a batch shot into an open goal, only for the keeper to make it across and make a wonder save to keep the scores level. West Hampstead then went down the other end and had a lifted shot (going wide) deflect off Charlie Rookes’ knee and go in, which was given by the umpires (much to the protest of Rookes, knowing the own goal would surely secure him DoD).
West Hampstead defenders played deep and in numbers, crowding the D and forcing us into a very frustrating period of over-carrying into flat sticks. We finally found our passing rhythm again and a squared ball across and saw Todd have a shot blocked on the line by a West Hampstead foot. The subsequent stroke was taken and put away by Debs. The opposition coach became rather animated, somehow insisting the Debs had hit it rather than flicked it. The goal stands, 1-1.
Half time came, meaning an excellent team talk by Felly involving everyone being told that if you run into a flat stick you need to sub yourself off and have a think about what you’ve done – inspirational.
With the second half underway, felly gets the ball and runs into a flat stick. In fairness, he did win it back again straight away… only to run into another flat stick. Leading by example.
In the second half we looked better, but still struggling to break down the tough West Hampstead defensive line. We finally found a way through in the form of our best short corner routine, Drew flicking it quite hard. 2-1.
Batch then had an opportunity to put us 3-1 up, tacking his defender and beating the other 2 to go 1-on-1 with the keeper, who made a good save (as he had been doing all game).
At some point in the 2nd half, Rookesy secures his claim to DoD by wearing a powerful hit to the finger, meaning he had to take himself off and use his medical training mid-game for the second week in a row.
Towards the end of the game, West Hampstead started to pile on the pressure searching for an equaliser, but a good all-round defensive performance managed to keep them out. With the final whistle blown, it looked very nervy for us with West Hampstead having 4 consecutive corners (which Lucas expertly eavesdropped on their huddle for). Veysel was equal to each and every strike they put against him (apart from the own goal, of course) and so managed to take us to a huge 2-1 win.
Veysel along with Nils got nominated for MoM at the back, with a few votes going to Westy up top but it went to Lewis for a very solid midfield performance.
With our closest competition both losing, this win puts us up to 3rd, with a big clash against 2nd place Wimbledon next week.