On Saturday morning all efforts were made to clear the pitch of ice to ensure Upminster Men’s 3rd team game would take place against table topping Wapping Mens 6th team at Coopers.
Wapping who have the meanest defence in the league set up strong at the back and slick movement between their midfield and forward line stretched the U’s defence early on. But Upminster grew into the game and started getting the ball wide with MOTM Joe Hill always giving the Wapping defence something to think about with his direct running. Both goalkeepers were kept busy and U’s forwards Alex Mitchell and Kellen Ford both went close on a couple of occasions. With both teams unable to break down stubborn defences the score was a predictable 0-0 at half time.
The 2nd half started and within 5 mins Wapping took the lead with a real fluke of a goal. A deflected pass, spun and looped over U’s goalkeeper Daltry’s foot and the on-rushing Wapping forward tapped the ball over the line. This did not seem to set Upminster back in their search for a goal, as they pushed high up the pitch and continued to create chances. It seemed that the ball just wouldn’t go in when the Wapping goalkeeper made 4 smart saves from an Upminster PC.
Then heartbreak happened when Hodges gave the ball away inside Wapping’s own 25 and they broke at speed, moved the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and increased their lead to 2-0. As ever Upminster did not give up and finally a reverse shot from Mitchell was deflected into the Wapping goal by Joel Munday. With 10 mins to go, Upminster threw everything at the away side and when the ball fell to Hodges it seemed that he would have the chance to make up for the earlier error. After beating the keeper a shot on the reverse was kept out by a Wapping defender on the line and the final chance to get something from the game was over.
It was a courageous effort from the home side and if they perform like this until the end of the season then surely they will be rewarded with points to move them away from the bottom half of the table.
MOTM – Joe Hill
DOTM – John Appleton