Magnets 2 - 2 Old Loughtonians MO50s (A)
By Mark Waller
Squad: Barnicoat, Beaney C, Beaney R, Foster, Frost, Green, Jackson, Laws, Todd, Waller, Wingfield
Scorer: Laws (2)
The days leading up to this match were dominated by discussions about the best travel options and whether we would have enough players willing to make the trek to Chigwell. In the event, we managed to scrape together 11 players, whilst the greedy and selfish men and women of ASLEF ensured that public transport was ruled out as a viable option. That left us with an almost two hour trek around the M25, never the best pre-match preparation.
Arriving at a windswept Luxborough Lane, the Magnets were in good spirits but struggled to really get going. As in recent weeks, we were too often caught holding onto the ball for too long, not pre-scanning and making poor passes, guilty of waiting for the ball, and not really communicating as a team. Although we battled hard and showed a few glimpses of attacking intent it was OLs who took a 2-0 lead into half-time. They scored from a PC and then a somewhat controversial goal when everyone stopped following the award of a free hit, allowing an alert OL player to waltz into the circle and score into the bottom corner.
The half time chat was reasonably measured. Everyone knew that we had to do better. The key ambition was to come away with something and we achieved that.
Although there were still signs of hesitancy and atelophobia, we started to press higher up the pitch and create some decent momentum. Some of our play was still a little frustrating and OLs presented a threat on the break, and we were fortunate that they squandered a couple of reasonable chances. But, as the game seemed destined to run away from us, a period of pressure led to Campers rifling the ball in from the top of the circle to reduce the deficit.
Further chances came and went but nothing came off for us and it looked like we may be out of time and luck. But, with just 45 seconds remaining a through pass found Waldo in space; he squared it past the advancing GK to allow Campers to thump the ball in for a deserved equaliser. A relief but no more than we deserved.
OLs were naturally disappointed but credited our 11 players for showing strong team spirit to come back into the game. Despite not playing at our best we can be pleased with the outcome of this match. It was another well-earned point with plenty to build on in the knowledge that we are capable of performing much better. We play Southgate at home in our final match of the year next week and a win should lift us several places up the table, which would be a good way to finish 2023.