After a very positive start to the season saw the 2s record back-to-back wins with an aggregate score of 10-1, the last few games had seen some tough results. But after a week off they took the short trip to Richardson Evans to take on a Wandsworth Borough team that had just a single point from their first 6 games. The day brought beautifully cold and crisp conditions indicating the start of winter. This was confirmed by Nader swapping his fluorescent orange short sleeve kit for a more muted winter green to confirm the turn of the seasons. Preparations for the game were slightly disrupted by some latecomers. Joe and Mungai seemingly struggling with bus timetables and Ash running very late due to a crash on the M4 disrupting his trip down from Thanksgiving celebrations. On a sidenote to Harry Littlejohn, neither Marlow nor the M4 are anywhere near Kent. And good that after Stainesgate two weeks previous, Mungai had woken up before 3pm.
After the run of defeats the 2s tactical brains trust had settled on switching to a classic 4-4-2 formation to bring more solidity to things. The 2s started well, knocking the ball around and creating some early half chances in the cold winter sunshine. But it was the same old story as a free kick from the left was scuffed into the box past a ducking Joe C in the wall. It was brought down by a Wandsworth player who was given far too much time to turn by the captain Ben and despite Nader getting down to save the shot it was Wandsworth who reacted quickest to put in the rebound. 1-0 down and the call to stay positive had to be heeded. The 2s did just that and were dealt a bit of luck when the Wandsworth keeper decided to pick the ball up drop it and pick it up again. Ash stepped up from the resulting indirect free kick to calmly roll it into the bottom corner to level it up. But the dangers of trying to play in tight spaces would shortly become apparent with a further two quick-fire goals coming for Wandsworth as a result of Tiffs giving the ball away on the edge of their own box. In fairness, both chances were taken with aplomb and Nader didn’t stand a chance with either of them.
At half time despite playing the better football the 2s found themselves 3-1 down. Was this going to be another afternoon of playing well but getting nothing? After a half time team talk reinforced the message to play the ball simply and stay positive the 2s took the second half by storm. The tempo was up and the football was good. After some smart play down the right hand side the ball was rolled back to Harry Morris who whipped a wonderful cross just begging to be attacked. Alex DS did just that, coming from behind his marker to nod home and halve the deficit. The 2s kept playing and the equaliser was fully deserved. This time some nice play down the left released Dylan into the penalty box to cut the ball back and find a waiting Andy Dickenson to calmly slot the ball home. No worries about composure from the fullback. The 2s now pressed for a winner and chances came and went with Leo unable to find a route round the Wandsworth goalkeeper and Ash unable to hit the target with a header and a shot. At the other end some heroic last ditch defending from the imperious man of the match Archie bailed his skipper out of trouble having been spun by the Wandsworth striker. And a great one-handed stop low to his right from Nader kept the score at 3-3. The 2s had two chances scrambled off the line, one of which looked very close to being over the line. But the 2s kept coming and with a minute or two to go they got their reward as Ash was found with space in the box to calmly lift the ball into the net. Cue pandemonium from the Tiffs players and a full scale pile-on to celebrate. You love to see it.
It was noted that whilst the skipper was ecstatic with the winner he didn’t sprint 50 yards to join in. And that was pretty much that. The only remaining action was for Ben Dawes to be scythed down in midfield sparking Harry Littlejohn to get involved in some classic handbags resulting in him being called both a lemon and a wet wipe. It’s unclear if they were separate or connected insults. No matter as the ref blew his whistle and the 2s could celebrate a great comeback win.
A lot of social no-shows saw just a small portion of the team head up to the golf course to toast a hard-fought win. A final shout out to Nader who in the overwhelming excitement of the win managed to get lost exiting the golf course and somehow managed to cover his car in horse manure, with a very sympathetic Chairperson adding that at least it wasn’t goose poo. With a third win from 6 the 2s climbed to the heady heights of 4th. Next week sees a chance to avenge the 6-2 defeat of two weeks ago against Old Tenisonians and climb up to third. Up the Purps.