Boosted by Howie’s late addition taking us to a strong squad of 14, the 4s got into our work quickly against Hampstead & Westminster at Paddington Rec. We were solid and composed on the ball and when Zech received the ball on the move in the D, used his momentum to go round the keeper and slotted the ball into the goal, we took a deserved 1-0 lead. More chances followed although Waqas was unable to convert when 1 on 1 with the keeper after their defender had passed to him in front of goal and there was more than a suggestion that the opposition got away with a back stick and foot on or near their goal line on two separate occasions. Having got a taste for cards the previous week, Freddie received a green just before half time and at that stage looked in pole position for consecutive DoD nominations.
The second half started badly for your correspondent. With H&W threatening a counter attack, Luke failed to trap a bobbling ball but but broke up play with an innocent foot which the umpire blew for a free hit. Then, stupidly or cynically (and I kind of wish I could claim cynicism), with the counter attack still on, Luke hit the ball away and was rewarded with a 5 minute yellow (you’re welcome Freddie). Despite this letdown from their team mate (sorry everyone), the 4s defended the lead bravely and it was still 1-0 when we returned to 11 players. Not long after though, H&W converted a short corner to draw level and as the second half progressed, our once numerous squad dwindled with 3 players succumbing to hamstring troubles. The game was tight and delicately poised. We missed a golden opportunity as the ball came in from the right, baypassing their keeper but it snuck between two of our attackers without a finishing touch being applied. Despite a good personal performance, Alex secured a couple of DoD votes for attempting an aerial out of our D which resulted in a short corner (happily unconverted).
So we come to the end game. With the score at 1-1 and having been on the end of multiple 1 goal defeats this season, you could almost forgive the 4s for being jittery. The final whistle blowing after we conceded a short corner racheted up the tension. The initial shot was saved but the rebound was scooped into the net. Game over. 1-2. Agony. I feel a bit sick just reliving the moment for this report.
MoM – Angus bossed things in midfield, winning back possession and releasing our forwards
DoD – Luke and his painful yellow card