(report by Alastair Whatley)
Whilst it now almost goes without saying as we arrived to hail stones and big wet rain- we are very much still waiting for the summer in the summer league to kick in. Until then we are all enjoying the competitive games and the inter club bonding that is happening on and off the field.
The snipers out for another victory against top of the table West Hampstead were up against it from the off when clean sheet MD of the moment Veysel Demir reported being held hostage by traffic in his UBER thus leaving us without a goal keeper for the first ten. Nevertheless the Snipers this week led on field by Todd Lomas and our new coach running the bench from the sidelines Harry Haynes and we got off to a pacy start keeping up sustained pressure in the WH D with some lovely incursions from Lewis, Angus and Laurence.
WH were known for their route M1 motorway style play with long aerial balls down the middle artery and then scything in arch deflections. Yet our press was good for the first 15 minutes and encouraged a string of Southgate PC’s which Todd was happy to convert with a darting drag into the netting.
The centre back of WH was a jolly nice chap, but he began to cause a nuisance with his aerials and the WH boys began exerting a bit of foreign influence in our half. Yet the might of James Rushton, Joe Kelly, Matt Hawkins and Mat Mitchell and possibly Ben BC but also possibly Nigel Knight were a match and it took Veysil’s majestic purple padded appearance on field (at last) to seal a smart save and keep the Snipers with their noses in front.
James Findlay was working well down the left channel and ran in a ball from the goal line scoring a crucial PC which Todd stepped up for once again with another tasty goal and the Snipers nearly went into the second half 2-0 to the good. Except we didn’t because we let in a goal. So in fact it was 2-1.
Coach Harry Haynes brought his balls onto the pitch at half time and demonstrated his strong opinions on our forward press and with those clear instructions in our ears Todd urged us on to seal the win and show the mettle of our pasture.
We weren’t alas wholly successful on that front and we didn’t necessarily make it easy on ourselves in the second half, despite some exceptional work from Brian Cade and Kabir Bowry we often found ourselves unable to convert the balls from midfield into meaningful spells of possession. A few lonely shorts, some green shoots and a few diving deflections (James Findlay) combined with a few green cards and a bit of spice in the air which Umpire Chris James dealt with very well. As legs tired, space opened up and the closing moments of thegame saw lots of end to end action leading to some WH chances but Veysel was the match for them and with strong defensive work from the team we held on to the last and secured a bit of a muddy, murky yet mellifluous victory which should take the Snipers to the top of the league with 4 games played.
Thanks to umpire Chris James and to Deb James for her amazing photos!