Woodmansterne Hyde Colts 3 Moor Mead Athletic 2
Moor Mead’s away day blues continued as they fell to an unlucky defeat in the depths of rural South London.
Woodmansterne were well-drilled opponents whose number 21 was the outstanding player on the pitch. But the Parakeets created a clutch of chances in a game they probably deserved to take something from.
Kick-off was delayed slightly as the groundsman did a soggy lap of dishonour with the white line machine. The home side had the lion’s share of territory in a competitive and tight opening, but Will S was full of sharp little touches in midfield, and Daniel shone at left back.
It was Moor Mead that created the first clear-cut chances. Mani found Shaifulah, who used his power to carve out an opening that he put just wide.
Zac instantly controlled Ollie’s flicked pass, and burst down the left, only to see his bending shot hit the bar. Then a great passing move starting with Louis at the back, via a sublime one-two between Zac and Ollie, saw Zac denied by the home keeper.
But Moor Mead paid for failing to finish at the other end. The number 21 stretched the defence down the right. Alec saved his shot, but the ball fell to a striker who bundled home from close range (1-0 down). Moments later number 21 repeated the trick, only to shoot narrowly wide.
Zac and Mani combined well to create a couple more chances, but couldn’t convert. Finishing the half one down seemed harsh, but in truth Woodmansterne defended well, and Moor Mead failed to press forward in sufficient number from midfield when in the ascendancy.
Injuries forced a rejig of personnel, and a half-time spat saw Louis take over in goal. But Zac almost immediately tied things up at the start of the second half, latching onto a ball from Ollie on the left, only for his shot to hit the near post. Then Ollie’s free kick was punched clear by the keeper after Zac was brought down on the edge of the box.
But at the other end Woodmansterne’s star player posed a continuous threat, and the home side extended their lead from a corner, the ball pinballing around the Moor Mead goal area before sneaking over the line via the inside of the post (2-0).
They went close again, before Zac’s instant control - drawing appreciate comment from the home fans - and pace put him through, only to miscue his shot wide. Chasing the game, the Parakeets switched to three at the back. Mani was pole-axed as he pushed forward, but the ball fell to Shaifulah, took the ball to the bye line, and set up OLLIE for a close finish (2-1).
However, Woodmansterne immediately restored their two-goal cushion. Number 21 - who else? - turned William W inside out and buried his shot beyond Louis’s flailing dive (3-1).
To their immense credit, Moor Mead continued to fight for every ball. MILES pounced on defensive confusion from a corner to pile drive Moor Mead’s second from close range (3-2).
Thereafter, the Parakeets kept pushing for an equaliser that wouldn’t quite come, as the Gibson roar did battle with the basso profondo of the home coach, and fans on both sides wondered whether the referee had lost the pea in his whistle, allowing a number of heavy challenges to go unpunished.
Will S twice, and Miles three times tried from long range, Shaifulah shot over the bar, and Jake hit the side netting. Jake put Mani though, but he shot at the keeper, and in the dying seconds both Mani and Jake just couldn’t quite convert from close range thanks to heroics from the goalie.
Great fight from Moor Mead, but they need to sharpen up their cutting edge, and find a way to win on the road.
At the final whistle, the white line man rushed on to mark out the centre line, and the rain finally set in.