Match Report - 01 Nov 2008, Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI beat Old Reptonians
Waki writes his Div task...
A small crowd turned out to watch this epic encounter that produced a goal feast. The Woks’ kit may have had the scent of summer breeze but the weather was anything but that as the temperature dropped to sub-prime levels and attempted to emulate stock markets around the world.
Stand-in skipper Stevens advocated an aggressive opening gambit to stamp our authority as league frontrunners and that is just what he got. The Woks were forced to kick downhill towards the kop for the second week running, but after some hard pressing by the strike duo of Baker and Masefield, the wingers broke through the middle as Marsh fed Wakiwaka to round the keeper and slide home the opener inside the first few minutes. The Repton keeper seemed determined to earn himself an early bath when taking a hack at the goalscorer; instead he stayed on the pitch to display some woeful handling from which Masefield nearly profited, but his chip caught the wind and drifted wide.
The rain may have started to come down hard but Lady Luck was certainly shining on OWFC. A fierce snapshot from the corner of the box smacked the base of the post as Repton almost found an equalizer against the run of play. But from a free-kick on the left, Stevens drilled a cross onto the penalty spot where Merriot was on hand to guide the ball home for 2-0. Marsh blasted a couple efforts on goal: one from Wakiwaka’s cut back and the other after cutting in from the left, but the keeper was equal to them. After knocking on the door the third goal came and (as it has now become customary for OWFC) it was a scorcher. Good work on the left between Jimboleena and Marsh fed Baker on the left corner of the box - he rolled back the years by striding forward and curling a rocket into the far top corner.
With the full-backs Hardiman and Walters stifling the Repton wing-play, the main threat came through the middle. Rann and Spalton had a comfortable first half, but the Repton frontman managed to get through on goal once. Debutant keeper Morgan came out well to narrow the angle, and the subsequent shot hit the other upright. Bulls Drove could only watch as the ball rolled across the face of the goal and out of play for a goal kick. Repton nearly clawed back a goal before half-time via a flurry of late corners, but the Repton left-back could only trouble the locals having their beers in the Queen.
A small change saw Dunn replace an effervescent Marsh on the left. We sensed that 3-0 was not enough at half-time and so it proved. Within 10 minutes of the restart the lead had evaporated. Having won the last few games so comfortably, the Woks could have been forgiven for capitulating in this unusual position of being second-best. But through sheer grit and determination the Woks dug in: Merriot and Stevens regained control of the midfield and Baker shifted to the back line as Coleman came on for the faultless Hardiman. The Woks got back to playing their brand of total football. Stevens fed Coleman, who had taken up a good position on the right, and the substitute floated a dreamy ball to the back stick for Masefield to loop the ball back across the keeper.
Back came Repton, and their equalizer for 4-4 had more than a hint of offside. Baker’s shout that “he’s the only player in our half” was a mild exaggeration, but this goal surely supports the argument for video replays. Chances came thick and fast but the turning point of the game involved the Repton talisman. First he was rightly adjudged to be offside after tapping home following Morgan’s fine save, but even more cruel was the way he was cynically denied his hat-trick. Spalton took the law into his own hands and scythed down the striker as he bore down on goal. Whilst tactically brilliant – a certain goal was prevented at the expense of only a yellow card and a wasted free-kick outside the box – the striker lay in a heap during the ensuing melee and eventually limped off with ligament damage to his ankle.
With their dangerman off the field, Repton seemed content to play for a third consecutive 4-4 draw, but the Repton keeper had other ideas. Coleman’s delicate dink over the top seemed easy to gather but he somehow contrived to let it slip through his fingers, and Wakiwaka was quickest to react to slide home for 5-4. But this lead was the shortest lived, and after a deep cross was not dealt with properly, Repton’s midfielder, who apparently played for Blackburn “when they were in the Premiership” (cos they aren’t now?), hit a controlled volley into the bottom corner.
Undeterred or perhaps desperate to avoid extra-time, the Woks surged forward again for the last quarter of an hour. Merriot fed Wakiwaka on the right edge of the box but the keeper tipped over. Spalton tried his luck from distance but it later turned out to be an attempted cross as he apologized for slipping. Stevens’ shot from a similar location was caught by the keeper despite his butter-fingers, but the lead was finally regained via an own-goal. After Dunn had harassed Repton into giving away a throw-in, Walters’ took a leaf out of Rory Delap’s book as his missile was flicked on by Baker and off the defender into the net. Baker celebrated “another crap goal” with his earlier strike seemingly a long distant memory.
There was nothing crap about the Woks’ 7th. As the midfield played tighter to protect the lead, Spalton continued to bomb forward in an apparent bid to end his goal drought. He etched his name onto the score-sheet from Stevens’ deep corner to finally put the game to bed. The final score of 7-5 resembled more a tight set of tennis than a game of football, but the Woks combined Nadal’s power and tenacity with Federer’s flair and calm exterior under pressure to advance to the second round of the Arthur Dunn Cup.
Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI 7 - 5 Old Reptonians ()