Men’s 2s 2 - 1 Hampstead & Westminster 2s (A)
By Glyn Jones
Goals: Winter FG, Doidge PC
The M2 travelled by train, tube and car to arrive at Paddington Rec for a Sunday afternoon game in what was our penultimate league fixture. Ore’s kit miraculously made it on time from the M1 kit store after an early morning rescue (and it got a free ride home courtesy of Stu H). The usual suspects were late for the pre-match meet (Calnan, Nihal & Caspar) which meant they started on the bench.
After a good warm up, the game started with Surbi in possession and Schnu attracting a few early nibbles and heavy tackles from an over eager left winger. That set the tone for a physical encounter (which is what Jamma predicted).
Unsurprisingly, captain courageous (Scott) got the first green card of the day - penalised for the ball supposedly hitting his foot as trapped it (it hadn’t) but then telling the umpire in no uncertain terms that he needed to get his decisions right.
Dylan reverted to centre back and brought his pace and tackling prowess. Bean (in Rome) wasn’t missed too much, as a pacy set of forward rotations included returns for Billy Wiz and Caspar. The shape of the team, our connections and ball speed were good. There were few clear chances for either side in the first half but Billy Winter silenced the home crowd on 49 minutes from close range.
The game opened up from that point on and the defence were forced to make some critical last ditch tackles to protect the lead. Ore was called on numerous times from open play and PCs. Eventually H&W forced an equaliser when Ore made another solid PC save, but the defence failed to clear the ball.
With the home side in danger of relegation, a draw wasn’t enough for them. On the break, Caspar drove hard at the heart of their defence and was levered off the ball by a canny CB, only on this occasion the umpire decided it was worthy of a PC. Up stepped Doidge to continue his scoring streak (nine in the last three games) – we could see Ore celebrate at the other end of the pitch in the battle of the Ogunlanas. The M2 showed composure to see out the game and it was great to leave the pitch victorious (not a common thing for our M2 visiting the Rec over many years in the old London League). Match teas at The Carlton Tavern were good and gave everyone enough energy to tackle the journey home.
So onto next week with both teams facing winner takes all fixtures, but with different levels of jeopardy. H&W2 travel to bottom side Oxford Uni, both sides needing a win to avoid relegation. Our final league game is a battle to see who finishes fourth / fifth in the league with London Wayfarers. A solid campaign for a first season in EHL East Conference (eight wins, three draws and six defeats so far). We’ll be looking for our Upper 6th group to help us sign off in style on Sunday, 2pm @ KGS – then back to enjoy the atmosphere at Finals Day.
POM: (my vote as I did the report) – shared between Dylan & Lars
DOD: me (for being soft enough to get Ore’s kit)