Week 19: M2s riding high, but M1s and L2s slip to defeat
WH&E M2 5 : 1 Harpenden M4
The Men’s 2s faced Harpenden 4s with both teams aiming for promotion to Division 7SW.
Winchmore were caught short within the first 5 minutes with Harpenden winning a penalty corner which they duly converted. This first goal spurred Winchmore into action, Rob, Dom and Rafi dominated the centre of the pitch creating many chances.
Within minutes the ball was delivered to Rob Dowling who calmly swept the ball into the opposition goal to equalise. Shortly after, a quick move down the right led to Rafi flicking the ball past the diving keeper making the score 2-1. Winchmore had all the momentum and with Harpenden looking shell shocked Rafi then made it 3 with a clever deflection from Dom’s drive into the circle. Within a matter of minutes, the home side had turned things around and now found themselves 3-1 up. The final goal of the half was a fantastic individual goal from Dom, having taken the ball past one player the Harpenden defence continually backed off and allowed a clear run at goal, unsurprisingly allowing Dom to rifle the ball past the keeper. The half time whistle went with Winchmore having a commanding 4-1 lead.
Harpenden restructured for the 2nd half and did well to keep Winchmore out despite wave after wave of attack. However, eventually the defence was breached once more, and Rob Ulph calmly put the ball in at the far post. The home side could have made it 6-1 in the dying seconds after Rob Dowling threaded the eye of the needle playing the ball across goal past the keeper to the far post however the ball went spinning off Leo’s stick and agonizingly wide of the post from just a yard out in a chance which was undoubtedly easier to score than miss!
An excellent all-round performance sees the M2s move to 4th place but importantly just 2% off 2nd place which would see them secure back to back promotions.
MOTM: Haydn – An incredibly mature performance, creating some fantastic chances and consistently being an integral part of Winchmore’s attack.
DOTD: Leo for the miss of the season.
Big thanks to Lisa Jobson for umpiring rather than playing for the Ladies 2s!
WH&E L2 1 : 5 Ealing L2
After a successful 2-0 victory last week against Teddington (oops no match report-one of the only games to be played due to snow/ice!) the Ladies 2s had a tough match ahead against top of the league Ealing!
Arriving with plenty of time to spare we used it wisely: wishing Pippa a Happy Birthday, catching up, using the smelly port-a-loos and well, a bit of a warm up.
The game got off to a great start with lovely play down the sides and brilliant “selfish” runs from Mia putting training into practice. We held them off for a while but conceded 2 goals in the first half although we were proud with our play.
The second half was tough. Two injured players – Anju Jacob ankle and Sahara’s knee meant everyone who was on, was staying on! But before the injury Sahara did a cracking run and a lovely sweep towards the goal (just outside the D) luckily it skimmed Charlotte’s stick, forcing the umpire to award it!
The final score was a respectful 5-1 (better than our 6-0 loss last meet) but DOTD has to go to Pippa Deane for scoring a goal preventing Freya from saving it! (in our minds a more truthful 4-1 result!)
Thanks to Sam Deane for her support and more importantly her yummy Harry Potter birthday cake for Pippa!
Well done ladies, vital match next week against close in the league Staines let’s bring it! (Also, we missed you Lisa Jobson!)
WH&E M1 2 : 3 Harpenden M2
WH&E 1s strung by Harps tune
Two games ago, WH&E lost Stuart Carrick for most of the second half through an injury inflicted by the opposition (as well as John Lappin who helped Stuart to the hospital). The 1s lost a tight game to the tune of 4-2.
One game ago, WH&E lost Eray Osman through the whole second half through an injury inflicted by the opposition. The 1s lost a tight game, with just 10 men against a St Albans’ squad of 15, to the tune of 3-2.
For this game, could the 1s play a different melody? What strings would itinerant Harpenden pluck (itinerant as they lose their regular ground for the second half of the season and play oddly far away in Potters Bar). It was this location that contributed to the late arrival of Jake Sumner (having decided to drive and realising that his finely tuned grey machine took a lot longer than doing so 15 years ago) and who ended up (rightly) receiving the DOTD. He is therefore your troubadour for this report.
Fortunately, the game hadn’t commenced and so with the late arrival made a full complement and we began with full voice, joined by two new members of the band, Stan Knight and Huw Thomas in the outfield and Tiarnan Perth in goal who had the opportunity to share how they could orchestrate the play. It was initially a perfect pitch and WH&E were on song.
Within the first minute WH&E nearly scored, a deft ball to Tim Mall, his dribble into the ‘D’ surrounded by a coterie of Harpenden defenders and if a slight flick leftwards had taken place it would have been a certain goal, mirroring the offering three weeks ago. It wasn’t to be.
WH&E offered a chorus of pressure, through Stuart Carrick resuming a commanding position in midfield and Mike Dutnall resuming a commanding position at the back, supported with aplomb by Matt Dray and Harry Franks. More attacks followed from the left and right, with the right developing much promise.
However, against the run of play, the opposition created a harmony of passing and scored. In response, WH&E 1s trumpeted their intention with more attacks, with John Lappin, Huw Thomas and Stan Knight bringing some guile to the proceedings. Harry Franks had perhaps the best chance with the keeper to beat alongside, Tim being given the ball through Jake’s legs to be on the keeper. Both chances fell flat.
Hard on our debut keeper Tiaman Perth, who served well in goal, Harpenden hit back again. 2-0.
Enter Stan Knight, who had already showed flourishes again produced some excellent work down the right found his way to the D and unleashed a shot and goal. It was perhaps this debut goal that contributed to his winning man of the match.
The symphony reached a crescendo and with some excellent 1-2s and space creation by the team, Colin Foad slotted one through, much to the keeper’s surprise.
Game on. Harpenden were subdued – but half-time brought the curtain down on proceedings.
The resumption of the second half however saw Harpenden score early, through a series of passes.
WH&E were now chasing again. Or rather were being chased down. On too many occasions Tim or Colin had the ball and were heading goalward but were swarmed by two or three players with clattering not tackling the order of the day – the crash of sticks presenting an ugly din. But, no whistle to signal a short corner was forthcoming on this day, indeed a bizarre ‘advantage’ for WH&E was given in one case, which resulted in an opposition free hit. There was also a period where it wasn’t clear how many players were on the pitch or what was quite happened such was the issuing of green cards to both sides.
We should not moan against the umpires however – they enable us to play and do for the love of the game. A little more love for playing from Harpenden wouldn’t have gone a miss though as we didn’t get a full game so much time wasting was going on by the end, it resembled the Vauxhall game a fortnight ago. But, you can perhaps see why they did it – WH&E were raising their voices and pressing to the end but had to face the music of lament. A 3-2 loss.
So, three close games resulting in three loses. They say things come in threes. So, time for a new tune – the march of three victories…
No game for the Ladies 1s this week.