This weekend, Saturday the 2nd of March, saw Wealdstone travel to the Metropolitan Police FC for a crucial game against another team desperately searching for promotion. With only 12 games remaining, every game must be seen as a must win, especially when it comes to those against fellow promotion hopefuls.
A trip to Imber court, home ground of the Police, is always an interesting one. Unlike most away days where you expect to face a hostile atmosphere and receive a large amount of abuse from the home crowd, it is completely the opposite. For reasons that are beyond me, not many people choose to support the football team representing the Police force, with the travelling support normally outnumbering the home, but I will refer more to this in a separate blog post.
Preparations for the game began in typical Non-League fashion, with Manager Gordon Bartlett arriving with half the team about 30 minute late due to traffic en-route. This gave the lads already in the changing room plenty of time to discuss tactics, or more to the point a specific party they were planning on attending that night!
However, on the arrival of Gordon talk quickly turned to football and the importance of gaining three points from the match. We knew that if we stole (my first Police pun) three points from this match then we would be in an excellent position, as Whitehawk, who currently occupy top pot were playing Lowestoft Town away so could potentially drop points. Our pre-match instructions were direct and straight to the point…. ‘Go and win the bl**dy game!’
With the sun shining, the pitch in excellent condition and both teams desperate for a win all the attributes were there for an excellent attacking game of football. But this was not the case. Perhaps the pressure was getting to both sides as neither team stamped their authority on the game and chances were few and far between. Or perhaps the first of apperance of the Sun in almost a year had confused every body involved and affected their feet? I guess we will never know. But the first half ended goalless, and pretty much chance less.
Perhaps it was something in the half time oranges, or Gordon’s inspirational team talk but it only took 5 second half minutes for us to take the lead. Much has been said about Left-Back Lee Chappell’s performances this season, none more so than by himself, but it was he who played the crucial role in this goal. An excellent run and cross delivered by his sweet left foot found its way through to winger Tom Pett who slotted the ball home. The goal was celebrated in the standard Wealdstone fashion, quite simply a big bundle which often results in a cracked rib or two for the goal scorer.
The rest of the game went by without much to report on with neither team creating much in the way of chances. From a journalistic point of view this was very disappointing as it doesn’t allow me to say the overused cliché: Wealdstone ‘robbed’ the police. Bad puns apart, this was a massive three points for us and with the Whitehawk game finishing 1-1, we now sit 9 points behind but with two games in hand. More importantly we travel to Whitehawk next weekend in a massive top of the table clash. Hopefully we can stop the Hawk’s from flying…
Highlights of Saturday’ game can be seen below: