October 13: Mighty Men's 2s fall short but Ladies 1s are off the mark

WALLINGFORD’s Men’s 2nd team were unfortunate not to at least earn a point at Oxford Hawks 4th in a 3-1 defeat, while Phil Morris and Niamh Arnott earned Wallingford’s Ladies 1s their first point of the season in a 2-2 draw at home to Oxford Hawks 3rd.

In the Men's 2s game, the hosts took the lead in a closely-fought opening 20 minutes in the MBBO Division 2 fixture, while Ben White had a chance to level but missed an open goal. John Craven did equalise for Wallingford, though, scoring after a shot had been blocked and the ball bounced free just off the line. But a lapse in concentration saw Hawks lead 2-1 at half-time.

High tempo after the break rewarded Wallingford with near full control of the game, only for five short corners to not herald an equaliser. And Hawks inflicted another blow when a wild ball deflected off a stick and off the bar, dropping down in front of the goal for an easy tap-in and a 3-1 deficit. It was harsh on Wallingford, who showed great work rate throughout.

The 1st team slipped to back-to-back defeats in Regional Division 1 when falling to an 8-1 loss at home to Oxford OBU. Tom Ferris scored our consolation goal - his third of the league season.

For a second successive weekend, a strong performance from our Men’s 3rd team proved not enough to herald a victory in Division 5 as they were edged out 1-0 at Amersham & Chalfont 3rd.

Wallingford’s 4th team claimed a well-deserved point in a 2-2 draw at home to Newbury & Thatcham 6th in Division 8 West. The visitors started strongly without creating any real chances, but still headed into the break 1-0 up after a shot wrong-footed the goalkeeper. We were soon level after the break when Roger Gill dribbled along the byline and somehow scored from the narrowest of angles, but a soft goal saw Newbury go in front again. However, debutant Sholto Hanson made it 2-2 after we dominated the last 20 minutes.

The Men’s 5s came away from Eastcote 7th wondering how they fell to a 4-2 defeat in Division 9. The hosts were the better side in the opening stages and deservedly took the lead. But Nick Thompson and Jack Johnson came off the bench and changed the game, with the former and Kev Shaw netting to put Wallingford 2-1 up at half-time. We continued to create numerous chances after the break, but Eastcote were clinical on the counter, while several umpiring decisions led to Wallingford frustration.

Despite good performances, our Ladies 1s had began our Trysports Three Counties League Premier 1 season with three straight defeats.  We started the stronger team, putting the Hawks defence under pressure and being rewarded with a number of short corners which we were unable to convert.  As the game went on, Hawks gathered themselves and took the lead, but Wallingford equalised before half time following good work at the top of the D by Evie Potts and a determined finish from Morris. We then took the lead through a fine strike off a short corner from Arnott who also gave a lesson in goal celebrations.  Wallingford could have had more goals had it not been for some fine goalkeeping and unfortunately the three points were not to be as Hawks managed to equalise.

Goals from Fon Leigh and Lucy Allen proved not enough as our 2nd team suffered their first reverse of the season in Division 1 when losing 4-2 at South Berkshire 2nd. A hard-fought game was level at 2-2 at half-time, before the hosts grabbed two second half goals.

Goalkeeper Jenni Harrington produced an excellent display as Wallingford 3rd drew 1-1 at home to Banbury 3rd in Division 2. In a closely-fought and exhausting game, spirits did not drop when the visitors took the lead. Wallingford threatened down the left through Meg Turner and Emma Beale, while Jo Porter was distributing the ball well. Our equaliser eventually arrived via a short corner which saw Amy Lissenden find the backboard. We still needed to rely on Harrington, though, who made four dazzling saves to make sure of a point, while Wallingford coach Andy Barber was dismayed at a late disallowed goal.

Unfortunately, our 4th team suffered back-to-back defeats in Division 5 when losing 3-0 at Amersham & Chalfont 5th.